Dean Berner's Secret Medicine Cookies

"My mom is famous for these cookies that she makes," says Dean, "and they're about the size of a dinner plate. She uses Mexican vanilla in them – that's the special ingredient that helps them have that flavor."

Photo by: J. Kiewlak J. Kiewlak

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Cook Time: 13-17 min | Yield: Varies


  • 3/4 cup butter flavored shortening
  • 1 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon soda
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter chips
  • 1/2 cup 60% cacao chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 375.

Cream shortening and brown sugar until it is super fluffy. Add egg, milk and vanilla. (I make my own vanilla with vanilla beans soaked in vodka). Mix well. Combine flour, salt and baking soda. Slowly mix it into batter. Fold in chips. (It never hurts to add more!). Taste to make sure that you didn't mess up!

Drop 2 or 3 or 4 tablespoons of dough onto cookie sheet. ( We like 'em big, at our house!)

Bake for 13 to 17 minutes, depending on how big they are and how soft you want them. Dean likes them soft, I like them crisp.

Let them cool on the sheet awhile, if they are real big. (However, they are best right out of the oven)

A note from Dean's mom:
They are called "secret medicine" because the boys would always come to me, while I was making them and say that they had a bad headache, or something like that. Then, they would say they needed some medicine. What they wanted was some cookie dough. They loved to get me all worried about their headache and then laugh real big, as they scooped up some dough! The dough was the secret medicine.

I used to take these to their college soccer games in a big oak basket. They were like the Bible story of the loaves and the fishes. I could feed them to all the student fans and children watching the game. They would just seem to multiply, because there were always enough to feed both teams after the game was over. The opposing team would be pretty surprised when I asked if they wanted a cookie.

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