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Preheat oven to 375°F. In a large bowl, beat shortening with an electric mixer on medium to medium-high speed for 30 seconds. Add brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined. Beat in sour cream just until combined. Beat in as much of the cake flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining cake flour. Stir in chocolate pieces and, if desired, nuts.
Drop dough by rounded teaspoons 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. (If you prefer to use a scoop, use a small scoop about 1 1/4 inches in diameter for regular-size cookies. Or for large cookies, use a 1/4-cup measure or scoop to drop mounds of dough 4 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. If desired, flatten dough mounds to circles about 3/4 inch thick.)
Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or just until edges are light brown. Transfer to a wire rack; cool completely.