(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.


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

Habanero Hot Sauce

A couple years ago we planted several (a dozen?) habanero plants. They produced plentifully! Delicious light-green, yellow, and bright orange habanero peppers. They are picante! (They kinda hurt!) With so much abundance, I searched for a hot sauce recipe using habaneros and found this one below. (Slightly modified by me.) It’s hot, but the carrots help offset the heat, and maintain the good habanero flavor.

One modification I made was to add the jalapeño flavor. We had an even greater abundance of that pepper, so I added them in. An equal amount, or slightly more.

The result? A fantastically hot/spicy sauce that has great flavor, and lasted many months in the fridge. Love it!

1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 Tbsp vegetable oil (I used mild olive oil)
1 Cup chopped carrots
2 Cups water
5 habanero peppers, minced
5 jalapeño peppers, minced (or another type of hot pepper, if preferred)
2 Tbsp lime juice
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp salt

In a large skillet, saute the onion and garlic in oil until soft. Add carrots and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until carrots are soft. Remove from heat and transfer to a blender or food processor. Add the peppers, lime juice, vinegar and salt. Puree until smooth. Return mixture to skillet and saute for a few more minutes, this gives the sauce a more liquid consistency.

Store in a sealed jar in your fridge. Sauce can last for many months—unless you use it all first!

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!

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!


1/2 cup of shortening
1/2 cup of butter
2 eggs
2 tsp. cream tartar
1 1/2 cups of sugar
2 1/3 cups of flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 salt

Sugar & cinnamon mixture
(for cookies to be rolled in)
2 tbl sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

I’ve been making these quite often lately. They’re delicious, and other than the Cream of Tartar, the ingredients are simple and usually in my cupboards!

Cream shortening, butter, sugar together. I usually beat in the mixer on high until quite fluffy. Add the eggs and beat on high again. Add the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, & salt and mix well.

Roll into 1″ balls and then drop in the cinnamon/sugar mixture until well coated.

Bake at 350 degrees about 8 – 10 minutes. (I have found that a slightly higher temperature—375ºF, produces slightly crispier edges, which can be nice!)

Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for a minute or two, then remove to a cooling rack. And then… enjoy!

Summer Favorite: Potato Salad

One recipe we use at least a few times each summer is my modification of the Potato Salad from Betty Crocker’s 40th Anniversary Cookbook.

My family loves this simple tasting potato salad, but they don’t love extra “crunchies”—so, celery seed replaces fresh celery stalks. That, and the way I prepare the potatoes are the main modifications, though sometimes I will add a tad more mayo and vinegar and mustard. (Makes it a bit creamier!)

Recipe adapted from Betty Crocker’s 40th Anniversary Cookbook


2 pounds potatoes (about 6 medium)
1 1/2 Cups mayonnaise
1 Tbsp vinegar (I prefer apple cider vinegar)
1 Tbsp prepared mustard
1 Tsp salt
1/2 Tsp black pepper
1/2 Tsp celery seed (can add more, if desired)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 hard-boiled eggs, chopped

Peel, dice, and then add rinsed potatoes to a pot of boiling water. Boil until softened (press against the side of the pot to test softness). If you don’t already have hard-boiled eggs on hand, be sure to get those going while you are boiling the potatoes. While the potatoes are boiling, add mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper to a large bowl and mix well by hand. Once the potatoes are finished, drain, and add to this bowl. Stir gently, folding into the mayo/mustard base, so you don’t smash up the potatoes. Add the eggs last and fold those in gently, too.

Seal and allow to cool in your refrigerator for at least a few hours. Then serve it up with your favorite summer foods from the grill. There will be many happy mouths and tummies!