All-American Chocolate Chip Cookies are ooey, gooey and utterly delicious! This ultimate American sweet, which is studded with bittersweet chocolate chips and pecans, was adapted from a family friend’s award-winning recipe. The batter comes together quickly and chills for at least an hour. When ready, scoop the dough onto a prepared baking sheet and bake until golden brown. Serve freshly baked, warm cookies with a cold glass of milk.
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Can I take a moment to real talk, y’all?
I’ve been riding the struggle bus recently.
Mid-July, our daughter caught a summertime cold and was sniffly for about two weeks. Then she passed it along to me. And while she acted completely normal during those weeks, only needing a few snuggles to combat the bug, this cold knocked me on my butt.
And I’ve been running slowly ever since.
And speaking of running… I haven’t been.
As previously mentioned, I won the lottery and got into this fall’s Chicago Marathon. My training was ramping up when the cold hit and subsequently took me down.
I haven’t run in almost three weeks … and I made the decision to defer my entry to the marathon last week. Unfortunately, I don’t think there is any way for me to safely ramp up after taking this much time off to combat illness. And unfortunately, I think I bit off more than I could chew with this.
I was raised to believe I could do anything if I put my mind to it. And this is a great affirmation because it teaches you to persevere, to push through, to put your head down and keep going when the going gets tough.
However, the older I get, the more I realize that while I can do anything I put my mind to, it’s impossible for me to try to do it all.
Case in point? Being a full-time stay at home mom with a part-time job. I was convinced I could do my work during naptime.
Everyone with me now: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.
I learned real quickly that I could drive myself crazy trying to balance both and ended up quitting the job about three months into motherhood after trying to make both work. (See also: Holy cow, being a mom is tough and demanding and hard, no matter if you stay home or work or do any combination of the two to make it work for your family.)
This marathon training was starting to feel a little bit like trying to balance a nonstop, full-time job with a part-time job. I’d get a good run in and celebrate… then I’d follow that up with a terrible one. Or I wouldn’t be able to run because life is unpredictable, and I’d feel guilty about skipping a workout. Then I’d guilt trip myself and make it that much tougher on myself to rediscover my groove.
In case this previous paragraph doesn’t illustrate it properly, I’m really good at being mean to myself. (Like, really, REALLY good at it.)
Quitting marathon training is the healthiest option for me right now. I know it is.
That said, it’s incredibly disappointing to commit to something, only to have to back out a few months later because you can’t make it happen. I mean, I probably could make it happen if I really pushed… but I’d make myself and everyone around me miserable in the process. And I want this to be a fun, happy process. Because running is a fun thing for me. Competing against myself is fun.
This isn’t to say I won’t train for a marathon in the future… but I’m choosing to take it easy on myself right now. Instead of setting a lofty goal of 26.2, I’m going to aim for a winter half marathon. And if that doesn’t happen because of the unpredictability of life? That’s OK.
It’s taken 31 years, but I’m finally learning how to be kind to myself.
When life hands me disappointments, I find myself in the kitchen. Baking has always been a soothing activity for me, and more often than not, I crave these All-American Chocolate Chip Cookies.
Yes, I realize that baking yourself treats when things don’t go your way could become unhealthy… but I firmly believe in balance. And part of being kind to myself includes enjoying the things I find comforting and familiar.
I have memories of eating cookie dough with my mom on our patio while we watched a storm roll in when I was young. And every time we make these cookies, I’m taken back.
This recipe is adapted from a family friend’s. Mrs. Chris was a friend and co-worker of my mom’s who was a phenomenal baker. Her recipe actually won a prize at the Mid-South Fair back in the day.
Mrs. Chris passed away when I was in elementary school, but her memory lives on in her cookies.
My mom gave me a copy of Mrs. Chris’s recipe for my 21st birthday, and I’ve been making them ever since.
In recent years, I’ve adapted her recipe, which calls for vegetable shortening, tinkering here and there to see what my personal favorite was.
And my personal favorite involves a stick of butter in place of that shortening and a little different ratio of flour to fat.
“SURPRISE!” said no one.
If you’re a fan of soft, gooey sweets, you’re going to love these All-American Chocolate Chip Cookies. They’re best straight from the oven (or warmed for a few seconds in the microwave!) and paired with a cold glass of milk.
All-American Chocolate Chip Cookies Essentials
Get the look!
Here’s how I make them:
All-American Chocolate Chip Cookies
- ½ cup unsalted butter , at room temperature
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 ¼ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ cup pecans , chopped
- ¾ cup bittersweet chocolate chips
- In a large mixing bowl, whip the softened butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar with a hand (or stand) mixer until the butter is light yellow and the sugars are well incorporated.
- Add in the egg and vanilla extract, beating until combined.
- Combine the dry ingredients -- flour, salt and soda -- in a smaller bowl.
- Pour in half of the dry ingredients, mixing until combined, then add the other half, blending until the batter has come together.
- Measure in the chopped pecans and bittersweet chocolate chips. Stir them into the batter with a spoon.
- Chill the dough for at least 2 hours (or overnight.)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat.
- Using a cookie scooper, measure out 1" rounds of the cookie dough.
- Evenly space the cookie dough rounds out on the baking sheet, about 2" apart so the dough can spread.
- Bake for 12-16 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Enjoy warm with a glass of your favorite kind of milk!
Please note that the total time does NOT include chill time.
If the cookies are cooled and you'd like them warm to eat, heat up in the toaster oven OR microwave on a microwave-safe plate for 10-15 seconds, or until the chocolate is just slightly gooey.