Butterscotch (or Vanilla) Pudding Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate chip cookies will forever remind me of the little finger on my left hand and vice versa.  I was a rather rambunctious child and was pretty good at working in stealth mode when my mom was otherwise engaged (aka pretty much when her back was turned).  Thank heavens I outgrew that stealth mode thing.  However, I had some “life lessons” which helped me to learn that stealth isn’t always a healthy skill.

One day when I was 2 or 3 years old my mother was baking chocolate chip cookies.  She would always save a little bit of the cookie dough for me to eat and I loved it.  It was not uncommon for me to try to sneak a little more dough when mom wasn’t looking, but one day I out-smarted myself.  I was standing on my tip toes on a little stool trying to reach into the olive green bowl of chocolate chip cookie dough.  The stool slipped and I lost my balance.  As I was falling I somehow managed to  drag the ceramic bowl of dough off of the counter with me.  The bowl hit the floor first and I fell on top of it.  Of course the bowl had  broken and of course I got injured on the ceramic shards.  My left little finger was severely lacerated in several places.

Mom rushed me to the hospital and the doctors started working to save the finger.  They were able to piece the parts back together, but told mom that I could still lose part of my finger.  All turned out well, but I was left with a funky looking little finger, which somehow always got noticed by other kids when I was growing up.  I got ooo’s and ahhh’s over the scars and the story that went with them.

Fast forward many years later when, as a health care professional, I needed to register my finger prints.  My prints were initially rejected because my little finger print turned out ‘blurry’.  So, I had to go back down to the police station to get re-fingerprinted. I’m just not sure what to say about the man who kept taking the print of that little finger over and over, trying to get a different outcome.  “A normal fingerprint for that finger doesn’t exist anymore,” I kept telling him.  “The finger has a lot of scars from being cut when I was little.  My finger has looked this way since I was 3.”  The man just kept staring at me as if I was a sneaky little criminal who had deliberately altered a fingerprint.  He kept inking, pressing, and rolling that little finger as if he could force a normal print out of it.  “Well,” he finally said, “I just can’t get a decent print.  I’ll mark it on the fingerprint card and say that this is the way your finger looks.”

Okay.  Glad we got that all straightened out.  I now have government acceptance of having a deformed fingerprint on the fifth finger of my left hand.  I’m so relieved.

All of that because of chocolate chip cookies. Top my story, I dare you. Wanna know the recipe my mom was using for those now infamous chocolate chips cookies? Why, the original Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe, of course. She was a woman of her time. Since the Toll House recipe first appeared, it has been the recipe to beat. Everyone thinks they have the answer. I’ve tried a fair number of recipes myself in my lifetime.

In the above paragraph I made the statement “top my story, I dare you”. Well, in an eery, twilight zone-ish twist of events, as I was preparing to publish this post, I got a call at midnight from my son in-law. He was calling to ask for assistance and moral support because my daughter (his wife) had just called from work to tell him that she had severed her little finger…on her left hand. Tricia is a chef and is working on the Mist Project. She was passing through a set of heavy metal doors and the doors closed on her little finger, severing it just above the first joint. She had surgery on the finger this afternoon, 1/24/2012. The severed portion was not salvageable, but through some miracle the doctor has managed to perform surgery in such a way that Tricia’s finger may only end up being about 1/4-inch shorter than it was prior to the accident. Last night the ER doctor had harvested the fingernail bed and sent it home with Tricia so that the surgeon today could perhaps reattach it.

Sorry if all of this makes some of you ill. I needed to write this because it is important to my family–it is a part of the happenings in our lives. I had written most of this post last week, reflecting on an event in my own life–my own finger injury. I had tried to get this post published last Friday, but there were some glitches in making the cookies and I couldn’t get things posted. Maybe God had planted the idea in my mind to do a post about my little finger and needed for me to wait until now, until a time when my daughter needed me to write about her, too. Today when I was at Tricia’s house trying to help her a little bit, we talked about her finger and we talked about chocolate chip cookies and some interesting things that I had learned about the original Toll House cookie dough. It was a mother/daughter time, a nurse/wounded person time, a food blogger/chef time, a much needed time.

I love you, Trishy. Everything is going to be okay…

For your chocolate chip cookie education, I’d like to refer you to this very interesting article from the New York Times, published on July 9, 2008. You might also enjoy reading this blog post from Rachel of Fuji Mama regarding the original Toll House recipe, but using half the butter of the original recipe.

For an excellent tutorial on making cookies including ‘what’s wrong with my cookies’, see this post at The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie.

