Chocolate Walnut Drops

Chocolate Walnut Drops - waiting while I pour a cup of coffee.

Chocolate Walnut Drops – waiting while I pour a cup of coffee.

Grandma Elsie specialized in cookies. I never knew her to bake anything that used yeast, but BOY could she bake cookies. To this day, my six favorite cookie recipes came from Grandma. The only trick was, you had to grab one or two right away before Grandpa lit up a cigar. No one ate day old cookies at their place – at least, not twice! That cigar smoke could permeate anything, and had no trouble getting through plastic wrap or foil.

That was actually a shame in this instance, since the cookies I’m going to show you today actually get softer and moister more moist moister with age.

After fifty or sixty years of baking you’d think she’d have her recipes memorized (she could play complicated piano pieces from memory, for crying out loud) but no – she’d get out her little metal recipe box and follow it step by step, measuring carefully with all of her ingredients organized and ready to go before she started. Obviously, baking techniques are not genetic.

Mmm mmm, love these babies!

Mmm mmm, love these babies!

I just baked her Chocolate Walnut Drop Cookies last night for a baking competition at the grange, along with some Perfect Dinner Rolls. See my last baking blog for the roll recipe. The rolls won best of class (that’s better than blue…it’s the coveted purple ribbon) so they’re going on to state competition. The cookies, however, were “too dry, and the frosting overwhelmed them. Not enough flavor.” Seriously? Of course they’re dry; they’re cookies, not brownies or cake! Biting through the frosting to get to the cookie is the best part. Pffft.

That’s okay – you win some, you lose some. They’re still one of my favorites. See what you think!

Chocolate Drop Cookies
Makes about 24 cookies. These cookies age well, if they get the chance! Just keep them in an airtight container.
  • 2 one-ounce squares unsweetened chocolate
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1½ cup flour
  • 1½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • Icing:
  • 1 square unsweetened chocolate
  • 4-6 tablespoons cream
  • 1½ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • (Chopped walnuts to sprinkle over icing, if desired)
  1. Heat oven to 375 F.
  2. Melt 2 squares unsweetened chocolate with ½ cup milk. (Microwave is fine.) Stir well and allow to cool slightly.
  3. Cream the butter and brown sugar well.
  4. Add egg and beat well.
  5. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl.
  6. Add the dry ingredients and the chocolate mixture alternately to the creamed mixture, beginning with the dry ingredients and ending with the chocolate mixture.
  7. Add the vanilla and nuts.
  8. Drop by heaping teaspoonful (or small cookie scoop) onto lightly greased baking sheet.
  9. Bake for approximately 10-12 minutes. Cool on a rack. (Don't overcook or they will be dry. Try checking with a toothpick if you're not sure they're done.)
  10. ICING:
  11. Melt the chocolate in a small bowl in the microwave.
  12. Add 4 tablespoons cream, the powdered sugar, and the vanilla.
  13. Stir to combine.
  14. Add enough remaining cream to make icing easily spreadable.
  15. Spread on the cookies and top with chopped walnuts.

Blog3 083

Cream the butter and brown sugar together well.

Alternate adding dry ingredients and wet ingredients.

Alternate adding dry ingredients and wet ingredients.

Blog3 086

Carefully measure the vanilla (bwa ha ha) and add the chopped nuts.

Scoop 'em onto a lightly greased baking sheet.

Scoop ’em onto a lightly greased baking sheet.

Baked and ready to be frosted.

Baked and ready to be frosted.

I really really wanted to post this blog with a picture of a blue ribbon. Sigh. I’m not a sore loser – no sir. Huh uh.


They Like Me! They Really, Really Like Me!


A Liebster Award? For me? Thank you, God…my prayers were answered!

Yesterday I was given the dubious thrilling honor of receiving a prestigious Liebster Award!

For those of you who have never heard of this, go ahead and do what I had to do: Google it! If you can’t muster up the interest to do that, I guess I can sum it up for you. It’s an award given to small blogs by another blogger. As the recipient, I’m expected to graciously accept the award, produce 11 facts about myself, answer 11 questions by the presenter, and then award 11 other small bloggers with the same…um…opportunity.

