It’s Saturday morning and the rain outside is falling gently, greening the grass before my eyes. It is cool and wet, and a good day to stay indoors. I hear my yellow bowl calling me.

So I’m in my kitchen, staring into my cupboard at that huge bag of quinoa that I bought the last time I was in the city. I’ve tried a few quinoa recipes off the net, and so far, not so happy. I could try this one more time, I think, or, I could do something tried and true.

When I was a little girl I loved getting off the school bus and walking into our bright orange kitchen, especially if it was perfumed with the smell of my mom’s good cooking. And if the scent was chocolate chip cookies, well … pure happiness! The ultimate comfort food from back in the day, before anyone had heard of high cholesterol and gluten-free was not a household term.

This was my mom’s recipe:

Mom’s Original Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 cups shortening

4 eggs

2 cups granulated sugar

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

4 tsp vanilla

Beat above until light and fluffy. (Would you believe I’m still using the little hand mixer I got as a wedding present from John and Carol Harvey? True story. And it’s still going strong, although I have been having quite the exotic dreams about a big, beautiful Bosch mixer.)

Add:

4 cups flour, sifted (Truthfully, I’ve never sifted flour in my life.)

2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp salt

Stir in 4 cups chocolate chips. (Yes, 4 cups!)

Drop from teaspoon on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

I’ve probably eaten a billion of these cookies over the years, and I’ve made this recipe more times than I can count. But in the past few years, I’ve been trying, you know, to be a little healthier. So here is the updated version of this recipe that I make now:

Mom’s New and Improved Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 cups butter or margarine

4 eggs

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 cup packed brown sugar

4 tsp vanilla

Beat above until light and fluffy. (I know, it’s not much different yet. But just wait!)

Add:

4 cups whole wheat flour (I do this recipe with whole wheat all the time and I promise you, the kids won’t even know the difference. And if you have a wonderful friend who will grind you some fresh organic spelt that you can use … even better!)

2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp salt (I use skimpy teaspoons, because it can be a little salty if you do the full amount.)

Mix it all together and then, before the temptation is too great, hand the beaters to whichever child is closest!

Stir in 2 cups chocolate chips, plus 2 cups of whatever else you have hanging around your kitchen. Today I used pecans, but I’ve used dried cranberries, walnuts, coconut … pretty much anything you like will work.)

Drop by teaspoon on ungreased cookie sheets. (They do spread a bit, but I still pile a bunch on each cookie sheet. Like 16 or 20 at a time. I’d rather have them a little squarish from cozying up with their neighbours than be baking cookies all day.) Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

And if you have a cool old green ice cream pail from, say, an Aunt Viv to store these in, then … you and I have both had a perfect rainy Saturday morning.

(And hey, if you have a great quinoa recipe, please share!)

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