Baking memories
November 29, 2010
by Jenni Sebora

With the holidays upon us, so are the smells and tastes of the baked goodies that come with this season.

When I was a girl, my mother baked various holiday cookies, bars, candies, and breads for the whole month of December.

Molasses, chocolate chip, rolled sugar cookies and Wheatie were my all-time favorite cookies. Her Wheatie cookies included coconut, which so added to the texture and flavor. My favorite bread that she baked was zucchini. I am going to bake some for the holidays, too.

I also love to cook and bake, especially at this time of the year, with holiday music serenading me. My favorites in my holiday baking include pistachio bread, Melting Moments, and molasses cookies. Of course, my children request Peanut Blossoms and good ol’ chocolate chip.

No matter what type of cookie on this planet is made, it seems children’s all-time favorite remains the chocolate chip. The first chocolate chip cookie dates back to 1937, and was invented in by Ruth Graves Wakefield of Whitman, MA.

Whitman ran the Toll House Restaurant, which was once the site of a real toll house, where stagecoach passengers ate meals while their horses were changed. A toll was collected for the use of the highway between Boston and New Bedford.

One of Wakefield’s favorite recipes was the “Butter Drop Do cookies.” Baker’s chocolate was used in this recipe. On one baking occasion, Wakefield did not have any of this chocolate for the cookie recipe.

She substituted a semisweet chocolate bar. She chopped it into pieces and added the chunks of chocolate into dough. She assumed that the chocolate would melt and spread throughout the cookie. Instead, the chocolate chunks held their shape, and a new cookie was created.

Wakefield called her newly-created cookie the Toll House Crunch Cookies. Word of her cookie spread throughout the area, and it became very popular.

My children found this story very interesting as I shared it with them, except for my 13-year-old son, who declared, “You didn’t know how the chocolate chip cookie was invented?” Apparently, he had. He learned it in science class.

I did find a new chocolate chip cookie recipe that is described as one that will become a favorite chocolate chip cookie (http://whatscookingamerica.net).

What is added to this recipe are old-fashioned rolled oats. The recipe calls for making a powder out of the oats by putting them into a food processor or blender in small amounts, then adding these powdered oats into the other dry ingredients.

These are the next chocolate chip cookies my kids and I are going to bake. In fact, this may be the cookie exchange “winner” that I bring to the holiday cookie exchange I attend yearly.

May you find time to bake your holiday favorites with your family, too.