I'm starting to hear Eleanor in my head when I cook her recipes. But Eleanor, although awesome, was not a kindly, mild-mannered grandmother. She was brash and opinionated (but fiercely loyal), and so far that's exactly how I'm hearing her in my head. While baking these cookies I could hear her gravelly smoker's voice almost like she was in the room with me, snapping at me in a thick New York accent while she lit a cigarette: “put the cookies farther apart, what are you, stupid!?”
But... I live in Scotland, I have a tiny oven (so tiny the cookware we brought from America when we moved here doesn't even fit in the oven), even tinier cookie sheets, and I didn't want to be stuck in the kitchen all afternoon cooking them only 3 at a time, so I disobeyed Eleanor's orders and crammed the batter in medium-sized balls as close as I could on each of my two cookie sheets.
Bad idea. The moral of this story is that your grandmother DOES know best, even if she's a figment of your imagination and lives only in your head. Little did I know how much these dumb cookies would expand.
After the first tray came out of the oven and the cookies had expanded so much that the tray looked like a pan of brownies, I came to my senses and started scooping smaller balls. The next batch came out fine, so it was no big deal in the end, especially once I tasted the cookies. These are exactly what I imagine a homemade Oreo would taste like (aka delicious). The chopped nuts give them a delicate crisp texture without being overly crumbly or dry, and because they are made with melted chocolate instead of cocoa powder, they have an actual chocolatey-ness to them that I always think is missing in chocolate cookies. The texture is the perfect balance of chewy and crispy, and because they're fairly thin, you can eat as many as you want without feeling guilty!... or maybe that last part is just me. I'm already fantasising about making them this summer to use as the base of homemade ice cream sandwiches-- yum!
3 Spoons out of five. They're delicious, but they spread so much while they cook that in my (admittedly tiny European) oven, I had to cook them three or four at a time. Even using two sheets, that meant 4 batches for the 30-ish cookies I got, which is kind of a pain. Also, have I mentioned how much I hate melting chocolate? I'd still make them again, though-- especially once ice cream season rolls around.
Chocolate Drop Cookies
3 oz baking chocolate (if you have American-style baking chocolate, this is 3 squares)
1 cup sugar
½ cup butter, melted
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 ½ cups sifted flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
½ cup finely chopped nuts of your choice (I used a mix of blanched almonds and brazil nuts)
12 sliced brazil nuts
Grease two cookie sheets and preheat oven to 350F/176C.
Melt chocolate by putting in a small bowl and microwaving for 10-sec intervals until smooth, stirring well after each interval.
Set aside to let cool.
Mix together sugar, melted butter, and egg in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
Add flour, baking soda, and salt, alternately adding milk after each ingredient.
Stir in melted chocolate, vanilla, and chopped nuts, stirring well to ensure uniform texture and consistency.
Using the smallest spoon you have, drop 1-inch balls of batter onto prepared cookie sheets, at least 2-3 inches apart.*
Press a slice of brazil nut into the top of each cookie and bake for 12 minutes or until edges are slightly darker than middles of each cookie.
Let stand on cookie sheet for 1-2 minutes before moving to cooling rack.
*Per my experience, you seriously do not want these bigger than 1 inch. I used a slightly rounded teaspoon to scoop the batter with after the first batch expanded to cover the entire cookie sheet and my cookies were “normal” cookie sized-- about 3 inches across.