What’s more comforting than a chocolate chip cookie fresh from the oven, lovingly spatula’d onto a plate by Mom and accompanied by a cold glass of milk? How about one you made yourself? This simple recipe was handed down to me by my mother and allows lots of room for creative modification.

1/2 cup softened butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 large egg
1+1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
6 oz (half a 12 oz package) semi-sweet chocolate chips

*Makes about 24 cookies

Here’s what to do: Put the butter, which should be soft but not melted, into a medium bowl and add the granulated and brown sugar. Using a sturdy spoon, mash them together until the butter and sugar are well mixed and have a creamy texture. Stir in the vanilla, then add the egg and mix it thoroughly. Measure out the flour in a separate small bowl, and mix the baking soda into it before adding it to the egg/sugar/butter mixture. Stir until there are no more streaks of flour in the dough. Incorporate the chocolate chips into the dough.

Now for the actual baking: when you have your dough mixture, turn the oven on and set it to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Put heaping teaspoonfuls of dough onto a baking sheet, spaced at least two inches apart. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the cookies begin to turn golden around the edges. Don’t be shy about checking the oven a little early, because few things in this life are sadder than a burned batch of cookies.  Remove the cookies from the oven and use a metal spatula to transfer them to a cooling rack. Repeat this process until the dough is used up. Allow the cookies to cool before eating them, or risk burning your tongue and reducing your enjoyment of the rest of the cookies!

 Once you know this basic recipe, you can change it up by adding in half a cup of chopped walnuts, substituting white chocolate chips for half the semi-sweet chocolate chips, or using m&ms or other small candies instead of chocolate chips. Let your creativity run wild!