This is a cookie with a past. My editor, Judith Jones, remembers fondly these big, rich, crisp cookies that she used to get as a child from the nearby Schrafft’s. Schrafft’s was originally a Boston company, but it had thriving bakeries and restaurants all over New York that have since disappeared. So we asked James Beard where we could get the original recipe. Judith wanted to include it in the book about New England she was writing with her husband, and I wanted it for my Fannie Farmer Baking Book. James, as always, responded in a flash and procured the recipe from the retired head of the company. The formula was for about 20 pounds of cookies and called for hydrogenated industrial products we’d never heard of. “Just use Crisco and a little butter,” James advised, and so we did, reducing the amounts to workable numbers. The cookies are always a great hit with anyone tasting them for the first time, and will bring back memories for those who grew up on Schrafft’s.
- 2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
- ¾ cup vegetable shortening, at room temperature (James Beard always preferred Crisco)
- 1¼ cups packed dark brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons nonfat dry milk
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup finely chopped pecans
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease cookie sheets.
Combine the butter and shortening in a large mixing bowl and beat for a few seconds. Add the sugar and beat until creamy. Add the egg, dry milk, and vanilla and beat until light.
Stir the flour, baking soda, and salt with a fork to mix and lighten. Add to the sugar-butter mixture and blend. Stir in the pecans and mix well.
Drop heaping tablespoonfuls of dough 2 inches apart onto the cookie sheets. Dip the bottom of a glass 3 inches in diameter into flour and use it to press the dough down in a circle of the same dimension. If the dough sticks a little as you lift off the glass, scrape it from the glass and just pat any bits back into the circle of dough to make it even and neatly round. Dip the glass into the flour again after each pressing.
Bake the cookies for 7 to 10 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and gently lift the cookies onto a rack. Let cool and store in an airtight container.
Serving size is based on 1 cookie.