I procrastinated in making my family recipe for this month. Mostly because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to make. I should have made Nanny’s Sugar Cookie and decorated them for Christmas but I just didn’t “feel” like it. Then, this morning, I had an email from Lynda who thought maybe she had missed my recipe for this month! I had to fess up that I hadn’t made anything yet and that I would work on it today!

I looked through all Nanny’s recipes and came across one for the Chocolate Chip Cookies pictured in the photograph’s above. I had never made this recipe and I probably have never had it before either. Nanny didn’t make Chocolate Chip Cookies as often as she made her soft sugar, ginger or pineapple cookies. She would make them sometimes and I do remember one time we made them together but she used the recipe from the back of the chocolate chip bag! Maybe she didn’t like the recipe below? Maybe she forgot she had this recipe? Or, maybe it was just easier to use the recipe on the chocolate chip bag! I don’t know. But, I wanted to make it because it was in the pile of recipe cards that Nanny had.

See below for instructions
**I also notice the word optional is misspelled 😉

The recipe written on the card is all that was there. When my Aunts and I got together to photograph these recipes we were all puzzled as to whom the handwriting belonged to because I wasn’t any of ours, wasn’t my mom’s and certainly wasn’t my Nanny’s. We are thinking it may have been my Great Grandmother Lottie Clark who wrote this recipe out, and after reading the recipe I think we could be right.

When some of you read this recipe you may wonder what top milk is. If you grew up on a farm or around a farm, you might know. Top milk is the cream that rises to the top of the milk. When I was very young (but old enough to remember!) I had milk straight from the bulk tank at my Uncle Jimmy’s. I didn’t really care for it because it was unpasteurized and tasted too much like how the cow smelled to me. Now don’t laugh cause it’s true!!

Since the recipe called for top milk and all I have in the house for the most part is skim milk I went ahead and used heavy cream I had left over from holiday recipes. I figured that was the closest I was going to get to top milk although probably richer since top milk would have some of the milk from below get mixed in when you took it out of the milk can! Yes, I am so old I remember the day’s that milk was picked up by drivers who would collect it in a milk can. ;o) My Aunt Pat (who passed away way too young) used to be one of those drivers who collected the milk cans!

Family Recipes Logo
This is my submission for the Family Recipe event that is co-hosted with Laura of The Spiced Life and Lynda of Lynda’s Recipe Box. The round up will be sometime after the end of this month and can be found on Lynda’s blog!

You may also notice there is no butter and no vanilla in this recipe. If I made these again I would probably put some vanilla in for flavor. My instinct was to do it anyway but I wanted to taste the recipe as close as I could to how it was written. Now, pay attention to this next statement….if you do not like crunchy crisp chocolate chip cookies that you can dunk in your milk….then this recipe is not for you! Grumpy won’t even eat them because they are crunchy. I would eat it with a glass of milk and dunk my cookie or I would dunk it in my tea.

There were no directions on how to mix the recipe I will tell you below how I put them together.

***Mix sugars, milk (or heavy cream), egg and salt until well blended. Stir in two cups of flour and baking soda. Add 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips, 1 cup chopped pecans (what I used). Using small cookie scoop place on parchment lined cookie sheet, leaving enough room for cookies to spread some. Bake in 350 oven for 12-14 minutes.***

These cookies do spread out. I wasn’t sure if they would or not when I put them in so I put the first batch in and told myself if they didn’t spread out that I would flatten them some when I put the next batch in. Didn’t need to do so! This recipe made 30 cookies.

About the Author: Shelby Law Ruttan

Shelby is the author/owner of Grumpy's Honeybunch. Established in 2007, she shares and preserves family recipes as well as recipes for cooking light and keto. She is an experienced, self-taught home cook who loves to share recipes with others. You can see her work on websites such as Veal Made Easy, Parade, Community Table, SoFab Food, Yummly, and FoodGawker.


  1. honeyb December 30, 2009 at 12:37 am - Reply

    What a really interesting recipe! I did notice there was no fat such as butter/shortening. I suppose cream has enough fat. That this is interesting makes me want to try it. My dad would love the crispiness.

  2. Sandra Kay Vrooman Turner December 30, 2009 at 1:03 am - Reply

    Well Shelby you are not the only one that knew topmilk is the cream. I was raised on unpasturized milk and so I know drink 2% since to me skim is colored water. Hope you had a great Christmas.

  3. Linda December 30, 2009 at 1:30 am - Reply

    HoneyB, I remember top milk–I always dipped it off with a mental "ewwww", although now I would think it was wonderful and would love to bake with it! LOL on thinking the milk smelled like the cow :))

    I wonder if the recipe was developed during the depression or the war, when butter was in short supply.

    Very interesting & fun post!

