Have we ever discussed my outrageous nostalgia issue?
Probably not, because it borderlines on embarrassingly insane. I am, however, one of those people that pretty much turns to mush on the inside when I think about the past. And I mean… like any part of the past. Like our vacation last October that I was adamantly dead set against because I wasn’t thrilled with the location. And as it turns out, I was sort of right and we ended up wishing we would have went somewhere else… or just stayed home. And now I’m all “oh my gosh remember our trip in October? when we drove all day and wanted to kill each other because it rained twenty four freaking seven for three days straight? that was so fun!”
Or like the summer I agreed to babysit when I was sixteen years old… that required me being AT the home before seven. In the morning. Like seven in the morning. I’ve always been a morning person but that? Almost every single day for three months? Not so fab. But of course now I remember it fondly and am like “that was SUCH a fun summer! what a cool job! i wish i was sixteen again!” And apparently I’m enjoying acting like it with all of my exclamation points.
I don’t know though. I just do this.
I’m the girl who listens to certain songs… yeah, THOSE songs that remind you of past relationships… even friendships. I’m the girl that walks through the fragrance section of Sephora all the time and picks up bottles of men’s cologne to do the same thing. Oh and on that note, I’m definitely the girl who still has her bottle of Sunflowers perfume – like the same bottle from middle school – because it smells exactly like sixth grade. What does sixth grade even smell like anyway? Regardless, Sunflowers has to smell much better given the age group that sits in that classroom. Right??
Two weeks ago, the nostalgia fairy visited me again. When my cousin and I decided last minute to take a little road trip and visit our parents at the beach – a place we’ve been going for 30 years – I knew it was coming. Even the driving route gets me because contrary to popular belief (I don’t know why I just said that), I am one giant, big, old sap. The deal is: every June my mom, Mother Lovett and I would take a little blue Buick with VELVET seats en route to Cape May. The girls in one car, the guys in the other. I would read the entire way, and Mother Lovett would spend a good three or four hours talking about Victor and Nikki on the Young and the Restless like it was seriously real life and they were BFFs. No really.
And thinking of that just started the floodgates. And then we started talking about her cookies. And how she stored them with pieces of bread on top.
It probably is just this time of year… or wait, it’s probably also because of all the reasons I mentioned I’m wacky above (I really think I’m a 75-year old person in a 20something body) but I already started my list of what I want to bake for the holidays. Yes it’s true: I’m very easily amused. Yes it’s also true: I didn’t have time to wash my sheets or yank my dead flowers out of the ground this weekend, but I did have time to make a list of things I want to bake IN THREE MONTHS.
I was just in the Mother Lovett state of mind because of the whole vacation thing and then I accidentally listened to some Tony Bennet and then I started to butter one of my crackers with soup… and it was like she had overtaken my soul or something. Because we used to spend HOURS baking. Hours, hours, hours. We didn’t always do this, but it was later down the road when her chocolate chip cookies began to resemble bricks and coals due to her blind and deafness – I mean who measures anything or listens to oven timers? – that she needed some help. Her cookies were just SO GOOD that it wasn’t fathomable to have bad chocolate chip cookies. So we’d bake.
It was a constant battle. I didn’t cream the butter properly or pack the brown sugar tight enough or measure the flour the correct way or add enough vanilla even though she didn’t measure a thing. My scoops of cookie dough were always too small or too large, too close together or too far apart, too round or too flat. I never rolled the butterballs in coconut the right way and I always made the peanut butter blossoms too large and my buttercream for the thumbprints was never the perfect shade of pink. I never set the oven time correctly, and when it went off she swore to God that it definitely had NOT gone off (legally deaf people… legally deaf) and there was no way that the cookies were done already. When I gave in because I didn’t want to hurt her pride and would show her a hot sheet of cookies that were brown brown brown – like gross, burnt brown – she thought they looked perfect (couldn’t see a thing) and would have to touch every single cookie just to believe me. And sometimes she still didn’t.
I think back now and it utterly blows.my.mind that an almost 90-year old woman was even in the kitchen to begin with – let alone an almost 90-year old woman who couldn’t hear or see anything – and that she worked her tail off. That thought alone gets my booty up off the couch. And I think back now and can just see the absolute disgust on her face that I even bothered putting whole wheat flour in my cookies, especially chocolate chip cookies. I doubt that she ever even bought a bag of whole wheat flour; that one even hid in her cupboards or more specifically, these old school tins that she had filled with flour and sugar. Oh yeah… she is totally rolling around in her grave right now.
But. I’ve been attempting a “good” whole wheat cookie for ages now. Mainly because my husband whines and makes these eyes that say can’t you just make a healthy cookie that tastes totally unhealthy but is 100% healthy so I can shove about fifty in my mouth while standing over the sink with my diet Coke? Um, not really. A cookie made with whole wheat flour or zero sugar or no butter tends to taste like a cookie made with whole wheat flour or zero sugar or no butter.
That’s why I’m not going to tell you that these taste “exactly like the real thing!” – because they don’t. But they do taste pretty darn close. Like really close. When it doubt, brown your butter. Hear that? Brown.your.butter.
Mini Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies
Yield: makes 2 1/2-3 dozen cookies
Prep Time: 60 minutes
Cook Time: 6-7 minutes per batch
Total Time: 1.5 hours
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup loosely packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg + 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup oat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup milk chocolate chips
2/3 cup mini chocolate chips
To brown butter, add butter to a skillet over medium heat. Once melted, whisk constantly until brown bits start to appear in the bottom of the pan - about 5 minutes. Remove immediately from heat and continue whisking for another 30 seconds or so. Let cool COMPLETELY.
In a small bowl, whisk together flours, baking soda and salt.
Once cool, add sugars to a large bowl with butter, whisking until smooth. Add in vanilla extract then whisk in egg and egg yolk until combined. Using a large spoon, add in dry ingredients and mix well until a dough forms - using your hands if needed. Fold in chocolate chips until they are scattered throughout the dough. Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Roll dough into balls slightly smaller than one inch around. Place on a baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake for 6-7 minutes, then remove and let cool completely. Do not overbake!
Just don’t tell you grandma that you used whole wheat flour. Eek.[The fine print: this post is sponsored by Nestlé® Toll House® Morsels, the perfect special ingredient for all of your family’s favorite treats!]