Church lady chocolate chip cookies. I know what you may be thinking, and you would be incorrect. But trust me, these chocolate chip cookies are worth making!
Mrs. Laverette was by far my favorite teacher at church. She was a seemingly 6 feet tall, charismatic woman with a welcoming smile, and a pile of soft red curls on top of her head that shook when she laughed. I looked forward to spending time with her each week–I was captivated by her every word. As much as I loved her laugh and bouncy hair, I really enjoyed the way she sent us off each week after class.
Mrs. Laverette dismissed us each week with a prayer, a quick hug, and a piece of candy. As a kid that didn’t live in a house where candy existed, that little Dum Dum sucker may as well be made of gold for what it was worth to me!
But for as valuable as those little suckers may have been, often times I opted to skip the confections all together because I knew that, if I hurried, something even better awaited me in the church office below. Mrs. Laverette would just laugh and give an extra squeeze to me and my classmates as we declined to accept her candy.
You see, while we children were getting all-churched-up on the second floor, our mothers were enjoying some treats of their own in the church office with Mary the Church Lady. Mary was the church secretary, but on Wednesday nights, she was known simply as Church Lady.
Each week, Church Lady would stay after work to offer a warm smile, comfortable fellowship, and a plate of fresh cookies. Perfect for the weary moms awaiting their children to finish their classes. The moms would usually bring along a crafty project to work on in peace. Peace that comes from being in the company of other women who understand the challenges and joys of their current season of life. Although Church Lady’s children were grown, she remembered the renewed vitality brought forth by a few tranquil hours of community with other women.
Tranquility that abruptly ended with the shrieks and thunderous footsteps of a gaggle of kids in search of gooey chocolate chip cookies.
Thankfully, Church Lady’s recipe made a ton of cookies, so there was always enough to share.
Now Mary insisted that her cookie recipe was nothing special–it was only the recipe from the back of the bag of Nestle Tollhouse Morsels. However, her recipe was handed down to her from her mother, making it a vintage version of the Tollhouse Cookie recipe, which has been modified on the back of the package several times over the years. She guessed that her recipe came from the 1940’s, shortly after Ruth Wakefield first published her Tollhouse Chocolate Crunch Cookie recipe in 1936.
This is largely due to the fact that butter has a lower melting point, so it melts and causes the cookies spread faster in the oven before setting. Shortening has a higher melting point, thus it retains its structure longer, allowing for the cookies to remain “puffy” and set up a bit more before melting.
Regardless of vintage or food science behind the recipe, Church Lady Chocolate Chip Cookies hold a special place in my heart. Mary’s recipe makes over 6 dozen cookies, so it’s easy to share a batch of freshly baked cookies with a crowd. However if 78 cookies is too much to handle, you can rest easy knowing that the dough freezes beautifully, so warm, gooey chocolate chip cookies can be ready as you crave them.
Church Lady Chocolate Chip Cookies are my Go-To chocolate chip cookie recipe for every pot luck, picnic, and friendly gathering.
I think Mary would be happy knowing that “her” recipe was still being shared among a community.
More delicious chocolate chip cookie recipes to try:
Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies