Episode 4: Chocolate Chunk Walnut Cookies

My whole family has had the flu, to varying degrees, over the past week. We even had to rush one person to the ER for dehydration…. (They aren’t kidding when they say to drink lots of fluids when you are sick, kids, so pay attention and drink up!) ….Ok, just so you don’t think I’m a bad mom, it was my husband. Does that make me a bad wife? Perhaps, but I would have thought that he would have remembered to drink something. Unfortunately, the flu kind of makes your brain foggy and so things like staying in bed for eighteen hours, sweating a fever and chills off with the electric blanket on high, make sense to you — at the time. And then you find yourself in your wife’s arms on the kitchen floor (and thank goodness I’d come home for a quick pitstop in the middle of a busy day and was in just the right place to catch him when he blacked out!).

The kids lucked out and had less severe symptoms than either of us grown-up people. Perhaps the juvenile flu shots were more effective than the adult ones this year? That, and the miracle of nursing: momma’s milk contains antibodies from her own immune system, and that’s probably why the baby was the least sick of any of us. As for the older fellow, we’ll just be thankful he seems to have finally completely recovered from the Lyme Disease he had four years ago, as that interfered with his immune system and both of the previous times he’s had the flu his fever spiked at 106.5°F — trust me, that’s enough to chill any parent’s heart to the core.

Anyway, apparently when I’m that sick, I crave high-energy, high-fat foods. I was seriously after anything we had that fit those requirements, and that’s not an awful lot at the moment. This, for some reason, meant that I found myself in the kitchen baking a batch of cookies when my fever was up to 103.7°F … oh, wait, the reason was that when you’re dairy and soy intolerant you can’t just send a healthier member of the family off to the grocery store and tell them to get you cookies. Right. So there I was, baking, and the cookies disappeared in a day, so then I baked more. That second batch is fast on its way to disappearing, too, so I must not be the only person who thinks they’re pretty good. They’ve got a nice crispy shell and a soft, chewy center, and this is how I did it:


  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (I’m using a half and half mix of unbleached all purpose flour and whole wheat white flour at the moment.)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup shortening (For a non-dairy, non-soy cookie I used Spectrum Organic All Vegetable Butter Flavor Shortening.)
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (You already know my views on vanillin, so don’t go there.)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups chocolate chunks (Keeping in mind the non-dairy, non-soy requirements of my family, I used a package of Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mega Chunks. Yes, the package comes out to about two cups.)
  • 2 cups walnuts (You can chop these if you want, but I did not take the extra time to do so and the cookies turned out fine.)


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Mix the flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Soften the shortening in the microwave, about 20-30 second should do it but keep in mind that every microwave is different.
  4. In a large bowl, cream shortening, water, vanilla, and both sugars.
  5. Add eggs to shortening mixture and mix well.
  6. Add in flour mixture in 2-3 sections, mixing well after each section.
  7. Stir in chocolate chunks and walnuts.
  8. Drop onto cookie sheet by rounded tablespoon-fulls and bake for 8-10 minutes or until cookies begin to brown.
  9. Cool on cookie sheet for two minutes, then remove to wire rack to finish cooling.

And this is the chewy, chocolatey deliciousness you wind up with:

Chocolate Chunk Walnut Cookies

Chocolate Chunk Walnut Cookies, fresh from the oven!

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4 Responses to Episode 4: Chocolate Chunk Walnut Cookies

  1. J B T says:

    save some for us!

  2. Janeal says:

    Hey there, where do you get Spectrum Organic All Vegetable Butter Flavor Shortening? For my bar cookies I used Coconut Spread, but shortening would maybe have come out better.

    • You can find the plain (non-butter flavored) Spectrum shortening at Fred Meyers in the baking section of the healthfoods area, or you can find both the plain and butter flavored versions at the actual healthfoods stores (or you should be able to). Though, if you are not avoiding soy, you might be able to just use Crisco or whatever shortening you normally use (just be sure to pay attention to the dough; you normally have to add about 1Tbsp water per 1/2c shortening when substituting for butter).

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