Vegetarian food blog featuring nourishing home cooked recipes, creative baking and luscious chocolate.

My First Cookbook and Chocolate Drops

Biscuits, Book Reviews | 19th September 2013 | By

This post is a bit of indulgence. I have a heap of posts waiting to be published or written that should be taking priority. But rather unexpectedly, I was able to lay my hands on my first cookbook last night and couldn’t resist baking something from it this morning. Claire at Foodie Quine is to blame for this little renaissance. She got rather excited about finding a copy of her first cookbook, wrote a post about it highlighting a few other first cookbooks and is now hosting an event this month for bloggers to post about theirs.

It just so happens that Janice of Farmergirl Kitchen has the very same book as mine – My Learn to Cook Book: a children’s book for the kitchen by Ursula Sedgwick with fabulous and much loved illustrations by Martin Mayhew. We both still have our original copies, although mine resides at my mother’s and we were both given our books as a present from a Great Aunt. Mine was given as a Christmas present when I was eight and I immediately set to and cooked my way through the entire book. I don’t think there is a recipe there I didn’t attempt, some with more success than others. You can tell which recipes I used a lot by the copious staining on some pages. The page for Zoo Biscuits is almost completely blue from the food dye I used to paint the biscuits. Some recipes such as the Chocolate Mousse I carried on using well into my adulthood. Some recipes are frankly, a little bizarre. The fruit fried sandwich, which is two slices of bread sandwiched together with bramble jelly and grated apple and then fried in butter is not something I find immediately appealing. On the other hand, I’ve just made some bramble jelly and I have a house full of apples ……….

A couple of years ago, I made Crispy Crackolates from the book for the first time in many a long year. This time, I decided to have a go at the Chocolate Drops – more commonly recognised nowadays as choc chip cookies. Although the book gives fairly explicit instructions most of the time, it does let you down on occasion. I had no clue as to how many biscuits the mix was meant to make. As I was in a bit of a hurry and didn’t want to have to prepare more than one baking tray, I heaped mine up into 12 mounds which made for crispy edges and a chewy middle. Sixteen would have made a better and flatter size, but you live and learn or at least that’s what you are meant to do. I used wholemeal spelt flour and Willie’s Venezuelan 72% chocolate drops for added wow factor and because I’d just managed to get some on special offer.

This is how I made:

Chocolate Drops

 

  • Creamed 2 oz unsalted butter together with 2 oz caster sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Beat in a medium sized egg and a ¼ tsp vanilla extract until combined.
  • Sifted in 3 oz wholemeal spelt flour and a pinch of sea salt, then stirred until just combined.
  • Stirred in 2 oz dark 72% chocolate drops, which I’d previously cut into pieces as they were quite large.
  • Spooned heaped teaspoonfuls onto a line baking tray to make 12 mounds – now realise 16 smaller mounds would have been much better.
  • Baked at 180°C for 12 minutes until brown around the edges and golden on top.
Would love to hear your first cookbook memories.

Comments

  1. Leave a Reply

    vohnmcg.com
    19th September 2013

    I think I must have had this book too at some point ’cause I vividly remember making apple & bramble jelly fried sandwiches! I my head, 30 years on, they taste great – I might just give them a go again! Vohn x

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      19th September 2013

      Haha, great stuff Vohn. Let me know how you get on and whether it’s worth me having a go 😉

  2. Leave a Reply

    Christian Halfmann
    19th September 2013

    Hm, lovely. My first cookbook doesn’t look that good anymore, although it is not that old … I dare say. It’s about Mexican food.

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      20th September 2013

      But what a great first cookbook to have. I love Mexican food. Do you still use it Chris?

  3. Leave a Reply

    Foodycat
    19th September 2013

    My first cookbook was My Fairytale Cookbook, which had stories and then recipes (apparently Sleeping Beauty ate crisps and dip when she woke up…) but I can’t remember making any of the dishes!

  4. Leave a Reply

    Alida
    19th September 2013

    Sweet! So nice to get children into baking! Looks like a nice and cute book!

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      20th September 2013

      Thanks Alida – getting kids interested in cooking is so important.

