Cocoa Buttons

One day as a thank you for delivering homemade cookies to her house, a sweet lady from my church gave me a recipe book. But it’s not just any recipe book, it’s “The Ultimate Cookie Book” published 19 years ago. I’m pretty sure the faded cover of the book proves a few years lying idle but it certainly hasn’t sat idle at my house. Why? Because Adelaide and Oliver discovered it. Once a week  I let them study the book for the cookie they want to bake together. We call it our “Weekly Cookie.” (I know … so creative.)

This week’s cookie is Cocoa Buttons. Considering my kids’ reading level hasn’t reached that of a cookbook, pictures are everything. I must admit they are cute (and tasty) cookies. I made a few adjustments  (as usual) which are noted below.


1/2 cup butter

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 egg

2 tbsp Hersey’s chocolate syrup (The original recipe calls for instant coffee crystals dissolved in 1 tbsp hot water but I wanted to make it kid friendly but still have some richness.)

2 tbsp cocoa powder

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour


Cream butter with brown sugar. Add egg  and beat well.

Add chocolate syrup and mix well.

Add cocoa powder and then gradually add flour until well mixed.

Divide and shape the dough into a two logs about 2 inches in diameter. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. (We did one batch after it was in the fridge for about about an hour due to kids’ impatience. They were all out of shape but still tasted good. We were more patient and did the second roll the next day.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease cookie sheets or line them with parchment paper.

Slice dough into 1/4 inch slices and place on cookie sheet. Use a plastic drinking straw to punch four holes in each to round cookie to make it look like a button.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until the cookies become slightly firm. Transfer cookies to wire rack to cool. Store in an air tight container. Enjoy!

Cotton Cookie Campout still reigns

It was my father’s sure-fire solution to the whole sneak-the-cookies situation. My older brother Aaron was a master at sneaking cookies and leaving the empty cookie container. One day my father had just had it.

“I bet if you were allowed to eat as many cookies as you could want, you wouldn’t be able to eat as many as you do now.”

My brother disagreed.

Several days later my father announced the Cotton Cookie Campout.


Papa always treats the kids to a ride in his latest fun motorized vehicle: four-wheeler, tractor, truck or this year’s “Tonka Truck”.

My brothers and sisters and I picked out packages of store-bought cookies (a real treat since we only had homemade ones growing up) and packed them and gallons of milk for the night of the Cotton Cookie Campout. We piled into my father’s truck … yes all 10 of us … and drove to some remote “perfect location.” My brothers and father pitched the tents and built the fire and my sisters and I organized the other stuff. Then … we gorged.

Pecan Sandies, Oreos, Danish Wedding Cookies, Magic Middles (remember those?), Chips Ahoy, Ginger Snaps … the collection was amazing to my 10-year-old eyes.

“Aaahhhhh no. There are still some cookies left!” My Dad would say when one of us mentioned our bellies feeling full. He was determined to be right.

And he was. The thrill of “illegal” cookies stoked the hunger for the sugar. Once it was allowed, the consumption was just a little less sweet. My father made his point and a tradition was born.


The camping part now stays in Grandma’s living room. Adelaide is zonked out with her cousins.

Last night we had out 28th Annual Cotton Cookie Campout. Well … it has evolved into Cotton Cookie Campfire since no one really camps out out any more except for the occasional tent in Grandma’s living room. And the homemade cookies outnumber the store-bought varieties since we now far prefer our personal baked creations.

One thing remains the same: the night and the memories could be no sweeter.