This recipe originally came from the book Big Secrets by William Poundstone. In the book he supposedly details the secret recipe for Mrs. Fields' chocolate chip cookies. I don't know if the recipe is really the same as the original, but after much experimentation, the cookies are the best I've ever had, including Mrs. Fields. If you follow the recipe exactly, your friends won't believe you made them yourself.

Here's my version of the recipe, slightly tweaked from the one in the book:

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 medium eggs, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (not imitation)
  • 1/2 teaspoon milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon water
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 12 ounces chocolate chips (either semi-sweet or milk chocolate is okay)
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

Mix sugars and butter in an electric mixer. These should be well mixed. At this point the batter should be smooth, not dry and crumbly. If your batter is dry and crumbly your butter was too cold and you need to keep working it.

Add other wet ingredients, mixing well.

Finally mix in flour, baking soda and salt, then chocolate and nuts.

Use a spoon to dish out golf-ball sized lumps of dough onto a sheets of heavy duty aluminum foil. Sheets should be approximately the size of a baking sheet. Space the balls of dough out the way you want to bake them later. Chill in refrigerator overnight. Refrigerating the dough is important to get the nifty crackled surface on the cookies.

The next day preheat oven to 325 degrees (f). For best appearance, cookies should go from refrigerator to oven as quickly as possible - the dough should not be allowed to get up to room temperature. Take the entire aluminum foil sheet of dough balls and place it directly on the middle oven rack. Cook for roughly 15 1/2 minutes. Cookies will be soft when taken from oven. Place the entire aluminum foil sheet of cookies onto a couple of side-by-side wire racks. Finished cookies should be about 1/2 inch thick. Makes approximately 36 cookies.

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