Celebrating National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day! by Catherine Lanigan & Rula Sinara

Photo credit Morguefile.com mconnors

CATHERINE: It’s about time we had something truly fun to celebrate! And the fact that it’s chocolate, makes it even better. As some of you know every Christmas I bake around a thousand cookies to send to friends, family and to donate. Seldom do I eat more than one or two for the simple reason that by the time I bake all these cookies, the smell of sugar and butter does send me screaming to the living room to inhale the pungent pine tree aroma. This Christmas may not be quite as bad since I have new diet restrictions and can’t even lick the beaters unless I go gluten and dairy free. Hard to do with cookies, right? But that’s another story.

Here's a better story. In the mid-1930’s my Grandmother, Ethel, a very good baker, entered all kinds of local bake-off contests in Northwestern Florida. She was well known for her cakes, but one year, and sadly I don’t know the date, she entered a chocolate chip cookie recipe in a local Pillsbury sponsored contest and won! She called the cookies, RANCH COOKIES. This has been a family favorite for years and it’s my joy and pleasure to share the recipe with you.

Catherine's Grandma Ethel's Ranch Cookies

1  cup butter

1 cup light brown sugar

1 cup white sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon soda

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

2 cups Oatmeal

1 cup Chocolate Chips

1 cup nuts

Cream the butter and sugar till light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla. Add the dry sifted flour, soda, salt and baking powder. Add the oatmeal. Fold in the chocolate chips and nuts.

Drop by spoonfuls onto parchment paper covered cookie sheets and bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until the center is baked.

For 30 years, I thought I had the best Chocolate Chip cookie recipe ever. I hosted Christmas cookie exchanges and found all kinds of other recipes. Unfortunately, the one I loved the best was made with lard. So unhealthy. Then along came Mrs. Fields cookies.

My son was nine years old and mowed the lawn for a lady down the street. Her sister worked in the Becky Fields kitchens in Texas and got her hands on the recipe. This recipe makes a LOT of dough. But from 1985, here it is. 

Mrs. Fields from 1985

1 pound butter

2 cups dark brown sugar

1 ½ cups white sugar

3 large eggs well beaten

2 T. Vanilla

6 cups flower

1 ½ teaspoons salt

1 ½ t. baking soda

2 cups nuts

2 12 oz bags of Nestle’s Chocolate Chips.

Cream the butter, sugars and vanilla until light. Add the eggs. Add the sifted dry ingredients. Fold in the chips and nuts.

Onto parchment lined cookie sheets, drop the dough by golfball size dollops. I use a small ice cream scoop. Bake in 325-350 oven depending on the oven for 8-12 minutes.

Cool on paper for 5 minutes.

These cookies are bigger and of course, the variations are immense. Raisins, walnuts, chopped dates. Chopped dried apricots and craisins are all fabulous with those chocolate chips!

And Rula has the healthy recipe I’ll be using in my future!! 

Photo credit morguefile.com mconnors

RULA: Well, I’m not sure I can call it healthy, since I use butter in it, but my recipe is gluten free. I will say that I buy organic butter from pasture raised/grass fed cows, which is supposed to be much healthier in terms of vitamin A, K2, beta carotene content and proportions of healthier omega-3 fatty acids. Does that count? Now, we were also dairy free once upon a time and back then I used Earth Balance buttery spread instead of butter, in case anyone needs a substitute.

That said, as many of you know we are a celiac household, so I’ve gotten used to using gluten free flours. Personally, I hate the bean-based ones and they just don’t taste right (same goes for bean-based pasta). I love eating beans and we use a lot of bean varieties at home, but when it comes to baking, I stick to the gluten free grain-based flours (rice, quinoa, amaranth, sorghum etc…). I’ve found that rice-based flours work best in terms of taste. I’m also particular about brand names because, depending on how much xanthan gum or other binders they use in the mix, they impact how the recipe turns out. Anyway, here’s my recipe: 

Rula's Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

In a mixing bowl add:

2 ½ cups Bob’s Red Mill gluten free 1:1 baking flour

1 cup dark brown sugar

½ cup granulated sugar

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ tsp cinnamon (optional)

Mix the dry ingredients with a whisk then add…

1 cup (equals 2 sticks) melted unsalted butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 large eggs

1 cup gluten free chocolate chips (I use the Enjoy Life brand)

(Note that adding chopped pecans is optional…I love them but my kids prefer these without nuts)

Mix well then drop teaspoon amounts on a cookie sheet spaced about 1-2 inches apart. Bake at 350 F for 15 min or until they start to brown. The browner the crispier so sometimes I leave them a minute longer because I like the edges crispy.

Happy National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day! For more background on the day I found this link at HolidayInsights.com. Do you have a favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe? Feel free to share!


