One of my Christmas gifts this year was a small 4-½ x 6 inch leather bound book engraved “Cooking Recipes”, purchased at an antique mall in Sugar Creek, Ohio.  The pages are edged in gold and there are 10 index tabs for food categories.  

The real gold in this book, though, is the collection of handwritten recipes.  There aren’t a lot of recipes – just 25, 22 of which are desserts.  The book itself could have been from the 1930s, but I believe the recipes are from the 1945-1950 era.  This is based on a lot of recipes calling for shortening, for using the word “oleo” rather than margarine in most recipes and the attention given to oven temperatures.  I believe it’s post-World War II because of all of the sugar-laden desserts.  

The handwriting is clear and ingredients are listed correctly, although most of the recipes give no idea of how the item is to be prepared, what kind of pan to use or how long to bake.  That’s why I’ve decided to make each of the recipes, using the products specified, and adding my own instructions.  I like to think that the woman from the 1940s kitchen (who would have been about my mother’s age) would enjoy having someone fuss around with these recipes again and turn out some delicious food for the family.

My version of the recipe is one-half of the original and I substituted dairy sour cream for the sour milk.  Like all of the recipes in this little book, the Brown Sugar Drops are easy and quick to make, homestyle, not too rich – just a good old-fashioned cookie.


  • Servings: Approx. 32 cookies
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  • ½ cup shortening
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1-¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • Raisins or walnut halves (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
Lightly grease cookie sheets

Cream together the shortening, light brown sugar, egg and sour cream.  Mix in the soda and salt.  Gradually mix in the flour until well blended.

Drop cookies by a level measuring tablespoon onto the greased cookie sheets.

Place cookies 2 inches apart.

If desired, press a walnut half or 3 raisins into the tops of the cookies.

Bake @ 400 degrees F for 6 to 7 minutes until cookies are golden brown on the tops and bottoms.

Place on a wire rack to cool.

Yield:  Approximately 32 cookies 

A cup of tea from this pretty teapot would go well with the cookies.