So, Cookie of The Month has had some less than usual flavors recently - so we decided to go a little classic chocolate chip for America's birthday month. If you have been following us for a long enough time, you know that this cookie is named for my grandmother Hazel. It is not her recipe, it is our brown butter dough and a high quality dark chocolate chip. Her chocolate chip cookie wasn't about making the best tasting or looking cookie, it was straight off the back of the yellow Nestle Toll House Morsel bag. Baking with Hazel is one of my earliest memories. We had a routine for going to her house for the weekend, we would dash out as soon as I got home from school and head to her house in Kittery Maine. She lived by the Navy Yard and the goal was always to beat that traffic. "Heather, hurry! WE HAVE TO BEAT THE NAVY YARD". To this day, I can only imagine that getting stuck in Navy Yard traffic was some sort of torture, I don't remember us getting stuck in it. We headed to the grocery store on the way to her house to pick up provisions - which always meant Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls and the coveted yellow bag of chocolate chips. After dinner in her kitchen, we would take out the butter and put it in on the kitchen table so it would be soft for the post breakfast bake Saturday morning. After having more bacon than I was allowed at home and the coveted middle cinnamon roll - it would be time to get to work. She used making cookies to help me with counting, learning to read and follow directions, math & fractions. She taught me about leveling off the measuring cups. My favorite part was in a class defensive move - she would pour our some chocolate chips into a pyrex custard cup so I would keep my grubby hands out of the dough. She would let me lick the batter off the mixer detachments. We had a blast every time. I remember how excited I would be to open the oven and she would exclaim with excitement "You made that!! We would bring home any cookies we hadn't eaten ourselves to my mom, who was getting a break from me and/or my sister that weekend. I would beam with excitement to show her my creation!
Hazel and I were so close and my heart nearly broke forever when she passed in 2009. About a month before she passed away, she stayed with me for the weekend so I could give my mom a break from taking care of her. She sat at my kitchen table and we drank coffee and chatted. I baked while she watched and asked me where I learned to do that. I reminded her that I learned a lot of it from her. At that point, Top Shelf Cookies wasn't even a hope in my heart. People who knew her often tell me that she would be so proud to see what we've put together.
But, like anything in life when you accomplish something, you want your biggest champions with you and Hazel - well, she was one of the biggest champions of me around. It's not easy growing up in a single parent household. I took my parents breakup and the resulting move was difficult on me, she made things a little easier, a taught me some fun stuff along the way.
As we work toward a home of our own, I'm glad I'll be able to get back to baking and creating more so I can open up the oven and hear her voice exclaiming "You made that!"
I hope that you will enjoy this month's Cookie of the Month - keep an eye on social mid July to help us decide on August's cookie of the month.