Every year my husband makes Christmas cookies, or should I say, one type of Christmas cookie. Never wavers, always the same: the Nestle Toll House cookie, with slight variations to the recipe that appears on the back of every bright yellow bag.
Over the years, whenever I made cookies with the kids, they were the cut, sugar-cookie kind that you decorate with food dye and sugar sprinkles - the ones the kids would spend maybe three minutes on, leaving me to finish the other four dozen. Sometimes we'd make the fruit-filled, rolled-up, sliced, and stuck-to-the-baking-tray kind. Coconut mounds, pecan balls, gingerbread people. You name it, I baked 'em.
By the time I'd realize that the kids had left the kitchen and flour and sugar were everywhere, my husband would step in and announce loudly that I was wasting my time making inferior cookies that could never compete with his.
They came to be known as Papa Syrnick's cookies and they gained quite a reputation with friends in France, where it is apparently impossible to find Nestlé semi-sweet chocolate morsels. I never made a big deal about the fact that shipping a tub of cookies to France costs more than actual ingredients plus minimum wage for the time spent in the kitchen.
Friends in Atlanta and Boston love the cookie, too, and it even traveled to Penn State for a few years when the kids were in college. And that's where the cookies were re-named Papa Fyrnick's Christmas Cookies, because of a mailing label mishap.
When he bakes his gems, my husband eats the first three batches himself. As soon as my brother figures out that a great cookie bake is under way, he shows up for a few with a glass of milk. I have to remind them that we need to leave some for when company shows up on Christmas Eve.
I personally don't like the cookie. It's chewy in places where I don't want chew. The mix of salt and sweet doesn't appeal to me. And it's ugly! Bumpy, lumpy, and brown. But you decide. Here's the recipe:
Makes about 5 dozen cookies.
21/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar (instead of packed brown sugar)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups (12-ounce package) Nestlé Toll House Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup raisins
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy.
3. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels, nuts, and raisins. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.
4. Bake 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.