  4. Heidi December 30, 2009 at 1:35 am - Reply

    I love old family recipes!! I think those pineapple cookies your granny made sound great. I've never had a pineapple cookie. You are so lucky to have her old recipes. My grandma's out of this world mayo chocolate cake recipe went to the grave with her 🙁

  5. HoneyB December 30, 2009 at 1:49 am - Reply

    Sandy, I probably prefer skim milk to drink because I never cared to drink milk unless I had cookies or cake anyway…and to me whole milk is so rich and too thick.

    Granny, I would probably bake with it, but I still don't want anything to do with drinking it! lol

    Heidi, I will make the pineapple cookies soon! I bought crushed pineapple just yesterday with them in mind.

    My grandmother's mayonnaise cake recipe is on my blog – I actually talk about it being my favorite and how I would ask her to make it for my birthday!

  6. Mags December 30, 2009 at 2:04 am - Reply

    I also knew what top milk was. You've got a bunch of old coots reading your blog…LOL!

  7. Anna December 30, 2009 at 2:14 am - Reply

    I LOVE crunchy, crispy chocolate chip cookies…that is, when they're not burnt ;). This recipe sounds really interesting.

  8. Lynda December 30, 2009 at 3:22 am - Reply

    I know what topmilk is, since I was raised in the country…I love that you actually had your great grandmother's recipe, Shelby. I'd love to dip one of these in a cup of coffee. This is a wonderful submission to "Family Recipes"!

  9. Flourchild December 30, 2009 at 3:58 am - Reply

    What a great post. It made me feel so happy inside. The recipe card made me think of all the ones I have from my dear grandma. The top milk brought back memories of days spent on my dads best friends cattle ranch. Oh the times we had with the cattle and the wide praries of Nebraska! I remember drinking that top milk too and thinking gross..and stinky!Your cookies look good and I have to say nothings better then a good chocolate chip cookie!

  10. theUngourmet December 30, 2009 at 5:29 am - Reply

    I have family recipes just like this with no instructions. It looks like you did it just right! They look great!

  11. Patsyk December 30, 2009 at 2:30 pm - Reply

    I love that you have preserved the family recipes this way! This recipe looks wonderful, and top milk was something new to me… I'll have to ask my mom about that.

  12. Bellini Valli December 30, 2009 at 3:36 pm - Reply

    The best recipes are still those that are passed down from generation to generation. As always a recipe is a guideline so definitely add vanilla next time if your heart tells you too. Who knows granny may have done so:D

  13. Susie December 30, 2009 at 4:58 pm - Reply

    I didn't know what "top milk" was, but as a girl we lived next door to people who had a milk cow and often had gallons and gallons of fresh milk. Sadly, as a child I did not like milk!!! I never really developed at taste for milk until I was pregnant with KK – and then I started drinking it in the mornings, 'cuz it settled my tummy. I drink a glass (usually skim) everyday now. I love your family recipes….. It just makes my heart happy.

  14. Katy ~ December 30, 2009 at 8:07 pm - Reply

    i can't tell you how much I dislike raw milk for the same reason!!not only does it smell like the cow, to me it also smells like the BARN!!!! Totally gross. At the local country fair, they sell fresh ice cream. Yep, can't tolerate it. I can still taste the barn in it. Give me grocery store ice cream any day!

  15. Mari @ Once Upon a Plate December 30, 2009 at 9:46 pm - Reply

    What a fun post Shelby, I love the history and the mystery surrounding it!

    All the best in 2010 to you and your family, my friend! xo ~m

  16. Nina's Recipes December 31, 2009 at 3:12 am - Reply

    May all your dreams come true and may you be blessed with all the best things in life!
    Happy New Year 2010! XO

  17. pegasuslegend December 31, 2009 at 4:04 pm - Reply

    These are mouth watering and of course a favorite cooking in my household wonderful recipe thank you …this has been a great year getting to know fantastic foodie bloggers like yourself and I am looking forward to 2010 with sharing more of your wonderful recipes thank you Claudia

  18. pigpigscorner January 1, 2010 at 5:51 pm - Reply

    I've never heard of top milk! interesting. Happy new year!

  19. Free Samples January 1, 2010 at 7:39 pm - Reply

    Have a great new year! Thanks for all these awesome posts!!

  20. honeyb January 1, 2010 at 10:09 pm - Reply

    I made these a couple days ago. While they were not my favorite, of all people, my husband really liked them. I only baked them for 11 minutes. They were fun to try, thanks for the recipe.

  21. Laura January 4, 2010 at 8:41 pm - Reply

    What a fun recipe. Like Grumpy, I usually eschew crunchy cookies, but I would have had to try these. I love heirloom recipes!

    Sorry I've been MIA lately–just barely keeping up with my blog has taken about all of the online time I've had!

  22. Graziana January 6, 2010 at 9:14 am - Reply

    one of my 2010 resolutions is to learn to make chocolate cookies… I think I will start with this recipe, thank you!

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Shelby Welcome! I'm Shelby, author of Grumpy's Honeybunch. I have been sharing family favorite recipes since 2007. I started the Keto Diet in October 2017 and since then I have been creating Keto ... read more

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