Focus in on the delights of the kitchen and the table with ...


My friend Jill O’Connor knows a thing or two or three about baking, desserts and sweet treats. As a pastry chef, she knows the why and how, and she brings her professional expertise into the home kitchen. She’s also a mom, a newspaper food columnist and a cookbook author, all of which add generous dollops of down-to-earth perspective to the recipes and food stories she creates for her readers, family, and friends.

This past weekend I visited Jill at her beautiful home in San Diego, where she welcomed me with guacamole, chipotle shrimp, tiny spicy beef tacos with pickled onions, and much more. Everything dazzled me and I ate and ate, as though I had walked all the way from North Carolina, which is to say, with vigor and delight. Then came dessert.Image

I had heard of Jill’s famous chocolate chip cookies, but had never actually partaken of their essence in real life. Now I have. They were spectacular. They were magnificent. They were luscious, charming, and irresistible. Generous and amazing, just like Jill O’Connor herself. To my credit, I brought home two cookies each to my husband and daughter, and did not consume them en route, mostly because I had Jill help me triple wrap them and bury them deep in my excessively large and uber-full suitcase. They were very pleased. If you make them, I predict that you, too, will be very pleased.

These cookies come from one of Jill’s many cookbooks, Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey Treats for KidsIt is inexplicably and unfortunately out of print, but you may be lucky enough to find a copy in the Used Books marketplace, such as HERE. You can also purchase this treasure as an e-book, right HERE for Kindle, or HERE for Nook, or HERE for KOBO. Then you can enjoy its wonders on your tablet device, e-reader, or on your laptop or desktop computer.


Jill O’Connor’s Hunka Chunka Chocolate Chip Cookies

Starting the batter with melted butter makes these cookies chewy and dense. Refrigerating the dough overnight improves the texture and highlights the butterscotch flavor in these chocolate chip cookies. Use a 2-ounce self-releasing ice cream scoop, if you have one, to portion out the dough.

Makes 18 to 22 cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted

1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

3 cups semisweet chocolate chips

In a large bowl, stir together the melted butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar. Add the eggs and egg yolk, vanilla and salt. Stir to combine. Sift the flour and baking soda into the batter and stir just until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 12 hours and up to 24 hours. (Alternately portion out the cookie dough by level ¼ cups onto a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet. Cover tightly in a double layer of plastic wrap before refrigerating.)

Remove cookie dough from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature before baking. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and preheat oven to 350 degrees. If you haven’t done so already, use a 2-ounce self-releasing ice cream scoop or ¼-cup measuring cup to portion out the cookie dough.

Arrange the cookies at least 2 inches apart to allow for spreading. Bake on the center rack of the oven until the cookies are crisp and golden brown around the edges yet slightly soft in the center, 15 to 17 minutes. Allow cookies to cool slightly on the pan before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Flavor variations: Instead of semisweet chocolate chips alone, try:

•1 cup chopped walnuts plus 1 cup dried sour cherries and 11/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

•2 cups milk chocolate chips plus 11/2 cups chopped pecans

•1 1/2 cups chopped dried apricot plus 11/2 cups coarsely chopped raw almonds

If you love sweets, treats, and baking, you will adore Jill’s bestselling book, Sticky Chewy Messy Gooey: Desserts for the Serious Sweet Tooth, which is in very much in print and selling like incredibly delicious chocolate chip cookies, all across the country and around the world.

jill sticky chewy

Check you local independent bookstore, which will either have it on hand or be able to get it for you speedy quick. Or check with IndieBound HERE, or also HERE and HERE.

And for the last word on cookies from Jill, check out her cookie-centric feature story from her monthly column in the San Diego Union-Tribune Newspaper, U-T San Diego, in which she shares this recipe and others and gives the complete and clear #411 on making super wonderful drop cookies in your home kitchen. For that, click this link:

“Delightful Dollops: There’s an Art to Perfecting the Ultimate Drop Cookie”

About the Author
Nancie McDermott is a food writer and cooking teacher, and the author of ten cookbooks. Her passion is researching and celebrating traditional food in its cultural context, and her beloved subjects are two seemingly different places with much in common: the cuisines of Asia and of the American South. Nancie gained her Southern kitchen wisdom as a Piedmont North Carolina native,and her Asian culinary research commenced soon after college, when she was sent to northeastern Thailand as a Peace Corps volunteer.
  1. Sally Reply

    Mmmmm, from the master herself. I am definitely making these!! Glad you had time with Jill! how fun.

    • Nancie McDermott Reply

      Fun is exactly the word. May we all be together cooking and eating and talking and having a grand time with no deadline on the fun, one of these next days…

  2. Belinda Smith-Sullivan Reply

    Nancy, I am ahead of you on this one. I send these cookies monthly, to my husband in Afghanistan and they a huge hit with the military!!

  3. sippitysup Reply

    Thanks for proving that Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey Treats aren’t just for kids! GREG

  4. Janice Reply

    Best chocolate chip cookies out there! By far! And this is from a die hard Toll house cookie maker! She trumps those with ease and I am constantly making these for my girls.. AND all their friends! lol You will never go back. Thank you Jill!

    • Nancie McDermott Reply

      Isn’t Jill the BEST? She knows her stuff and shares it so beautifully and clearly and generously with the world. I am going to let her know about this kind and sweet comment. She will be delighted. Sorry so slow to repond to your lovely comment.

  5. David J pagano Reply

    These are wonderful (spectacular right out of the oven). Thanks Jill…and thanks Nancie for sharing these terrific finds with us.

    • Nancie McDermott Reply

      Thank you for the commentary, David J. Pagano. I will let Jill know how pleased you are, and also I will make a batch — it’s been too long since I made these last! Holiday season is perfect time to be in possession of abundance of superb cookies a la Jill, for sharing and for devouring at home. Happy Baking!

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