Baking a batch of memories

Ken Robertson

In the 1950s and 1960s when I was growing up, home-made candy and cookies were as much part of the holidays as Santa Claus and presents under the tree. And my brothers and sisters and I looked forward to our family's seasonal goodies almost as much as the presents, and once we reached a certain age, even more than Santa.

Right at the top of our treats list was Grandma Robertson's chocolate drop cookies with chocolate frosting. No matter how many dozen my Mother made (usually at least a double batch of about 12 dozen), they seldom lasted through Christmas Day.

Though we youngsters were in unanimous agreement these cookies were our favorites, we were as split as the current Congress is over tax increases vs. budget cuts.

Should Mom stir in raisins or pecans?

Mother, ever the adroit politician, settled the debate by making half with raisins and half with pecans. Pop stayed out of the dispute: He loved both. Given some of the stories I'd heard about his ability to survive surprising things in his food, I wasn't sure he should have had a vote anyway.

He once bit into an eggshell hidden in a cupcake baked up by my Mom and Aunt Velma as a prank and still, he ate Mom's cupcakes. And once he consumed half a hapless grasshopper that blundered into the potato salad and was served up when Pop wandered back into camp from fishing after it was too dark to see his food. Yet he never gave up on potato salad either.

Anyway, now that I'm retired, this year I decided it again was time to make "Great Grandma's chocolate drop cookies," a recipe copied from my Mom's cookbook.

I had made them occasionally, but not for 10 years.

So, I mixed up and baked six dozen, then frosted them the next morning.

Afterward, I decided to brag about it on my Facebook page. Who knew so many nieces, nephews, their spouses and friends would be intrigued by old-fashioned butter, brown sugar, eggs, Baker's chocolate, buttermilk, vanilla, flour, salt and soda? And then topped with a simple frosting made from powdered sugar, cocoa, butter, water and vanilla?

Grandma Maude Robertson would have been pleased beyond measure by the response to her culinary treasure. And at my house, at least, the pecans vs. raisins debate is settled. Dried cherries are better than either.