I went from being very excited (An award? For me? Seriously?) to reluctant (Oh crap, I have so much to do right now, and how am I going to narrow my favorite baby blogs down to 11?) to intrigued (Wonder what the questions will be? Can I poke fun at people?) but realize it all boils down to one thing: if we didn’t like talking about ourselves and our lives, we wouldn’t be bloggers. I mean, who can resist spilling 11 facts about yourself? People do it all the time on those stupid Facebook “tests”, right?

So thanks to my presenter, Bill Peebles of ihopeiwinatoaster and stay-at-home-dad extraordinaire, here’s what you’ve all been waiting for!



  1. Creativity is much more important to me than a clean house. Much MUCH more important!
  1. I coach myself a lot. In other words, I talk to myself a lot. You know, stuff like: “c’mon, you can do it. Just put away ten more dishes and you can have a cup of coffee!” It keeps me focused, but my husband just shakes his head sadly at me.
  1. I talk a lot about drinking, but actually one glass of wine kicks my butt. I am, however, quite witty after that glass of wine, if you catch me somewhere between the last sip and being passed out on the couch. Once again, I get the head shake.
  1. I love to feed people, animals, parking meters…basically anything that I can fill. I’m sure Freud would have a lot to say about that.
  1. I live one emergency away from the brink of disaster at all times. That’s what living on a retirement income with a baking habit can do to you!
  1. Apparently I’m the only woman I know who was disappointed with  “Fifty Shades of Grey.” The story had some redeeming qualities, but the writing didn’t. I like smutty novels, and this had its moments…but really, whips and handcuffs? Spanking, though…hmm. No. NO! Give me Nora Roberts any day.
  1. I could live the rest of my life without television. I couldn’t live a day without a book!
  1. I want to do things myself. Not like kill spiders and clean out the septic tank…I mean challenging, basic things like making my own flour, roasting coffee, making soap, and growing and canning food. Even when it would have been a lot quicker and possibly even cheaper to go the easy route, I’m just like a two year old: “I do it myself!”
  1. From the time I cracked open my first Louisa May Alcott book I imagined myself in a garret with ink-stained fingers, writing my heart out. Now I’m a geriatric blogger. Good enough!
  1. If it has butter, sugar, and flour in it I like it. If it contains chocolate, I love it. If it has all of those ingredients AND is frosted, I’m over the moon. Which is why I can’t fit into my high school cheerleader outfit. Bwahahaha. Gotcha. Cheerleader? Not even close.
  1. I have my mother’s recipe box, and my grandmother’s. If I do this right, my children will be able to look up my recipes on Google! If my fantasies play out, they’ll have copies of my published recipe books, with my hope that they never cave in to fake food – and always let the flour fly!

And now for  sadistic Mr. Peebles’ questions:

1.  Were you pleasantly surprised or slightly irritated when I tagged you with this?

2.  Do you think I am sorry for that?
My first thought was “not one little bit”, but the more I read your blog, the more I saw sensitivity and a deep respect for…well, respect! So you probably are staying awake nights, worrying that those you bestowed this honor upon are overwhelmed and miserable. Serves you right.

3.  If you were to smack me upside the head for passing this on to you with your favorite book, which book would that be?
Oh, you are NOT going to like this. The book is over 600 pages, and if I used my hardback copy it would put a good dent in your melon! It’s “Outlander” by Diana Gabaldon. I read the whole series every winter without fail.

4.  If you had back the (enter minutes spent on this exercise here), what would you do with them?
Minutes? Huh. I’d say you’re delusional. I’ve spent at least 4 hours on this, but it’s been pretty fun so far. I would tell you I’d spend them cleaning up the garden or making applesauce, but in reality I probably would have been playing around on Facebook or reading.

5.  Do you think perfect strangers should stalk around the Internet and bestow odd awards and ask random questions? Why or why not?
Oh, hell yes. Stalking is what the Internet is all about, right? And don’t we all love talking about ourselves?

6.  How can words be so beautiful to read and so frightening to write?
Our words are always being judged. That’s frightening, because even when we’re being light and snarky, we’re actually baring our souls.

7.  Do you like my hat?
Huh? I see no hat. Here…I’ll find one for you.

This one?

Or maybe this one?

I like ’em both, Bill!

8.  How many hotdogs do you consume on a weekly basis?
Oooh, this is a toughie. I go weeks without eating one, and then do the whole hotdog binge thing. So averaged out…one? You’re taxing my brain here.

