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  • Mary Kay

Chewy Choc Chippers inspired by Panera Bread

There are soooooo many recipes for chocolate chip cookies, and many of us are constantly looking for a better version. Mom made so many wonderful versions, adding and subtracting extras almost every time she made them. Sometimes she added crushed potato chips or nuts, or more chocolate chips, or different flavored chips. Sometimes it depended on what she had in the kitchen cupboard. If she didn't have pecans, she would add walnuts. If was in the mood, she would add some rice crispies or crushed potato chips. All I know is that they were always delicious! I could never make a better version of her cookies, just different varieties.

Somebody who loved Mom's cookies was my niece, Elizabeth. These cookies today are for her. She loved all the extras her Grandmother added to the cookies. It was always a treat to find out what Mom had added because many times the recipe was adapted for someone special in the family. More walnuts for my oldest brother. More chocolate chips for another brother and sister. Add potato chips for me. Stir in pecans for her Mother. Make them softer and cakier for Dad. She knew her family well and what all our taste buds needed.  

I’ve never met a homemade chocolate chip cookie I don’t enjoy, and this recipe definitely does not disappoint. It’s chocked full of semi-sweet chocolate in the mini-chip form as well as finely chopped dark chocolate. Adding pecans or walnuts bring a nice crunch to the cookies, and adding the pecan or walnut extract gives the nuts more support in the flavor department.


 This recipe will make about 2 - 2 1/2 dozen cookies, depending on how large you make the cookie dough spheres.


Prep your baking pans:

Line the baking sheets with parchment paper to help with clean up and to keep the cookies from sticking to the pans.


Preheat your oven:

Set your oven to 350F degrees a few minutes before you’re ready to begin baking the cookies.


Gather up the Ingredients:

1 C Butter (2 stks), softened

½ C Shortening

1 ½ C Brown sugar

½ C Sugar

2 Eggs

1 T Vanilla extract

2 t Pecan or Walnut extract, optional

4 – 4 ½ C Flour

2 T Cornstarch

2 t Baking soda

½ t Salt

2 C Chocolate chips, mini, semi-sweet

4 oz Dark chocolate, rough chopped

1 C Pecans or walnuts, rough chopped


Make and bake:

-With an electric mixer, beat the softened butter and shortening until smooth and blended well.

-Beat in the sugars until light and fluffy.

-Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl, until well blended.

-Add the vanilla and stir well.

-Sift in 4 cups of the flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt, beating on low until well combined…just until the white from the flour disappears. If the cookie dough is very sticky, add more flour, one tablespoon at a time. The addition of the nuts may take some of the stickiness away.

-Stir in the chocolate chips, finely chopped dark chocolate and rough chopped nuts so they are evenly distributed.

-Scoop out 2 tablespoons for each cookie dough ball, using a medium scoop to create consistently sized cookies. Roll into spheres and place on the parchment paper lined baking pans.

-Flatten the cookie spheres a little on the pans so that you have thick discs.

-Bake at 350F degrees for 10-15 minutes. I check the cookies at the 8 minute mark, and to carefully rotate the pans 180 degrees. They should be done when the very edges of the cookies have turned a light golden brown.

-Take the cookies out of the oven and leave them on the pans to continue baking for another 10 minutes.

-Remove to cooling racks and enjoy!


Give the cookies your own signature extra:

-Lightly press more mini chocolate chips on top after the cookies have been baked, and while they’re still warm.

-For a caramel flavor, substitute half of the mini-chocolate chips for baking caramel bits.

-Add some butterscotch chips in place of half of the mini-chocolate chips

-For some color, add mini-M&Ms to the cookie dough. Then press a few on top of each baked cookie while they are still warm.

-Press bright multi-colored cosmic chips on top after the cookies have been baked. Add them on top while the cookies are still warm.

-Melt chocolate or white candy wafers and drizzle on top after the cookies have been baked.

-Top each cookie with a chocolate candy melt wafer while the cookies are still hot. Press a half pecan or walnut onto each melted candy wafer.

-Top each cookie with 4 chocolate candy melt wafers while the cookies are still hot. Let them melt and swirl them around to cover about half of the top of each cookie. Sprinkle the wet chocolate wafer melts with colorful cosmic chips.



-Keep them for up to 5 days in an airtight container at room temperature.

-To keep the baked cookies fresh for a longer period of time, freeze them in an airtight container for up to a month. I like to double bag them in sealable plastic bags. Some people like them straight out of the freezer, but I find the and the chocolate inside them to hard to chew, so I thaw them at room temperature for about 20 minutes. They are sooooo good when microwaved right out of the freezer for 10-20 seconds!

-Freeze the unbaked cookie dough balls in an airtight container for up to a month. I like to roll the cookie dough balls and freeze them for up to an hour on a parchment paper lined pan. Then when they are hard enough to work with, I place them in a sealable plastic bag, double bagging them, for up to a month. When I need to bake some, I pull out as many as I need and allow to thaw on a parchment paper lined pan for 20 minutes. Flatten them a little into a thick disc. Then I follow the baking time and temp (same as above) I have written on the label taped to the outside of the bag.


These are delicious cookies and mimic the Panera chocolate chip cookies fairly closely. When you add the other toppings, you can say they are truly yours to share and enjoy. However you decorate them, “Bake your own Memories!”


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