[Photographs: Rosco Weber]

My husband was a very enterprising child. He grew up in Long Island and, like any good New York Area resident, practically sprung from the womb understanding the street value of a bagel. At school, he'd make leveraged trades, exchanging them for combinations of gourmet sandwiches, cookies, and premium sodas.

I, too, often had a lunchbag filled with enviable treats because my mother let me pick out my own snacks at the grocery store. For a while I asked her to buy Mint Milanos because they traded at a 1:3 cookie ratio, but eventually I gave up; Mint Milanos seemed to get extra cold in the school's commercial fridges and if I ended up without a good replacement, I was sorely disappointed.

Another factor was the introduction of Soft Batch cookies. Oh, how I hated hard, cold, brittle cookies. After a long morning of Green Eggs and Ham all I wanted was a soft, warm cookie. With Soft Batch, I could finally get the soft part, and if the teacher on lunch duty was especially nice, they'd microwave them for me too. In my mind, chocolate chip cookies are meant to be soft—even if, as in the case of Soft Batch, soft means bendy, and there's an added artificial vanilla twang.


A few years ago our treat-replica specialist Bravetart made Mock Soft Batch cookies which had the taste and feel of the original Chips Ahoy product. But she also made a recipe for Better Batches, which maintained the original layered, pliable texture of a Soft Batch but upgraded the flavor to something closer to a true homemade chocolate chip cookie. The unexpected ingredients are cold cream, dark corn syrup, and Frangelico, but don't be dissuaded by the slightly unorthodox cookie recipe. They're a fun project that leave you with a cookie that's laced with nostalgia and actually tastes good.


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