Baking / Recipes

Mexican Vanilla and More Cookies

So I’m back from my two week road trip with dad. Which is to say that I am no longer on vacation and I’m back to work. Lots of work. Oh, poor me, I have people who want to pay me to make pictures for them. My life is so hard.

Seriously, how awesome is my job?

Anyways, I’m going to be on the road (for work this time) quite a bit over the next few weeks so unfortunately posting will remain sporadic for a while. But fear not, I promise this isn’t going to become one of those blogs where all the posts are apologies for not posting more. I have a lot of more cooking to do and recipes I am going to try. I also have a number of really cool food-community type ideas that I’m tossing around (which mainly involve excuses to get together with friends for eating and drinking) so stay tuned for that. In the mean time, I want to share some photos of my dad making the family recipe for chocolate chip cookies.

I have posted these cookies before, but the last time I posted about them it was when I was making them myself. This time, my dad made up a batch here in my very own kitchen just for me. And for Dr. Fiance. And for Dr. Fiance’s lab. And for the neighbor’s dinner party. And for our freezer.

St. Louis Photographer Jonathan Gayman

Yeah, dad made a lot of cookies. And the amazing thing is that he made the same recipe that I’ve made a dozen times, this time using MY kitchen and his were STILL better than mine are. Damn it. One big thing that he does that I don’t is that he uses a mixer for the wet ingredients before mixing in the flour by hand. When he recreated his method (sans mixer in my kitchen) he beat the hell out of the wet ingredients with a wooden spoon. I think the addition of the added fluff and air into the batter at that stage is the biggest difference in method, and accounts for an even softer and moister cookie than mine. The other important step is that after beating the crap out of the batter, you need to make sure stir in the flour slowly, so as not to build up the gluten, which will make the cookies hard. In any case either I need to buy a mixer or I need to spend more time beating my batter. Which sounds dirty. Moving on.

The other interesting difference this time around was the fact that we used the vanilla extract that I picked up in Mexico last week. Along with my aunt and uncle, dad and I did the border town thing, crossing over into Mexico to buy cheap shit. Apparently you can get great dental work, gastric bypass surgery and eyeglasses, all very cheap, mere feet from the United States. What a country (insert Yakov Smirnoff joke here). All in all we spent the most time that morning standing in line coming back across the border with our questionable tequila and even more questionable vanilla extract.

I choose the bottle I bought because it didn’t say “este producto contiene jarabe de maíz” en español. Unfortunately while I was able to determine whether or not my vanilla had corn syrup in it, I don’t know the spanish translation for “this product contains lead” so who knows what is going to happen to us now that we’ve ingested it. However, we used it in the cookies and it tastes great. BTW, my aunt told me that the rooster sticker means that it is “real” vanilla. I, for one, am not convinced that, in a town that offers tax free viagra, a sticker proves authenticity. But who can argue with $1.37 for a bottle of vanilla something or other sin jarabe de maíz?

St. Louis Photographer Jonathan Gayman

Here is a little gallery of dad making the dozens upon dozens of cookies this afternoon. We didn’t count specifically, but dad thinks it was somewhere in the area of 20 dozen. We really did supply Dr. Fiance’s lab with a giant bowl of them, and we took another bowl full to the neighbor’s dinner in our building. I also froze a giant bag of them, and still we have a bowl on the counter which I’m eating every time I walk into the kitchen. Best. Cookies. Ever. You can find the recipe for these chocolate chip cookies here.


  • Suzi
    March 11, 2011 at 8:59 am

    Your dad makes the best sterling chippers anywhere. It was nice to see all the pictures of him doing his “thing”.

  • Jen
    March 11, 2011 at 7:07 pm

    It looks like you made Dad do all the work!

    • ShootToCook
      March 12, 2011 at 12:30 am

      You betcha! It was his idea. I was like, yep, you go ahead and make ’em dad. His are better than mine anyway.

  • […] years I made one kind of cookie and one kind only: the family recipe for chocolate chippers that my dad has been making for me as long as I can remember. These days, while I still make a fair […]


Leave a Reply