How To Make Cocanes


You never know what you’re going to find when you look through really old cookbooks. This time the recipe is pretty normal … but the name. Are you kidding me? Did they not know what that sounded like?

If you don’t believe me, here’s a picture of the original recipe in the Ohio State Grange cookbook.

Name aside, how are they? I like them, but you should understand that I don’t like things as sweet as most people seem to. That’s why I rarely eat candy or pastries. When someone brings bagels, while everyone else fights over the cinnamon-raisin I’m going for the onion or pumpernickel.

So these are less sweet than most modern cookie recipes. Which, it turns out, is just how I like it.


2 cups brown sugar
1½ cups butter
5½ cups all-purpose flour
3 eggs
2½ teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons vanilla


Let the butter come to room temperature, then add the brown sugar and mash it together with your hands.

My wife says this is therapeutic.

Add the baking soda, vanilla and eggs.

And do a little more therapy.

I swear, you should have seen how much fun she had doing this.

Add the flour.

By this time her hands were so sticky I had to help out with the flour. Keep mixing until all the flour is incorporated.

This is, apparently, more soothing than playing with Play Doh™. She already wants to make them again. I’m afraid she might be developing a cocanes habit.

Ba-dump-bump. (Sorry, I’ve been holding that pun for the last ten minutes and couldn’t keep it in any longer. I apologize to anyone who doesn’t think drug references are funny. Spoilsport.)

Dust the counter or cutting board with flour.

Dust the rolling pin, too, or the dough will stick to it like glue.

Roll out about a quarter-inch thick and cut with cookie cutters.

Arrange on an ungreased baking sheet.

Give them a little room, but they rise more than they spread, so you don’t need to space them out like you would chocolate chip or other kinds of drop cookies.

You can leave them plain, and they’ll come out looking like gingerbread, or brush with a little milk and sprinkle with raw sugar. Bake at 350° until they are browned on the bottom and not too soft in the middle — about 10-12 minutes.

And that’s it.




  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1½ cups butter
  • 5½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 2½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla


Allow butter to come to room temperature and combine with butter. Add the remaining ingredients except the flour and mix together. Add the flour and mix until it is all incorporated.

Optionally brush the top with milk and top with raw sugar or sprinkles.

Bake at 350° until they are browned on the bottom and not too soft in the middle -- about 10-12 minutes.


  1. Barbara says:

    History of Cocaine Use — An Excerpt
    © 2000–2009 Pearson Education, publishing as Infoplease
    Andean Indians have long chewed leaves of the coca plant to decrease hunger and increase their stamina for work. Chewing the leaves produces no “high.” Cocaine was first extracted from coca in the 19th century and was at first hailed as a miracle drug. By the 1880s in the United States it was freely prescribed by physicians for such maladies as exhaustion, depression, and morphine addiction and was available in many patent medicines. After users and physicians began to realize its dangers and various regulations were enacted, its use decreased, and by the 1920s the epidemic had abated.

  2. Glad I’m not the only one who, on first glance at it in my email, thought it said “How To Make Cocaine”…LOL!

    Those look yummy too. And while we’re on the history lesson, cocaine is what made the original Coca Cola “refreshing” as advertised. Considering the hours so many of us work, adding family obligations to the pile, it’s a shame they don’t still make the original formulation. However, I’ll have one of those cookies instead!

  3. Barbara says:

    Oh, why did I post that? Well, because you were talking about the name of the cookie and “didn’t they know what it sounded like” and I just thought I should mention that back in the day, cocaine was “ok” and good for you so why would the name sound “funny” to them…

    Am I being confusing?

  4. LOVE LOVE LOVE your cookie cutters? Where did you get them? Can I order them online? Can’t wait to try these. Thanks!

  5. Margot, those are Cuisipro Snap Fit Cookie Cutters. I can’t find a reference for the exact set we’ve got, but they have a lot of options.

  6. They look delicious!
    I must admit I must have had a Mexican thing going on in my head when I saw the name because I would have pronounced them co-CAH-nes.

  7. I just made these for my family and they absolutely love them. I didn’t have any I’m GF but they didn’t last very long. Thanks for the recipe Drew.



  8. I have a similar recipe that had been published in the Bremerton Sun (WA) at about the same time as your cookbook. It may have even been from that cookbook, as far as that goes, and it seems like they gave the proninciation the same as Mary b’s. Glad to know what these are like, I’ll have to make them now

  9. Good grief! I have a hurt finger and can’t type–I meant pronunciation!

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