Sunday, February 12, 2012

Cookbook Sundays--Chocolate Drop Cookies

I think everyone has probably made, or tasted a version of Chocolate Drop Cookies in their life.  My Grandmother used to make them at Christmas time, but I had forgotten about them until this past holiday season when I tasted some at my daughter-in-law's aunt's house.
That was a mouthful to say...I should just say 'my friend's house'.
Any way you put it tho--I was reminded how good they are and decided to make some for Valentines Day.

My grandmother always put chocolate frosting on her's, but  my daughter-in-law's family frosts with a white frosting  (and their cookie was a bit more flat than mine. They were good.  I loved them.)
They're just a simple chocolate cake cookie with a frosting.  The Handyman LOVES them--I am trying to stay away from them.

I do not have my grandmother's original recipe, but I called my mom and got the facts.   YES my grandmother did make them. YES it was around the holiday time. NO my mom didn't have the recipe she used either.  But she did remind me of a  notebook that my aunt had given me for a  wedding shower gift 34 years ago..and in that notebook was the exact recipe for my grandmother's chocolate drop cookies.

The notebook was a collection of recipes from the Dorothy Dean Homemaker's Service, sponsored by the Spokesman Review Newspaper of Spokane, WA.
The newspaper launched its home economics department in 1935 with a test kitchen and cooking school for homemakers. Home economists also sent out recipe leaflets and hosted a phone line to answer questions before closing in 1983.

The Dorothy Dean Homemakers service distributed leaflets (three each month for 11 months, with an index to the recipes on the 12th month) which subscribers collected in a green binder.

As you can see, I have my green binder.
My aunt had given me a very small collection (considering.... that they began in 1935) of the leaflets, from the early 1970's.

Here is what  the pages look like (there were about 5 or 6 recipes on each page, front and back):

 I used this recipe as my very first potato salad recipe.  I've switched things up since then, but this really was  a "Patio Pleaser"

 The leaflets would be different colors sometimes--close to holidays.

I used to go thru the notebook and make notes to myself:  "good"  or "try this".
I think 34 years later, I still do that in cookbooks sometimes.
Icky splatters on an old recipe mean it's good, right?

I am really not sure how my aunt chose to give me what she did. Maybe it was her collection that she had been subscribing to.    I treasure it, because she is no longer with us, and I'm also interested in checking out  eBay to see if I can find any others from the series.
I have  all the leaflets from 1973, 74, 75, 76 and 77.

I found this article which says:

Born in the mid-1930s when housewifery was serious business for brides, the newspaper promised in a front page story that Miss Estelle Calkins, the first head of the Dorothy Dean service would, “teach Spokane housewives how to ‘housewife’ in the latest scientific manner.”

“Husbands should smile. Life should be pleasanter because of Miss Calkins – if wives will listen to Miss Calkins and do all the things she tells them to do.”

The recipes produced by the department span 45 years and were tested in the Dorothy Dean test kitchen. The recipes were updated year after year and new recipes added. The leaflets were always reflective of the popular dishes and trends of the day and the current science on food safety was always included.

But it's really difficult to find out  a whole lot of information about the Dorothy Dean Homemaker's service online. There are a couple of blogs out there that popped up, when I Googled, but they say the same thing.  I find it's a mystery to most of us.  The biggest mystery of all is:  Was Dorothy Dean a real person?   Or was she just a  logo?  A Brand?  Who thought of using that name?
Her name is copyrighted, but it says that the Homemakers service was started by the Spokesman Review in 1935.   Hmmmm....???
These are the things I cannot find out.  Of course I could call the Spokesman Review, but I probably won't. 
Baking and Boys says:
I have a two sided sheet of paper with a bunch of no-bake cookie recipes on it, it looks older, like it was from years ago (70’s/80’s?) and says “Dorothy Dean’s No-Bake Cookies”, recipes from Dorothy Dean’s Taste Testing Kitchen, from The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Washington). I have no idea where I got this sheet of paper. I looked online for information about Dorothy Dean and found an obituary (just from this past April) for someone who was dubbed “Dorothy Dean” as she was the head of the Homemaker’s Services for the Spokesman-Review. The thing that sort of baffles me about this paper full of recipes is that I really have no idea where it came from and even why it just showed up here. Did my mother give it to me years ago? Hmmm. Whatever the case, it’s got a number of fun recipes on it and I do like that it is a good no-bake go-to page. Some of the recipes are Chinese Ting-a-lings, Skillet Date Cookies, No-bake Brownies, Porcupine Cookies and the Caramel Chews were among them and some others as well.

One day that could be the exact words of my daughter-in-laws or my granddaughters!   (that's kind of the reason I started researching today)
I will link this to Cookbook Sundays and also count it as Cookbook #51 in my own cookbook countdown.

Oh...and don't forget the whole point of this post--Chocolate Drop Cookies. 

Chocolate Drop Cookies
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup margarine softened  (or shortening)
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
2 oz unsweetened baking chocolate, melted and cooled
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

1.  Heat oven to 400f.  Grease cookie sheet with butter.

2.  In large bowl, beat sugar, butter, buttermilk, vanilla, egg and melted chocolate with an electric mixer on medium speed. Stir in flour, soda and salt.

3.  On cookie sheet, drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls about  2 inches apart.

4.  Bake 8-10 minutes or until almost no indentation remains when touched.  Immediately remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack.  Cool completely-about 30 minutes.

 Chocolate Frosting
2 oz unsweetened baking chocolate
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups powdered sugar
3+ tablespoons of hot water

In a 2-quart saucepan, melt chocolate with butter over low heat. Remove.  Stir in powdered sugar and hot water until smooth.
Spread over cookies.



Karen said...

That's a neat thing to have. I love food smears on cookbooks!

bermudaonion said...

I make chocolate cloud cookies that look and sound a lot like those. They are delicious! I've never thought to put sprinkles on them, but the sprinkles really make the cookies look festive.

Couscous & Consciousness said...

These are gorgeous looking cookies, and I loved reading about your Dorothy Deans collection - what a treasure. It always makes me smile when I open one of my cookbooks at a well-spattered page :-)

Thank you so much for sharing this at Cookbook Sundays.

Sue :-)

sadie607 said...

I love those but have only ever had white frosting. bring some with you when you come visit haha.

Melynda said...

YUM, these I want to make!

Friday Friend Recipe #190 -- Party Potato Skins

My Friday Friend Cookbook Countdown #190 (#willreallyfinishthissomeday) My Favorite Mother-in-Law's P...