On this day before Mother's Day I invite you to celebrate those wonderful women in your life who weren't mothers. Women like my great great grand aunts Jenny & Mabel, affectionately known as "the aunts" by my mom's generation. Jenny was widowed fairly young and Mabel never married; neither of them had children. But they were still important family members who provided much nurturing and care to their nieces and nephews. They certainly took good care of my mom in her university days, providing her with healthy meals and a sense of home-away-from-home.
Aunt Mabel made the lightest, crispest chocolate chip cookies I've ever tasted. I asked her for the recipe when I was about 13 and she sent me a little bundle of index cards with several handwritten recipes and a note.
I debated whether or not to share the recipe (they are that good), but ultimately decided that since it originally came from the back of the Chipits package it wasn't really a family secret.
The key ingredients that make these cookies different from the multitude of other chocolate chip cookies are shredded coconut, dried sour cherries and almond extract. I buy coconut from the local Indian grocer because it's very fresh and inexpensive and dried cherries from Trader Joe's. To make gluten-free cookies I simply substituted the Gluten-Free Pantry french bread and pizza mix for the flour called for in the recipe. Easy-peasy.
My recipe made 45 cookies.
I use a mini ice-cream scoop to make drop cookies. It's much faster and a lot less messy than using a teaspoon.
I've started using parchment paper when I bake cookies, mainly so I don't have to wash the baking sheet afterwards.
It's important to let the cookies sit for a few minutes after they come out of the oven or they will disintegrate when you move them to the cooling rack.
When I went to visit, Aunt Mabel always served me tea in a fancy tea cup that I was allowed to choose from her china cabinet. It always made me feel very important and special. I have some of her tea cups packed away somewhere, I should really get them out.
Seriously, this is a good recipe. Don't lose it.