The recipe that I am giving you is based on the Toll House recipe, with a few changes. Back in the early 90’s a popular rumor was that Debbie Field of “Mrs. Field’s Cookies” used pudding as the secret ingredient in her cookies. All of us moms  used the Toll House recipe and started throwing in a box of instant pudding into our cookies. We also learned that a mixture of 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 cup shortening gave us great cookie results. I’m pretty sure that Mrs. Fields still had us beat, hands down, but the humble chocolate chip cookie baked right in our own homes was elevated to gourmet status, as far as our families were concerned.

Butterscotch (or Vanilla) Pudding Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yield: Makes 3 1/2-4 dozen cookies

Recipe slightly adapted @ that's some good cookin'


  • 1/2 cup real butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup shortening (I used butter flavor Crisco)
  • 3/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 small box (3.4 ounce) instant pudding, butterscotch or vanilla flavored (photos feature butterscotch flavored cookies)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (spoon flour into measuring cup, then level off with a straight edge knife)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups chocolate chips or carob chips (semi-sweet recommended)
  • 1 cup chopped pecans


  1. Preheat oven to 375-degrees.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter, shortening, white sugar, and brown sugar until very light and fluffy (about 5 minutes).
  4. Add eggs and continue to beat for about 3 minutes.
  5. Add pudding powder and vanilla. Beat until well incorporated.
  6. Stir in the flour mixture just until incorporated. Don't beat because the quality of the cookies will be compromised.
  7. Stir in chocolate chips just until evenly distributed.
  8. Add pecans (if using) and stir just until evenly distributed.
  9. Drop dough by tablespoonsful onto ungreased baking sheets. I use parchment paper to line my cookie pans.
  10. Place in oven and bake for 9-11 minutes just until the cookies barely get a hint of tan on the edges.
  11. Remove from oven and allow to cool on the pan for 2 minutes. Remove cookies from pan and place on a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.
  12. Make sure, however, that you eat one or two cookies while they still have a hint of warm. It's just good cookie etiquette


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  1. says

    Oh my gosh, I can barely think about the cookies after reading your post! I got goose bumps just reading about your daughter and the strange twist of fate that left you both with identical injuries. Hope she is healing well and that her fingernail can be saved too.

    Now I need a cookie!!!

  2. says

    Oh dear!! I am sorry about the fingers but i loved the post…what a twist the update added. Poor Trishy…I love that you called her Trishy… such a mom thing to have sweet name for her sweet girl. Owie to both of you. I hope she heals well and that she soaks up the pampering for a few days. and ANOTHER recipe from you to add to my list for the weekend! Thanks Terri! Are you an American Idol watcher?

  3. says

    Susan–Thank you. The next week is critical. The doctor told Tricia that there is a very high probability of infection as well as a high probability that the fingernail graft will fail and that more of the finger will have to be removed. So, we’ll pray a lot and keep the antibiotics going. Funny about those cookies, though. I was thinking about Tricia this morning and polished off six of them before I MADE myself stop! They are actually quite a comforting little cookie. 🙂

    Marlarae–Welcome! Nice to have you here. Thanks for the sympathy about my daughter’s finger. To answer your question about American Idol, I used to watch it faithfully, but have not followed it for the past two seasons. My favorite part of the show was learning about the performer’s backgrounds–some of them had overcome so many obstacles in their lives. What prompted your question?

  4. says

    No real reason for the question other than I had just set my dvr to record it so my hubby and I could watch it together when he got home from a meeting. We enjoy the music reality shows…sort of meaningless entertainment but we like the time together! 🙂 Have a great day!

  5. says

    Marlarae–My husband and I do the same thing with certain TV shows. It’s sort of a “date” for us. Have you ever watched “So You Think You Can Dance”? It starts up after Idol finishes its season. The whole family is pretty much addicted to that one. Last year my husband bought surprised my daughters and I with tickets to one of the traveling performances here in Salt Lake. Ohhhhhh…it was so amazing!!!!!!

  6. says

    Those cookies look so inviting! I have a similar recipe, but I think I’ll try yours next time…like this weekend…or maybe I’ll get the ingredients out NOW. Nothing beats a vanilla pudding chocolate chip cookie!Yum!

    Hope all is well with the finger situation and your daughter is having some success with the antibiotics and graft. Thinking about knifing a finger gives me the chills.

  7. says

    You, your daughter and your family are in my prayers. What a horrible accident, it is always interesting to see where God has lead us at the end of the day. These have to be very special cookies which I intend to try. Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  8. says

    Aw, thanks mom! I seriously appreciate EVERYTHING you have done for my family and me during this time. I love you and your delicious cookies, but you more than the cookies.

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