I've never truly been alone in my kitchen, I always have had the company of the cookie jars. Their big eyes, tall hats, and large bellies have watched me grow up. They've seen our Holiday dinners and listened to our laughs and secrets. My mom brought up an interesting topic the other day. She spoke about how she adores the mystery of a cookie jar. All the ones gathered in our home are antiques (that mom has collected) and have been heirlooms of other families. My favorite jar rests on the right hand side of the shelf. It bears a child's face that wears a big old fireman's hat labeled "cookies". He's looking into the corner with a lipstick red smile that never fades. His pale face blushes which makes him look like a giant peach. His features may be memorable but what's his story, what's really in the jar?
He was given as a gift to a local fire house in the early 1900's. After a day of putting out blazing fires the men would return to the station to a jar with a belly full of fresh baked chocolate chip cookies. The men would gather around a table with the jar at the center. While feasting on cookies they discussed the days excitement and the unforeseen battles of tomorrow, all around the comfort of a cookie jar. Then the alarm would sound, the men would take to the trucks and the jar would sit patiently awaiting for the firefighters to return, surrounded by crumbs or so I would like to think.
Much like the other jars they all have a story to tell. The brown mouse in the sailors suit might have once belonged to a great grandmother who lived all alone. She looked forward to the milk man's daily delivery. She cherished these visits the most and so she made a variety of cookies for him, to go with his milk. Chocolate biscotti, pignoli's, and blackberry thumb-prints stuffed the mouse. The old woman, her delivery man and the mouse would sit on her porch eating cookies, enjoying each others company while swaying back and forth on her creaking rocking chairs. Until the day she passed the routine was always the same and so thanks to her cookie jar she was never really alone.
There once was a mother (much like my own) of two very young sons. She was in possession of a cookie jar passed down to her through the generations. It was a round jar, a pumpkin to be specific. The pumpkin was made into a carriage with two small mice that sat atop it, yes, a fairytale come to life. After a long week the mother treated her two young children to their favorite cold ice cream treat. Where were the cookies you might ask? Although the mother was a fine baker this jar was left untouched. It was but a symbol to her and her family. It reminded them of great possibilities, that dreams do come true no matter how small they may be.
These are the stories within the jars, even though some may be imagined, except for the last one, that was real. I hope you enjoy the cookie recipe below I know my family does, and hopefully it fills up your jars or maybe not, giving them each a story to be told.
Keep on Cooking!!!
Chocolate Chip CookiesYields 4 dozen (48 cookies)
1 cup walnut or pecan pieces (optional)
2 ½ sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1-cup light brown sugar, packed
½ cup granulated sugar
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup rolled oats
3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 325F
Toast nuts in skillet set over medium high. Stir every so often until they become aromatic and begin to release their oils, 3-5 minutes. Set aside and cool.
Using an electric mixer cream the butter and both sugars until smooth. Beat in the vanilla and lemon juice to combine. Add the egg and egg yolk and beat until just blended into the batter.
In a separate bowl, stir the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the batter and mix until well blended. Stir in the oats, chocolate chips, and nuts (if desired).
Chill the batter for an hour if you have the time. This will help make them slightly thicker.
Spoon large tablespoons of dough, 3 inches apart on an un-greased cookie sheet. Bake the cookies for 13-15 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.