(The BEST) Chocolate Chip Cookies [UPDATED!]

One of my most requested baked treats are these chocolate chip cookies which are a version of the recipe found over a decade ago on the packaging of the generic Aldi brand chocolate chips! How about that for a recipe source? :)

Modifications are minor. In fact, it might be only the doubling of the vanilla. (But oh, that makes them delicious!) Cook time and temp will vary, too. See instructions below for more on that.

Ingredients:

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
2 cup brown sugar
4 eggs
3-4 tsp vanilla
5 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt
1 large bag chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Your oven may vary, so watch carefully to see that the cookies are baking thoroughly without browning the edges too much. This will dry out the cookies, or even “burn” the bottoms (more than you want!). The original recipe instructed the baker to preheat to 375ºF, but this caused the too-quick browning, without thorough baking. So know your oven, and set the temperature accordingly.

Cream butter, shortening and sugars. I like to whip it on high speed for 1 or 2 minutes. Add in eggs and beat again till smooth and fluffy. Add vanilla, then flour and other dry ingredients. Mix together, but not on high speed this time, just until all dry ingredients are worked in. Add chocolate chips (I use a whole 24 oz bag, but you can add as many or as few as you like.)

Spoon out in generous tablespoon-fulls. Eight drops per cookie sheet, one-and-a-half to two inches in diameter. I prefer to bake one tray at a time, allowing for the most even heat distribution. Bake 8-10 minutes, watching carefully for the browning edges and for any moisture to disappear from the middle. Do not over-bake! Once cookies are ready, remove from oven and allow to cool on cookie sheet for a couple minutes. After a short cooling time on the tray, remove to a cooling rack. Allow to cool for at least five to ten minutes before eating (or storing).

Recipe makes approximately five dozen large cookies. And believe me, they go fast! :)


Originally published July 29th, 2013. Updated September 8th, 2014

Amazing Peanut Butter Fudge

I just made this again recently, and quickly remembered why I had saved this recipe! Originally found it somewhere online, under the name “Alpha’s Peanut Butter Fudge”. I made a few modifications, and I believe they improved an already great recipe!

Ingredients:
2 1/2 cup sugar
5 oz Evaporated Milk
1/2 cup of butter
1 Tbsp light corn syrup
18 oz Peanut Butter
1 tsp Vanilla

In a medium saucepan, dissolve sugar in evaporated milk. Add butter (cut in pieces, if desired) and corn syrup, and, stirring constantly, cook over low heat until butter is melted. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, to soft ball stage. (Using our candy thermometer, this was to 240ºF.)

Remove from heat and mix in peanut butter. Cool to about 120º F and mix in vanilla. Spread in suitable size pan (the larger the pan, the thinner each piece of candy will be). Fudge will still be very soft at this stage; it takes a few hours to set up.

I actually doubled this recipe (because of our large family) … sort of. I forgot to double the peanut butter, but did double everything else, and that was just fabulous. So I would recommend perhaps halving the peanut butter, or if doubling, just use one 18oz jar. Still very peanut buttery … and fantastic!

It took about four hours to cool/set, and then was ready to serve!

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

One of the things I remember about visits to my Grandma’s house as a kid is her homemade ice cream. She had a little ice cream maker and would make us homemade ice cream on most visits to her house. It was fantastic. I’m still trying to perfect my versions these days, but below is a simple recipe for vanilla ice cream that has worked for me. Remember to get lots of ice and good rock salt for the ice cream maker. (One book I read said 20 lbs of ice for 1 gallon of ice cream! Wow!)

Ingredients:
5 eggs
2 1/2 cups sugar
5 cups milk
1 quart heavy cream
2 Tbsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt

Beat eggs until light and fluffy. Gradually add sugar and continue beating until mixture is stiff. Add remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly.

Pour into 1-gal freezer can and freeze according to manufacturer’s directions. Then enjoy!

(Note: it’s a good idea to plan to “ripen” the ice cream a bit in your regular freezer. Cover the lid and let it freeze for about 4 hours before it’s officially set. Of course, have any amount you’d like before you put it away to finish freezing! It’s too hard to wait!)