This is Maida Heatter's version of the world famous Toll House Chocolate Chip cookie recipe. In her original chocolate book, the only difference I see is that Maida suggests using 1 teaspoon of hot water to dissolve the baking soda (which, she says, is the way Ruth Wakefield did it) and she adds an additional cup of nuts. Later, she reprints the recipe again in Maida Heatter's Brand-New Book of Great Cookies and says that she now uses 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract instead of one and 16 oz. of chocolate instead of 12. And, instead of using morsels, she uses semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate bars, cut into pieces. I have added the additions in parenthesis after the listed ingredients for the orignal recipe.
They are one of my favorite cookies and perfect with a glass of milk. I can never eat just one! I prefer them soft so I don't let them bake as long as the recipe suggests. 8 oz. (2 sticks) sweet butter 1 tsp. salt 1 tsp. vanilla extract (2 tsp. in modified recipe) 3/4 cup sugar 3/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed 2 large eggs 2 1/4 cup unsifted all-purpose flour 1 tsp. baking soda 1 tsp. hot water 8 oz. (2 generous cups) walnuts, cut or broken into medium-size pieces 12 oz. (2 cups) semisweet chocolate morsels (16 oz. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate bars cut into pieces in modified recipe)
Preheat the oven to 375. Cut aluminum foil to fit cookie sheets. Cream the butter in a mixer. Add the salt, vanilla and both sugars and beat well. Add the eggs and eat well. Lower the speed of the mixer and about half of the flour and beat only until incorporated. In a small cup stir the baking soda with the hot water until it is dissolved. Mix it into the dough. Add the remaining flour and beat only to mix. Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir in the chocolate and the nuts. There are various methods for forming the dough. You can simply drop the batter from a teaspoon or you can freeze the dough overnight (Ruth Wakefield did this). Maida prefers forming the dough into balls with your wet hands. She says they will have a more even color and taste better. Whichever method you chose, place the dough 2 inches apart on the foil and slightly flatten the top with a spoon or your fingertips. Bake for about 12 minutes until the cookies have browned all over. If using only one cookie sheet, use the upper rack. If using two sheets, reverse them from top to bottom half-way through the baking time. Let the cookies cool for a few seconds before transferring them to a cooling rack. Store in an airtight container.