No hazelnuts, just named after my grandmother…..
We have a lot of new folks on the CoTM train this month and I considered doing GOATmeal for January – but what if we jinxed the Pats or something terrible happened to Tom Brady – well we couldn’t live with that.
You know who else couldn’t live with that? Hazel. Yep, that Hazel – of Hazel’s Chocolate Chip. She’s my grandmother and she’s probably the biggest reason that I make cookies, and I like to think she’s getting a kick out of me doing it as a job from her big rocking chair in the sky. At least that’s how I like to think of her.
When we launched, I didn’t know what to call our chocolate chip – I enjoy naming or getting help on our cookie names – I think it makes it a lot of fun. So, when we launched I had a friend who works in marketing who I used to work with helping me out. When she sent it over and I opened it, I cried a lot. Hazel had been gone for 6 years now, but everyone that knew me knew how much of an impact she had on my life. During the time I had worked with my friend, it was the Red Sox 2004 run, and I had been talking to Hazel daily and usually post game. I was the only 28-year-old ducking out of the bar when everyone was yelling and high fiving to call her grandmother. My friend said it just seemed fitting that a cookie should be named after her when I launched my company.
They tell you in marketing that you shouldn’t name a product after a person, because the buyer has no connection to that person and it won’t mean anything to them. Yeah, that might be true – but you know what? I don’t care. We get the double whammy because I didn’t even think about hazelnuts.
As long as I live, I don’t think I’ll run across anyone in my life that makes me feel as loved as Hazel did. She was my mom’s mom. She LOVED being a grandmother. She spent a lot of time with me and we always were doing something. My parents split when I was young, so a lot of people stepped in to support my mom and give me a little extra love. Hazel would take me away for the weekend a lot, I used to think it’s because she just liked spending time with me – but when you get older and get a better perspective, you realize it was more. She was able to give her daughter a break and help out. She was at my house all the time after school too.
She and I would make chocolate chip cookies almost every weekend I would stay with her. We would have dinner on Friday night, we would take the butter out of the fridge and we would leave it out for baking the next day. We would have breakfast and then we would get baking. She didn’t have a special recipe of her own, it was just the back of the bag favorite. But, she would let me mess up the kitchen and I learned a lot. I ate a lot of raw dough and more often than not the dough would be short some chips. Hazel used to pull some out of the bag for me to eat so I would leave SOME for the dough.
The biggest thing I remember is when we would open the oven and she would exclaim – “you made those” and when we would bring them home to my mom, Hazel would make such a big deal that I made the cookies and that they were good.
As I said, it’s not her recipe. In fact, I crack up because I know she would think our recipe is too fussy and takes too long. But, I also know this – she would love this chocolate chip cookie. We use our signature brown butter dough and we add a really nice dark chocolate callet to it. This just means there’s more surface area of chocolate for the chips. Which, if you are like me – it’s important. I put our chocolate chip cookie up there with anyone else. We take the time to just make it as delicious as possible and I think we do a good job.
When we do events, we get asked a lot of questions. One of them is “Are you Hazel?” and I get to smile and then reply “I’m Hazel’s granddaughter” and I’m happy for the rest of the day.
So, with new folks on board, I thought it’s a good way to start off the new year with one of our year-round favorites.
I hope you enjoy this month’s cookie of the month, it’s available year round! Maybe sometime soon we’ll be in a place we can serve them to you all right out of the oven!