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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

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Cookies to Keep Us Close

My son is officially a teenager now, and the distance between us grows by the day. Truth be told, he has never been super close to me, preferring his dad, whom he has so much in common with, and being born a fiercely independent soul that’s never seemed to hesitate to do his own thing. I love everything about my son, especially his self-sufficiency and maturity, but now as the mother of a teen, it’s definitely a challenge to reconcile my responsibility to still parent him alongside his need to let me go. Conversely, it’s probably harder for him to know when he may need something versus the pull to distance himself. In other words, being a teenager and the mom of a teenager is a very confusing time because all parties feel a bit lost! 

When I feel this way about motherhood, I instinctually always turn to the constant that I know stabilizes both me and my family. For us, food is always like a lighthouse that can bring us back to shore if we’ve lost our way a bit. It is love, comfort, communion and steadiness if things seem rocky or hazy. My son may not want to tell me certain things anymore, and I may struggle with finding new ways to bond with him, but cooking and baking for him and showing my love on a plate will always be there for both of us.

I’ve made homemade chocolate chip cookies for the first day of school every year of my son’s life, and after this year’s crazy pandemic roller coaster of a school year, I felt like I was making them multiple times for every “new” schedule we had to keep up with. I’ve always joked that I’ll ship a box of my cookies to his dorm room before each new semester at college, but in all seriousness, I probably will! No matter how old my son gets, he looks forward to my “first day of school” chocolate chip cookies, and I look forward to how they demonstrate my hope and love for him no matter what. Sitting down together to share warm cookies and milk paves the way for conversation and reminds him that I’m always there to listen, just in case he may forget sometimes! So for the upcoming new school year, bake a plate of cookies for the loved ones in your life, and remember to treat yourself to a few too. Let’s face it—we all need a little comfort during this wild ride called parenthood! 

Debra’s Comforting Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons hot water
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1. Heat oven to 350 degrees

Using a stand or handheld mixer, cream together butter, sugars, eggs, and vanilla extract until smooth. Dissolve baking soda in hot water and add to batter along with salt. Slowly add flour and mix until combined. With a spatula, add chocolate chips, stirring until mixed. 

Using an ice cream scoop, meat baller, or large spoon, drop a large spoonful onto ungreased baking pans. 

Bake for about 10 minutes or until edges are slightly browned. Allow to cool before removing from pan. 

Debra Caffrey
Debra Caffrey is the writer/editor of the Education and Infant & Pregnancy e-newsletters for Fredericksburg Parent and Family. She also writes the monthly Practical Pantry column, sharing her recipes and tips on being a home cook, grocery shopping, and smart meal planning. Debra is the proud mother of an almost-teenage son. When she's not writing, cooking, or parenting, Debra enjoys working out, yoga, running, hiking, traveling, and reading.

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