Date Drop Cookies

If you’ve never had a drop biscuit, imagine a rock cake, without the rockiness. As these went so well, I decided to try another variation, this time from The Complete Book of Desserts by Ann Seranne (1952, Faber and Faber for the Cookery Book Club) which has recipe for several kinds, including chocolate, almond and molasses (which is definitely on my list). This section of the ‘Small cakes and cookies’ chapter is called ‘Some Old Cooky Jar Favorites’.

Date Drop Cookies

1/2 cup butter [i.e. 4oz]
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups enriched flour
2 teaspoons double acting baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup dates
1/4 cup milk

Blend butter, sugar, egg and vanilla.

Combine flour, baking powder and salt and stir in the sliced dates. Add flour-date mixture alternately with milk to butter mixture.

Drop batter from teaspoon onto baking tray rubbed with shortening and bake at 350 degrees, for 12 – 15 minutes. makes 2 dozen 2-inch cookies.


  • I decided to make the full amount – 24, yikes! The ingredients however made more than 24. Try 30, more like 32, if I hadn’t eaten some of the dough.
  • I used slightly less salt as I was using rather salty salted butter.
  • It didn’t specify what kind of sugar, so I chose crunchy demarara, as opposed to a soft, dark sugar. I also made a mistake when measuring, adding a 1/2 cup and then a 1/3 cup of sugar, rather than a 1/4.


date drop cookies

As you can see, they are a variety of shapes – the ones at the top and back of the oven flattened instantly as the butter melted in the heat, while those in the cooler parts maintained a domed shape whilst cooking more slowly. I decided to brown some more than other to compare flavours and I prefer the slightly crunchier, darker ones. They were rather sweet and in need of a bit of nutmeg or cinnamon but the full flavour and  moisture of the dates seemed a better option than chocolate chips.

My regular taster (not a fan of incredibly sweet things) pronounced them decent and managed to put away 3.

Update (12.10.09) These are still delicious after two weeks in a not-completely air-tight tin. They’re slightly softer and the flavour has improved.

Dated and dropped by Elly


3 responses to “Date Drop Cookies

  1. If it’s an American cookbook, brown sugar means the soft kind you pack into the measuring cup. Demerara or turbinado sugar would be specified and treated as rather exotic, in my experience. OTOH, I think the crunchiness sounds like a nice addition to the recipe.

    Also, as an American, the idea of drop cookies being something unusual is pretty funny, because they’re the most common thing you can imagine here. And while I know biscuit=cookie, I had to reread the sentence because a drop biscuit is another thing entirely.

    I love this blog, BTW. Very entertaining and educational.

  2. Really!? Now I’m tempted to make some more with soft, dark sugar to see how they turn out! (It is a US cookbook.)

    I have made American biscuits (that is, the fluffy scone-cousins) before and rather like them.

  3. The fluffy scone-cousins are great–I make them all the time. Drop biscuits, if you didn’t know, is what we call the ones that aren’t rolled out and cut, but dropped on the baking sheet. They are also called “emergency biscuits.”