Catherine & Rula


Coming January 2021: Second Chance Christmas (book 3, Turtleback Beach by Rula Sinara)

Out now:

Caught by the Sheriff
(Turtleback Beach Book 2)
March 2020

If she follows her heart…

Will he follow the law?

Turtleback Beach, North Carolina, would be paradise—if Faye Donovan wasn’t on the run. With her sister’s life in danger and her small niece to protect, Faye tries to avoid handsome town sheriff Carlos Ryker. But Carlos offers her a refuge, and Faye feels she’s finally found home. And yet he’s still the sheriff. Can she trust him with the truth…even if it means risking everything?

Home for Christmas
(Shores of Indian Lake Book 12)
Nov 2019

Can a magical Christmas under glass…

…bring them back together for good?

Widowed dad Adam Masterson still doesn’t understand why Joy Boston left Indian Lake and broke his heart all those years ago. Now she’s returned to sell her grandfather’s beloved poinsettia greenhouse—and Joy and Adam’s connection is as strong as ever. But Joy has a life in New York. And Adam has only until Christmas to convince Joy that she belongs in Indian Lake—with him.


  1. I love that there's a National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day and thanks so much for these recipes, ladies! Since it's raining here today...and will be all day..I think I'll check out the pantry for ingredients. Not that I need an excuse to make cookies. :)

    1. Janice, I live along the mid-Atlantic, so it rained all night and will continue through noon, at least, today. This hurricane looks impressive on radar. But, yes, it feels like the perfect day to bake cookies! Hope you find the ingredients lol!

  2. Thanks for the wonderful recipes! I'll eat a cookie today and think of both of you!

  3. We've cut out most sugars these days, but I have, back in a box in Canada, the Mrs. Fields cookie book. I used to make those recipes all the time. The sugar cookies are so simple and so wonderfully buttery. There were also chocolate pecan tartlets in the last section of the book, and if you give me chocolate and pecan, I'm yours. Till the sweets run out...

    1. Oh, those chocolate pecan tartlets sound soooo good! I wouldn't be able to stop at just one. I try to keep sugar to a minimum but that means not leaving desserts out because I have no willpower lol.

  4. A thousand cookies, Catherine?? Wow, that is so impressive. Thanks, ladies, for these excellent-sounding recipes. My husband has to eat gluten-free so I will definitely try Rula's recipe for him. I like Bob's Red Mill flour too. I think things made with that taste great. As for me, maybe a treat with Catherine's cookies! Love this uplifting post.

    1. Hope he likes the cookies, Leigh! Yeah, Bob's Red Mill is my favorite go-to brand for gluten free flours. I have some recipes where I mix their white rice flour with their tapioca starch and that's what I did (at a ratio of 2c rice fl to 1/2 c tapioca starch) before they came out with their 1:1 flour.

      And aren't Catherine's recipes so cool? I love that she has a family history behind them and they were passed down.

  5. Cookies are one of my favorite snacks! And chocolate chip cookies might be my favorite type of cookies. I loved reading about Catherine's family's recipes. That is so special. I have my grandmother's apple pie recipe. My husband, who worked yesterday and Sunday, was off today and made chocolate chip cookies from the recipe on the back of the Ghiradelli chocolate chip bag. The best part was while I was writing, he came over and dropped some chocolate chips near me. My family loves the Mrs. Fields' Best Cookie Cookbook. That is our go-to book for cookie recipes and other desserts (especially the chocolate chip cheesecake recipe). Well, it's time for me to go on a walk so I can have a chocolate chip cookie tonight. This post was so much fun! Thank you, Rula and Catherine!!

    1. Tanya, that's so sweet of your husband!! I hope you enjoyed your cookie walk last night! :)

  6. I looooove chocolate chip cookies, so I'll have to try your recipes. I'm also partial to peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. It took me years to develop a recipe that wasn't too sweet and peanut-buttery enough.

    1. Oh, peanut butter chocolate chip sounds delicious! I'll have to try that!

    2. The mini chocolate chips are well worth the investment--much easier to fork the cookies with them, instead of the regular size.

  7. Catherine and Rula, today you two ladies are killing me! I'm trying to eat healthy but chocolate chip cookies are my absolute favorite. I must try your new recipes! I don't really like cake (I know, I know) so I always eat a giant plate of homemade chocolate chip cookies every year on my birthday, lit candles pressed on top of the stack. Nestle Tollhouse's recipe is my go-to but your recipes sound fabulous. They might make it into my baking rotation:-)

    1. I'd save myself a lot of calories if I didn't like cake lol. I've done the giant chocolate chip cookie 'cake' once for a birthday, where I just spread the entire cookie batter into one giant cookie! Hope you enjoy the recipes :).


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