Mom’s Cocoa Drop Cookies

Mom's Cocoa Drop Cookies made modern

Once a year I have a birthday, or so I am reminded by pesky Facebook. During that birthday week (this week) I try to do something to celebrate my mom in between bites of cake. After all, she was the one who did all the hard work, spending hours in labor, blah blah and blah.

This, however, requires a little imagination and a whole lot of  looking in the mirror. Because she died when I was a kid, whatever memories I have of her are mostly those stories that every well meaning adult tells a small kid – usually large and harmless fables about the long gone saintly departed. I make fun because I am certain that if I have inherited any of my mom’s more human traits, she, like me, was no saint.

For example, I come by my snark the old fashioned way – my mom’s people all have the genuine snark gene. Also, it’s a guess, but I bet she would have hoarded chocolate if we had been able to afford some, disliked bran muffins once they became popular, and probably would have stubbornly kept her cat-eye bedazzled eyeglasses until they were retro enough to be cool again.

For this year’s birthday I decided to remake her cocoa drop cookies. She baked them in a big fat hurry almost every Saturday morning because she was rushing off to her weekly beauty parlor appointment. The cookies were to tide over the hungry-hungry children until she arrived back with perfectly lacquered hair and a load of groceries. Unfortunately, the cookies tided over only the very hungry older boy children and left the little tiny sister (me) cleaning out the crumbs.

Once in a while my mom (all knowing, those mothers) would wrap a few cookies in wax paper and hide them for me in her purse – the only place my brothers didn’t search for treats. Of course, the deal was that she would give me the cookies if I accompanied her to the endlessly long and boring beauty parlor and then help her with grocery shopping. To this day, the sound of a bonnet hair dryer makes me instantly stupefied and sleepy. So very boring, those beauty parlors of the 60’s. A barber shop with a television tuned to golf would have been an improvement.

Back to the cookies. Her simple cocoa drop cookie recipe was made entirely with shortening because butter was too spendy. Sometimes she got fancy and threw in chopped walnuts. The cookies were tasty but bland to suit my dad who enjoyed plain food. By plain food I mean that black pepper was exotic. Vegetables were to be boiled until almost dissolved and meat was to be cooked until fully gray. Cookies were meant to be sweet. Ice cream was always to be vanilla. And coffee was always instant prepared with lukewarm tap water. If my father wrote a cookbook the title would be Let it Be Bland. If my mother wrote a cookbook it would be titled Cooking for Mr. Bland – Even Though I can Make Complicated Pastry with My Eyes Wide Shut.

These are not those. They’re simple to make – a saucepan and a wooden spoon. But they are only reminiscent of mom’s bland cookies in name only. My father would hate them which is the key to knowing they hit the right note. He might even swear they had black pepper in them – they do not, although…  They are full of nice bittersweet chocolate chunks and toasted pecans. And while they could be drop cookies (which only means dropped from a spoon onto the baking sheet) these are rolled in your palm and flattened slightly to give them a little shape.

Make them big, make them small (please adjust baking time) but make them.

And be sure the littlest kid in the house gets a couple without having to watch hair dry under the influence of a bonnet machine at some beauty parlor – are there still beauty parlors?


Mom's Cocoa Drop Cookies from Gluten Free Canteen

Mom's Cocoa Drop Cookies
  • 135 grams unsalted butter (9 tablespoons)
  • 70 grams Spectrum shortening (5 tablespoons)
  • 100 grams brown sugar (1/2 cup)
  • 100 grams granulated sugar (1/2 cup)
  • 40 grams unsweetened cocoa, sifted (1/2 cup)
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 extra large eggs, cold
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons brewed coffee
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 325 grams Canteen flour blend (2 ½ cups)(see notes)
  • 170 grams bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chunks (1 cup)
  • 85 grams roughly chopped toasted pecans (1/2 cup)
  1. In a large saucepan heat butter, shortening, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cocoa and salt until melted and combined. The butter will not thoroughly mix in with the other ingredients just yet.
  2. Off heat stir until everything in the pan is smooth (the butter will still be separated somewhat). Add the eggs and stir like crazy until the mixture emulsifies and everything is thoroughly blended. It takes a minute or so and lots of elbow grease but it does come together. The batter should be shiny. Add the vanilla, coffee and almond extract and stir. Add the flour and stir to combine, using a spatula to scrape down the sides. Let the dough cool for 10 minutes and then stir in the chocolate chunks and nuts.
  3. Using a 2 tablespoon scoop (for larger cookies) or a 2 teaspoon scoop (for smaller cookies) place dough balls right next to one another on a plastic lined baking sheet. Refrigerate baking sheet to chill the dough balls- one to two hours at minimum.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Place dough balls on each baking sheet, 8 large to one sheet or 10-12 small. Let them come to almost room temperature and flatten slightly. Bake large cookies 9-11 minutes and small cookies 8-9 minutes. Transfer cookies to a rack to cool completely. Be sure not to over bake them. The chocolate flavor gets more intense after being stored in a tin overnight (chocolate does that). Makes 20-22 large cookies or 45-50 small cookies.
See About Flour for how to make the Canteen mix and flour information

Mom's Cocoa Drop Cookies from Gluten Free Canteen