  5. Leave a Reply

    Rachel Cotterill
    19th September 2013

    I recently gave my first recipe book to a friend’s daughter. I can only hope she learns to love cooking as much as I did by it 🙂

  6. Leave a Reply

    Baking Addict
    19th September 2013

    That looks like a good first cookbook. I read a lot of books growing up but didn’t have a cookbook like this. The recipes sound great and these chocolate drops look delicious!

  7. Leave a Reply

    Susan Lindquist
    19th September 2013

    Going back to one’s cooking roots and that first cook book is such a trip down memory lane isn’t it ?! My first cookbook was Betty Crocker’s … and I still use it!

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      21st September 2013

      That’s so good to hear you are still using your first cookbook Susan. I really must dig out my first “adult” cookbook.

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      21st September 2013

      Thank you Gloria. I think it would be just as useful today as it was way back then!

  8. Leave a Reply

    Johanna GGG
    20th September 2013

    What a cute cookbook – I love the cat and dog on the cover and I love that they are called chocolate drops rather than choc chip cookies. Sadly I don’t remember having cookbooks when I was young – I can’t think where our recipes came from – probably my mum’s cookbooks or the women’s weekly

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      21st September 2013

      The illustrations are great in this book and the dog and cat appear regularly throughout. Sorry you didn’t get ot have your own cookbook as a child, I was so proud to have my very own one. Something to think about for Sylvia.

  9. Leave a Reply

    Galina Varese
    20th September 2013

    I didn’t have a specific children’s cook book as a kid, but loved my Mum’s well-used cooking encyclopedia. I know Mum still keeps it, though it has lost the front cover many years ago.

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      21st September 2013

      Good to hear your first cookbook is still in use Galina and the fact it has lost it’s front cover shows how well used it is, which is the best compliment you can pay a book. I guess you don’t get to see it very often.

  10. Leave a Reply

    hungryhinny.com
    20th September 2013

    Love the idea of going back and baking from your first ever cookbook – although it sounds like quite an odd one!

    When I was very young I baked from my mum’s books, but I think the first one I had that was properly mine was Roald Dahl’s Revolting Recipes which was brilliant – I might need to get another copy to have another go at Mr Twit’s beard food…

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      21st September 2013

      But not as odd as Mr Twit’s beard food. I think you should definitely find a copy and make this Nat – whatever it is!!!

    • Leave a Reply

      hungryhinny.com
      22nd September 2013

      I googled it, apparently it involves mashed potato, hard boiled eggs, mushrooms, hotdogs and a load of other random ingredients! I’m not too tempted, have to be honest… Bruce Bogtrotter’s chocolate on the other hand, that could be worth revisiting!

  11. Leave a Reply

    anna @ annamayeveryday
    20th September 2013

    I too have this book and the follow up My Fun to Cook Book – they are fabulous and I loved them dearly as a child (still do). Many of my first cooking attempts were from these books!

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      21st September 2013

      Lovely to hear this Anna. I have a feeling I might also have My Fun to Cook Book too> I will have to do some investigating.

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      21st September 2013

      I don’t know if it was a great book Kath, but it was a much loved and a much used book.

  12. Leave a Reply

    Janice Pattie
    20th September 2013

    You were obviously a lot more dedicated and industrious than me! I used to look at the pictures and dream of Baked Alaska, oh come to think of it, nothing much has changed, I still read cookbooks more than I actually cook from them. Lovely to see your copy is still around too, I think we probably kept it as it was such a beautiful book.

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      21st September 2013

      I think I kept it, because I’m rubbish at throwing things out, but it is a lovely book and the illustrations are fantastic. Do you mean to say, you never attempted that Baked Alaska Janice?

  13. Leave a Reply

    What Kate Baked
    21st September 2013

    Lovely post that has bought lots of great memories of my own first experiments in the kitchen, thanks to the Usborne ‘My First Cookbook’ book!

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      21st September 2013

      Do you still have it Kate? I think these books have a lot to answer for and have made us all baking mad.

  14. Leave a Reply

    Ruth Ellis
    21st September 2013

    Mine was the Usborne First Cookbook – the one with the tiny chef army being hoisted into place to stir, mix, grate etc.
    I LOVED it. I used to sit and imaging making all the recipes (and I did make a fair few). I also used to spend hours leafing through my Mum’s proper grown up cook books. I think Mum still has my original at home…

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      22nd September 2013

      Oh go get it Ruth and bake something for a real nostalgic trip down memory lane.

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