Chocolate chip cookies - no mixer

Looking for some help or at least better memories than mine.

Early in May I need to make chocolate chip cookies in somewhat spartan conditions. I haven’t made cookies without a stand mixer in 40 years.

For those of you easily entertained here is the back story. I am, among other things, a yacht delivery skipper. I’m moving a boat from Ft Lauderdale FL to Norfolk VA. On the heels of that I am speaking at an event in Norfolk. I need multiple hostess gifts for boat open houses. Store bought is not okay with me. No time to go home between, and no access to a full kitchen. I’ll be baking cookies on the boat. Space in the fridge is tight so I can’t make dough ahead and it is a six day trip anyway.

I have to make the dough with all hand tools (and not so many of those grin). I’m not stressed about the baking - I’ve “made” cookie sheets and even cooling racks from folded aluminum foil before.

I know people made cookies for centuries before electric appliances. I just need some reminders for what works for mixing, especially creaming the butter into the dry ingredients.

a big heavy duty wooden spoon, my preference would be one with a small-medium sized “spoon” the ones with very wide spoons proportionally to their handle are harder to use for mixing thick doughs. Otherwise you should be fine, the butter is softened so it isn’t that tough to get it all done.

Easy. Do as my aunt always did, and use your hands. Just make sure, as Julia Child always said, that you have impeccably clean hands.:slight_smile:

Warm chocolate chip cookies on a yacht - hoo boy!


sigh I should have started with MtAoFC.

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Maybe stick a wooden spoon or whisk into the end of an electric hand drill?

Could you make the dough ahead of time, freeze it hard, and keep in a cooler? Pull out a chub as they soften?

I’ve made many batches of chocolate chip cookies using nothing but wooden spoon and elbow grease. They have always turned out delicious for me.


My MIL is a die hard “mix by hand” (and I mean fingers - not by hand with a spoon) for her shortbread cookies and they turn out great. I didn’t think about that for chocolate chip cookies but since the butter is softened it should work fine too - not tool needed. But I have HOT hands so a spoon is best for me when it comes to butter based things (though that is more for crusts, so maybe I should try with cookies).

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Thimes, until I got arthritis in my thumbs, I made pie dough and cookies by hand. I liked to know the ‘texture’.

Now I used a food processor. Quick and painless.

If you have an immersion blender i’ve used that for creaming before- not ideal but it worked.
Otherwise just a good spoon and some elbow grease!

I used to use a wooden spoon but after getting this “granny fork”, I’ve switched. There’s a curve to the handle that doesn’t show in the pic. It makes the fork more ergonomic than a wooden spoon, not to mention that I have broken the latter on thick batters. I happen to prefer thin, crisp CC cookies with soft centers, so I use melted butter. It’s also easier than creaming butter with sugar for several minutes.

you can buy an electric hand mixer for like $15. you don’t one that will last forever. but honestly? i’d make something like brownies or blondies that don’t need that much work.

Kudos to deedee and those like her who pointed to old world techniques.

I did a trial run today. This is my experience.

The big fork clogged up and was wearisome. The wooden spoon worked okay but was a lot of effort and creaked alarmingly. Just digging in with my fingers (I used one hand) was the answer for me. It was fast, It was effective. I could feel the small lumps of butter and cream them better into the sugar by squeezing them.

So that is the answer for me. Hands. Just like making bread. grin

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I’ve made this recipe with just a wooden spoon and a bowl. I love them because they turn out great, and you don’t have to wait for butter to soften. It calls for melting the butter in the microwave first. If you don’t have a microwave, I’m sure you could melt it another way then let it cool in the bowl a bit. In fact, I don’t let my butter cool very much before adding the sugars, which I mix in vigorously until it looks like a paste. It also calls for nonfat milk powder, which I imagine makes it more boat-friendly than fresh milk. I usually prefer cookies that are almost as crispy as tuiles, but this recipe won me over because it’s chewy in the middle with crispy edges, making them a crowd-pleaser.

Changes I made to the recipe…
Reduced the amount of chocolate chips (to 8 ounces instead of 12) because I want to taste the delicious cookie as well as the chocolate.
I scooped them into smaller portions (about 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons per cookie) which bakes more quickly and feeds more people.
Sometimes, especially on humid days, I worry about lumps in my dry ingredients, so I push the dry ingredients through a metal strainer with a spoon before adding them to the wet. If you want to keep it to a one-bowl recipe, you could probably just sift them directly into your bowl full of the wet. However, when I sift, I sift three times, so I use a plate, wax paper, parchment, etc., to hold the dry between sifts before mixing them into the wet.

Two large bowls, one for dry and one for wet ingredients.
One small bowl for eggs.
A knife to chop chocolate and nuts.
Cutting board
Measuring spoons and cups.
Two cookie sheets and a cooling rack
A large, stiff spoon with a comfortable handle
Something to store baked cookies
Paper towels for cleanup
Two forks or a wisk
Cookie scoop or spoon to drop dough

soften your butter, soft…not melted, it will make mixing easier

In the wet bowl, mix the sugars, salt, butter and vanilla

Mix dry ingredients in second bowl

Cut up nuts and chocolate (or use chips)

Crack eggs, one at a time in little bowl, scramble, then add to wet mixture. One at a time in case you have a bad egg, you don’t contaminate the entire batch.

I mix the butter/sugars first so they sit a while and the sugars have more time to dissolve.

Mix wet and dry ingredients. Add chocolate and nuts. If dry add a tablespoon of milk.

Use an appropriately sized ice cream scoop or a good spoon and drop your cookies to your sheet.

I’ve only made cookies with appliances twice. I always make them by hand and this works for me. Just modify the TollHouse recipe to your taste. It’s a good base. I alter the sugar/butter ratio.

Have fun.

Hi Rebbeca,

Thank you for your thoughts. Softening butter isn’t a problem as it will be out on the counter the whole trip up the US Eastern Seaboard. grin

Lots of long-term cruising boaters do use powdered milk. I use UHT milk (like Parmalot and Mini-Moos) which is shelf stable until opened. A brilliant solution for those with limited refrigeration space.

I appreciate that you actually read my whole post and thought about it.

I’ll try to remember to take pictures of the floating cookie “factory.”

best, dave

I like to do things by hand every now and then for fun and to make sure I don’t forget what it’s supposed to feel like. I use a whisk to make cookies with softened butter (sometimes half-melted depending on cookie). I use hands every now and then, again just because. The cookies come out a bit scone-ish when I use my hands but people really seem to like that (it bothers me, though.) I’m an not a fan of spoons for mixing, too much pushing and clumping, if that makes sense.

It’s definitely easier than whipping cream or mayonnaise by hand. Those are getting harder for me to do by hand as I get older. Sometimes, even when I tell my arm to keep going, it won’t.

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