This recipe is special. It’s the recipe for Michelle Obama’s Chocolate Chip Cookies, but it’s also the one my great grandma used. I think the only difference between the two recipes is that my grandma used toasted pecans tossed in butter and Michelle Obama uses walnuts.
Chocolate Chip Cookies aren’t usually considered Christmas-y, but my grandmother packaged these in Christmas tins and gave them out at her annual Christmas Eve party in Houston. So for me, this recipe is tied to the holidays and their flavor takes me back in time. To get just the right flavor, Toll House brand chips are a must since that was pretty much the main brand available back then. My grandmother was generally a tub margarine user, but when it came to these cookies she splurged and used real butter — probably salted Land o’ Lakes. I’m not sure if she incorporated Crisco, but her cookies always tasted fresh even after a few days, so it’s likely. I sometimes make these with half butter and half shortening, and sometimes with all-butter depending on the purpose of the cookies and my mood.
Finally, these cookies are best with nuts. If I’m making cookies without nuts I generally use one of my other favorite recipes, but this one tastes so good with Texas pecans. Of course if you didn’t grow up with Texas pecans that doesn’t mean much, but I always put them in this recipe.
- 1 cup pecan halves (feel free to use more) plus a teaspoon of butter
- 2 1/4 cups (285 grams) all-purpose unbleached flour (weigh for best results)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (114 grams) salted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup (96 grams) Crisco
- 3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar (organic is best)
- 3/4 cup (150 grams) packed light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 eggs**
- 2 cups Nestle Tollhouse (or whatever brand you like) Semisweet Chocolate Chip
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lay pecans on a rimmed baking sheet and toast for about 5 to 7 minutes or until they start to release their oil. Toss the pecans with butter and let them cool, then chop them up. Set aside.
- Adjust oven heat to 375 degrees F.
- In a medium size bowl, mix together flour, baking soda and salt.
- In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat butter, Crisco, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract. With mixer on low, add the eggs and beat on low just until mixed -- don't beat a lot of air into the batter.
- By hand, or if using a stand mixer use the paddle on low, stir in the flour mixture.
- When flour is blended, stir in the chips and nuts.
- Drop batter by tablespoons (I use a medium cookie scoop these days) onto ungreased or regular foil lined baking sheet and bake at 375 for 10 to 12 minutes.
- Let cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.