Nonna’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

Christina_Dodd_CookiesMy husband’s grandmother made the best chocolate chip cookies in the world. She kept them in her freezer and brought them out whenever the grandchildren came to visit, and we ate them as if we couldn’t get them anywhere else…because we couldn’t. I begged her for the recipe, but she claimed it was Tollhouse cookie recipe. And it was, with a few important variations.

She made them with butter-flavored shortening, which gave them a fabulous texture and flavor, and because she had two huge black walnut trees in her yard, she used black walnuts, a very aggressively flavored nut which pairs well with the robust semi-sweet chocolate chips. And you know that walnut dust that forms when you chop nuts? She added the dust in the dough to permeate the cookies with flavor.

Because I like to fool myself that I’m eating healthfully, I changed the white flour to whole wheat and discovered the whole family prefers the flavor the whole wheat adds. Also, my unsuspecting friends who hate whole wheat gobble up these cookies. What they don’t know won’t hurt them.

Finally, I use half shortening and half butter to give the cookies a texture and heft similar to Grandma’s. So with thanks to Tollhouse and my husband’s Grandma, here’s my family’s chocolate chip cookie recipe.


2 ¼  cups whole wheat flour (or half white flour and half whole wheat, if you prefer.)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

½  cup butter, softened

½ cup shortening

¾  cup granulated sugar

¾  cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs

2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) Nestles Toll House Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels

1 cup chopped black walnuts


PREHEAT oven to 375° F (I have a convection oven, so I preheat to 350.)

COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat softened butter and shortening, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually stir in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

BAKE for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

* May be stored in refrigerator for up to 1 week or in freezer for up to 8 weeks.

We store the cookies in Tupperware on the counter, and we have never had a problem with them going bad. Of course, they’re never around long enough to go bad. We also freeze them; in a chocolate chip emergency, they can be gnawed on frozen. They warm well in the microwave, just make sure you are careful and do it in ten second increments — the chocolate chips get very hot.

Remember in REVENGE AT BELLA TERRA when the kids were all talking about Nonna’s chocolate chip cookies in reverent tones? Yes, these were the cookies I was talking about.

These cookies are hearty and full of flavor, so pair with a hearty dessert wine like Seghesio’s Dionigia, a cabernet, zinfandel and petite syrah blend.

Or with milk.