9.  You seem like a decent person, how did you become so?
Okay, now you’ve done it. I have to get serious here. I had an amazing family, and a wonderful childhood. I’ve noticed that a lot of my favorite bloggers had to overcome broken homes and other rough situations. They’re a lot funnier than I am, so I’m guessing there’s a correlation there. If I hadn’t lived in a “Father Knows Best” type of environment, I  would probably be a lot more entertaining!

10.  Pop-up toaster or toaster over?
Oh, toaster over all the way 😉

11.  Where do you physically blog, as in, where are you right now and, did you ever suspect blogging would be this damned complicated?
Um. Technically, that was two questions, but I won’t quibble. The dining room table. I keep it “public” so my husband doesn’t think I’m flirting with my hundreds of male admirers. Actually, my laptop is ancient, and it gets HOT on my lap. I don’t know if blogging is complicated, but the plugins and tags and links and widgets sure are! I’m totally out of my comfort zone. I’m even intimidated by the “WordPress for Dummies” book sitting next to me right now.

So. I’ve done my part, and will now torture 11 other recipients with a psyche-scrubbing, angst-producing questionnaire of my own.

I’d like to thank all the little people who made this possible…

And here are my 11 questions for the poor suckers selected few who will no doubt impress us with their insights and wit!

1. Writing: catharsis or expression?
2. Which writer has influenced you the most?
3. How do you cope with constant distractions?
4. Are you still having fun with the blog? When it stops being fun will you quit?
5. What cramps your writing style?
6. What is your worst habit?
7. Early to bed or night owl?
8. Do you multitask when you’re writing or is it all business?
9. Do you play an instrument?
10. What would you rather be doing right now?
11. Do you laugh at your own material?

The Rules:

1.  Each person must post 11 things about themselves.
2.  Answer the 11questions the awarder has given you, the awardee.
3.  You, now the awarder, create 11 questions for your nominees, who are now the awardees.
4.  Choose 11 awardees, link to their website, and notify them.
5.  No award-backs.

This is taking me a while, but here are the blogs I’ve contacted so far:
Marvelous Mo’ and Me
Our Life In Food
Cluttered Genius

Pimping out my Blog

Okay, folks…I’m going to shamelessly pimp out my blog, and try out for Blogger Idol.

There are amazing prizes, of course, but best of all is the chance to encourage thousands (dare I say millions?) of people to crack out the butter and cream and let the flour fly!
Did I mention prizes? There’s a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0, Blog 2 Print voucher, Ghiradelli chocolate package, a premium edition of Dragon, a Newman’s Own organics package, and more.

I’ll do anything for chocolate!

Check it out! And if you’re feeling kindly, jump right in there and leave a comment on Blogger Idol. You aren’t voting, exactly – it’s more like a show of support. OK, it’s actually more of a popularity contest. But remember the important thing: one of the prizes is CHOCOLATE (which is almost as good as a blue ribbon!) Here’s the link:
Blogger Idol

I’ll keep you posted on Facebook!

Blue Ribbon Whore

I love winning blue ribbons the way my dog loves homemade dog biscuits…I’ll do just about anything for one! Which is why my daughter made me this wine glass for Christmas last year:

If you look closely at the shadow in the back, you can see the word “whore” engraved in the glass. Delightful child, isn’t she? She meant it in the nicest sense of the word, of course, and supports my desire to “Go for the Blue” at all costs.

When we moved from the city to the country five years ago, I had never entered anything in a competition or fair before, but took a chance and entered my croissants. I was afraid to go in and see the judge’s results, so I hung around outside until my daughter scouted out the situation for me. When she told me I got “Grand Champion” I almost fainted, and the addiction was born.

My granddaughter and I, admiring the “Grand Champion” ribbon on my croissants!

I’m sure a psychologist would be hammering me about my need for positive reinforcement, public acknowledgement, approval. Maybe I was too harshly potty trained when I was little. I don’t know why, but I love seeing those ribbons stack up, as long as I feel I really earned them. There’s a little fair in a nearby town in the summer, and almost everyone gets blue ribbons for everything. I won’t enter anything there because it’s too easily won. The challenge is everything!

My daughter also made this ribbon display for me. Does that make her an enabler? She is more creative than I, and a very skilled baker in her own right. Someday I’ll be passing the display back to her, along with the torch!