Secret Recipe Revealed: My Mom’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

25 Jul

If there’s one treat that has defined my childhood, there’s no question that it’s my mom’s chocolate chip cookies. They’re chewy, they’re rich, and most importantly, they are chocolatey. When we lived in Brazil, my mom started making chocolate chip cookies as her “American” addition to our International Day at school. For as long as I can remember, all of my friends have been totally hooked — in fact, several of my elementary school friends (including many writers of this blog) still salivate whenever these cookies are mentioned. The cookies moved to the United States with us in 1999, and their fame took off. Seriously, at my high school they started calling them “Panookies” (my last name is Panico!). To be honest, I’m pretty sure these tasty little suckers were responsible for the start of many college friendships as well — thanks for mailing them so many times, Mom!

Luckily for all of you, my sweet mama is not one of those bakers who won’t share her secrets. What’s funny is that her recipe is really just the Nestle Tollhouse recipe on the back of the chocolate chip bag, with a few very important alterations. For instance, three times the recommended amount of chocolate chips. YUM.

Here it is, folks:

3/4 cup tightly packed light brown sugar

3/4 cup white sugar

1 tsp real vanilla extract (no fake stuff!)

1 cup margarine (best is Land O’ Lakes)

2 eggs

2 1/4 cups flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (Nestle!)

*** Note – Cookies are best when dough is made the day before and refrigerated overnight ***

*** Other note – My mom mixes the dough by hand, using a large spoon or spatula. Follow her lead and end up with some mad arm muscles like hers! ***

1) Combine light brown sugar, white sugar, vanilla extract and margarine in a large bowl.  Mix well, and when smooth, add eggs. Mix well again.

2) In another bowl, combine flour, salt and baking soda. Slowly mix the flour mixture into the sugar mixture until it is smooth. Add chocolate chips, and mix until they are all blended in.

Here’s my friend Jackie enjoying some raw dough! My mom would say not to eat it (salmonella and all that), but hey, if you can’t resist, then you can’t resist!

3) Once the batter is mixed thoroughly, cover and refrigerate over night.

Perfect consistency!

4) Next day, preheat oven to 375 degrees (F).

5) Using a cookie-scoop (my mom uses one from Williams Sonoma that is 1 1/2 ” diameter), scoop dough into balls by filling scoop with dough and pressing firmly on the side of bowl to compact the batter. Place cookie balls on a cookie sheet and put in oven for approx. 10 minutes.  Rotate the pan about halfway through. Check frequently near the end to make sure they don’t burn!

Make sure all the cookies are the same size!

6) Once they are brown on the sides and golden on the top, remove them from the oven, loosen them with a spatula but leave them in the pan to settle (they actually cook a tiny bit more right on the pan). Once they look done, remove them and put them on a rack to cool.

Loosen them, but let them sit on the hot pan a little longer.

7) Eat them up!


-All cookies should be exactly the same size so they cook evenly. That’s why it’s important to use a scoop.

-Ingredients: Use the right margarine, and use REAL vanilla extract.

-Refrigerate the dough so that it’s firm when it gets rolled into balls.

-And, finally, what my mom considers the MOST important: BAKE THEM RIGHT BEFORE YOU WANT TO EAT THEM. The fresher, the better!


Some tips from my mom on making these cookies in Brazil:

-The best brown sugar to use is lighter brown, and not the darker one. Try to find one that sort of sticks together in the package. Might be found in two sections of the grocery store: near the sugar, or also in the health foods section.

-Use the brand Doriana as your margarine.

-Real vanilla extract is expensive in Brazil, but worth it because it is so much better than the fake stuff!

-You will have to cut the chocolate chips yourself. Use large bars of Nestle Meio-Amargo and cut them up into small bits.

-If you can’t find a cookie-scoop, use a 1/8 cup measuring cup (or 1/4 cup and then cut it in half)

I hope you all enjoy. Good luck baking!




5 Responses to “Secret Recipe Revealed: My Mom’s Chocolate Chip Cookies”

  1. Flavia@TheDaisyChain July 25, 2012 at 11:43 AM #

    Thank you for sharing the secret!! These cookies bring back many childhood memories!

  2. Randa@TheDaisyChain July 25, 2012 at 11:49 AM #

    amazingggg cookies!!! ♥

  3. Daniel July 25, 2012 at 12:03 PM #

    Hi! My name is Daniel and I work with Flavia [Hennessey]. So… I lived in the US back in 2004 when I was introduced to the wonder of the chocolate chip cookies, which defined – not my childhood – but definitely part of my american experience. Every event in Amador High school had my hostmom’s cookies as refreshments – and boy they were popular! Amazingly enough today one my host cousins came to do a 3-week exchange program down here in Brazil and of course my mom sent vacuum sealed cookies so i could enjoy them again (it’s been 4 years since I have last been to the US and unfortunately she can’t mail them down here…). First thing I did today was offer Flavia the most delicious cookie I’ve ever had (no offense to Nicole’s mom), but our friend can’t eat flower… well… too bad for her! =) Just thought i would share this story since this post was just right for today… Cheers!

  4. Najwa Abou Ezzedine Radwan July 25, 2012 at 2:03 PM #

    Adorei a receita Nicole mas bom mesmo foi ver a foto da sua mãe depois de tantos anos!! manda um beijo bem grande pra ela.

    • Nicole@TheDaisyChain July 25, 2012 at 7:38 PM #

      Obrigada Najwa!! Ela esta, como sempre, muito bem e fazendo MUITOS cookies! Nos todos aqui mandamos um beijao pra vcs!!

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