Grandma's original recipe
Very Nice Cake Drops. Hmmm. My first question was …. What exactly are they???? I really didn’t know what to expect. Were they cakes? Were they cookies? Who could know with a recipe so vague! Like most people, I thought that surely the internet could tell me. The first stop I made was to some popular recipe websites, and though I did find “fruit cake drops” and “cake drop cookies,” neither of them had a list of ingredients that looked right for Grandma’s recipe. So I widened my search base and googled …. still with no luck. Who would have thought that in this day and age where everything seems to end up on the net, I could find nothing that fit these ingredients?
Undaunted, I went to the Mennonite Treasury Cookbook, where the best of old and eclectic Mennonite recipes can be found. Still nothing! Finally I went to the only other source I could think of that might know what cake drops are – my mom. She looked at the recipe for a bit, read the ingredients aloud and finally said “I think these must be soft cookies.”
“Like schmondt kuchen?” I asked.
“Yes, I think so.”
Well, that made sense. Schmondt kuchen are soft white cookies that are usually rolled and cut out with a round cookie cutter, then baked and frosted with homemade icing. Around where I grew up, they’re commonly referred to as “Grandma Cookies.” I thought it was quite appropriate that for my first crack at Grandma’s recipes that I should end up making some form of “Grandma Cookies”.
Normally I would put flavoring like vanilla or almond extract in, but I wanted to keep the recipe as true to the original as possible. One small change I did make was the addition of a little salt, just to bring the flavoring that was there, out.
very nice Cake drops
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup butter
- 4 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 cup sweet milk (my mom and I guessed this must be homogenized 3% milk)
- 6 tsp. baking powder
- (1/2 tsp salt)
- 4 cups flour, sifted before measuring
I creamed the butter (softened ahead of time) and sugar together in a large bowl and beat in the eggs. Then I poured the milk in and mixed well. Finally I added the last three ingredients and stirred them in with a wooden spoon like one that I imagined Grandma would have used (though truth be told, I’ll probably use a mixer for all the steps the next time I make these cookies).
What I ended up with was a very soft dough - much more so than the consistency of schmondt kuchen. But since they were called “drops” this didn’t concern me too much. Instead of rolling them out, I dropped them onto the pan with my meatball scoop and ended up baking them at 350°F for 12 minutes. When I took that first pan out of the oven, I thought they looked so pretty. I said to myself “These are very nice cake drops!”
And they tasted even better! I was a little surprised that even with the lack of vanilla or almond extracts, they were so tastey. Perhaps it’s the amount of sugar (2 cups for 4 cups of flour is a lot!). Not very healthy, true – but if I keep them for special occasions, then I don’t have to feel too guilty making them.
I was originally going to frost all of the cookies, but when I realized how sweet they were on their own, I decided to do only half (half my family prefers plain cookies anyway). I iced them with a simple butter frosting and then dipped the frosted cookies in flaked coconut and toasted coconut shavings.
Yield: 6 Dozen
Easy Butter Frosting
(this isn’t one of my grandma’s recipes, but it’s the one I used for these very nice cake drops!)
- 1/4 cup butter
- 3 – 4 cups icing (or confectioner’s) sugar
- 1/4 tsp almond extract
- 1/4 cup milk
- food coloring and shredded/toasted coconut (optional)
Cream the butter, sugar, almond extract and enough milk to make a spreadable frosting. Add food coloring if desired. Frost the cookies and immediately dip them in a bowl of flaked coconut, if desired.