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Recipe for Success
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It goes like this… Wet ingredients first. Cream one cup of room temperature butter — the organic kind without the bovine hormones that you’re lucky enough to be able to pay a premium for — with three-quarters cup each of white and brown granulated sugar (not —currently — scarce due to war rationing). [Note: buy and use the dark brown sugar; it’s more flavorful and flexible, and more easily caramelized. You’ll be glad for that.] Crack in two free-range eggs — the kind with golden yolks versus mere yellow — and beat some more. Pour in an overflowing teaspoon of that imported Madagascar vanilla you favor. The imitation stuff was sufficient for nigh on a century, but now in the World Economy with its more open borders, why not go for the real stuff? It packs a fragrant punch.

Now the dry. One teaspoon of salt. One teaspoon of baking soda. Two and a quarter cups of white flour (which did get scarce for a long spell, as everyone stocked up on the staff of life, emptying grocery store shelves during the early months of this pandemic; you had to mail order three-pound bags from a mill in Maine). Sift it all together, then in half-cup measures, add dry to wet. Wrestle this into a bowlful of dough that holds together but no longer sticks to the skin. [I mention skin because remember how your college friend used to do this step — not with a wooden spoon or mechanical mixing assistance, but with his hands? He’d invite you to lick the leftovers from his fingers, and you’d oblige.]

Finally, sprinkle in the semi-sweet chocolate chips — a full twelve-ounce bag of Nestle’s, because, despite all the other adjustments and “improvements” you’ve made, these remain the truest and best for going to the brink of melting, but never losing their teardrop shape. Drop by generously rounded teaspoonfuls onto a non-stick sheet and bake at 375-degrees for eleven minutes. That timing renders them perfectly crispy on the edges, yet still soft in the centers.

This is how you make Toll House Cookies, like I did, like your great-grandmother did, like scores of New England housewives and homemakers have for generations back to the Revolutionary War. This recipe originated in the hearths of the inns wayfarers on the rough and muddy turnpike ducked into for sustenance. Those travelers were met with this treat that provides a burst of energy and a soothing warmth. It’s a gift to replicate it today. Savor your success.

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