Soft & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies.

I want you to take in these words, close your eyes, and visualize their meaning. Feel the warmth from the oven as you peer at them baking. Breathe in their scent, imagine the taste, the texture, and let it linger softly on your tongue. Chocolate Chip Cookies will always be my ultimate cookie. Certainly sugar, shortbread, and oatmeal raisin all have a time and a place, but they have never carved out such a sweet place in my heart like dear chocolate chip.

And oh what a sweet place it is.

In my year and a half of blogging, I have never shared a chocolate chip cookie recipe with you. There was a reason for this. I've shared a variation here or there, but you don't mess around with the true classic. When I was going to share a chocolate chip cookie recipe with you, I didn't want it to be just any cookie. I wanted it to stand out, to be special, to be different.

A good chocolate chip cookie has a few requirements. A great chocolate chip cookie has many more. I know some of you prefer them thin and crispy, but today's recipe is all about the thick and chewy chocolate chip cookie.

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This chocolate chip cookie recipe comes to me from a close family friend. It is her secret recipe, sought after by everyone blessed enough to try one of her cookies (me included). Fortunately, she has given me permission to share her secret with you. I won't reveal my source, however. The woman has an image to uphold (and a secret recipe to stay "secret").

This particular recipe has a slight twist. It is made with vegetable shortening instead of butter, which keeps the cookies wonderfully thick (cookies with a high butter content spread out very thin). The cookie also uses a couple tablespoons of mild molasses for one specific purpose. The molasses keeps the inside of the cookies soft for days (if they last that long, of course), without lending a distinct flavor. Five days on my kitchen counter and these cookies are as soft as the day I made them.

These soft and chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies are the only chocolate chip cookie recipe you'll ever need. With just the right ratio of chocolate chips to cookie dough, the cookie maintains a very soft center while the edges stay lightly browned and crispy. These are lovely dipped into a glass of milk or eaten warm and gooey, straight out of the oven.

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Soft & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yields about 3 dozen

3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup vegetable shortening
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons mild molasses (or 1 tablespoon regular molasses)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2-3/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).

In a large mixing bowl, blend together the granulated and brown sugar. Cream together the sugars and vegetable shortening until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs one at a time, mixing well between additions. Mix in the vanilla extract and mild molasses.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the baking soda, salt, and flour. Gradually add the flour mixture to the batter. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Scoop cookies onto a baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned. Remove from oven and leave cookies on baking sheet for a few minutes so the cookies can set. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.