Donna’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

I had a friend named Donna.  I say “had” because she passed away about 15 years ago from complications resulting from a surgical procedure.  Sadly, she was way too young to leave us.  Besides being a wonderful human being and extremely talented as a resource specialist for the school district where we were coworkers, she also excelled as a baker, teaching cake decorating classes on the side.  

Inevitably, when you work in an office environment, someone will bring in “goodies” to share with their coworkers.  I do not remember anything anyone else ever brought in while working there–I guess I’m extremely discerning when it comes to my “goodies”.  But these chocolate chip cookies were legend. Both these and her famous Chocolate Fudge Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Frosting, which I will post at another time.  We tried to keep their existence under wraps because if anyone outside of our department ever heard that Donna brought in her famous chocolate chip cookies that day, Donna would have had to start tripling her recipe in order to appease everyone.

Lucky for me, she she shared her recipe with me.  I’m so happy to have known this marvelous lady and call her my friend.

Donna’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe type: Cookies
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: Makes about 5 dozen cookies
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup shortening
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 small box (3.4 oz.) vanilla instant pudding
  • 1 cup chopped nuts, toasted
  • 3 cups chocolate chips (or a 12-oz. package)
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Place chopped nuts on a baking sheet and brown for 10-15 minutes in hot oven. Cool.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, mix sugars, butter and shortening until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add vanilla and eggs and mix well; stir in remaining ingredients.
  5. Refrigerate dough for at least 30 minutes.
  6. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake until light brown, about 10 minutes.
  7. Allow to cool slightly on cookie sheet, then transfer to wire racks and allow to cool completely.

Et cetera:  Donna was the one who taught me to about crumb-coating a cake first.  You know when you first take a cake out of the pan and there are crumbs all round the perimeter?  Then you try to frost it and there are crumbs in the frosting?  Well, try frosting the cake first with a very light layer of frosting.  It won’t be beautiful, but this will stick the crumbs to the sides of the cake.  Allow the cake to rest for at least 30 minutes and then give it a final frost.  The crumbs will stick to the cake and you will have a perfectly beautiful outside crumb-free layer of frosting.  Thanks, Donna.