Those looking for adventure in the kitchen have a few options. Some think global and tackle new world cuisines. Some think science and grow their own yeast starter or master homemade fudge (my nemesis). Still others think innovation and start cooking from inspiration and instinct, recipes be damned.
As for me, I think vintage and head to my shelf of pre-1960 cookbooks, most of them spiral-bound community affairs or slim promotional volumes with lots of vague instructions (from ingredients like “a teacup of butter” to no instructions at all) and absolutely zero photos. There’s something exciting about following a decades-old recipe and watching the results unfold. When it works, it’s like finding buried treasure. When it doesn’t, it’s a reminder why I also love (and need) modern sources like King Arthur Flour and America’s Test Kitchen for their tried-and-true reliability.
But yesterday I was all about adventure, so I picked up one of my regional vintage favorites — the 1954 New England Cooking by Eleanor Early — and thumbed through the cookies, finally settling on a recipe for Chocolate Drop Cookies.
While they get their chocolate flavor from 3 squares of unsweetened chocolate, I decided to add a little more by swapping out the nuts called for in the recipe with chocolate chips. The batter was light and fluffy and looked like whipped frosting, but held its shape beautifully when I portioned it out using a cookie scoop. Taking only 10 minutes to bake, in no time at all I had a counter full of cooling cookies.
After the cookies were cooled, I bagged them up and headed to my sister Courtney’s house…which is to say I headed to Quinn’s house (CUTE BABY TIME OUT!). Just about 8 months now, this kid is always smiling, and that, coupled with his red hair, chunky baby legs, and emerging teeth pretty much turn me into a puddle of aunty love. Boys always stay loving and sweet, right?
Knowing Courtney was meeting up later that night with our other sister Tara (herself a new mom to the beautiful 2 month Celia Jayne – she’ll get her own post soon when I can take some glamor shots of her), I’d made the cookies as a pre-Valentine’s Day treat for both of them (anyone who knows me knows I don’t reach for the chocolate unless I have to). As much as I love the babies, I also love their moms a whole lot and wanted to show it this weekend with sugar!
These cookies are soft, so I wouldn’t recommend transporting them in a bag like I did. Some of them stuck together and broke, but if you like a soft and cake-y cookie with a light chocolate flavor, you’ll like these. I’d also suggest making them a little sweeter (if you’re into that) by frosting them or icing with chocolate glaze. If these cookies had been for my mother and not my sisters that would have been a must.
Happy Sunday, friends!
Chocolate Drop Cookies
Adapted from New England Cooking by Eleanor Early
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
3 squares unsweetened chocolate, melted
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup chopped nuts (or chocolate chips)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with parchment.
- In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, stopping to scrape the bowl between each with a rubber spatula. Add the milk, then the melted chocolate, beating well to combine.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to the chocolate batter in gradual increments, mixing well. Add vanilla, then fold in the nuts (or chocolate chips) with a rubber spatula.
- Drop by rounded tablespoons 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until set. Allow to cool for 1 minute before transporting to a wire rack to cool completely.
Yield: About 35 cookies
Click to view and print the recipe for Chocolate Drop Cookies