My Colorado friend Mike and I spent a good part of a Wednesday on Skype recreating his favorite childhood cookie. His grandmother Dorothy has been making these for him since he was about two. I'm guessing this recipe goes back at least to the 1940s, perhaps earlier.
The only addition I made was an extra teaspoon of vanilla and a little salt. I also decreased the milk by a half a cup. I think today our eggs are larger and I didn't need as much liquid as the recipe called for.
These cookies are very old time flavored with all the brown sugar and just a bit of cocoa powder. You can certainly modernize the recipe with more cocoa powder, less brown sugar, and by adding some granulated sugar.
4 1/2 cups flour
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup butter
4 Tablespoons cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup milk
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons real vanilla extract
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 1/3rd cup cocoa powder
6 cups powdered sugar
2/3 cups milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
Pecans, about 40 halves
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Place parchment paper on 3 large cookie sheets.
In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, & cocoa powder. With mixer cream butter with sugar until fluffy, then add eggs vanilla and milk. Add flour mixture in quarters until just combined. Measure dough into 1 ounce pieces, roll into a ball and flatten slightly into a disk shape. Place on cookie sheets about 1 inch apart. Bake for 9 to 10 minutes. Allow to cool on the cookie sheets for 4 minutes and remove to a cooling rack. Let cool completely.
Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until combined. Then process for about a minute to make slightly fluffy.
Place on a jelly roll sheet and bake in the oven at 375 degrees for 4 or 5 minutes shaking every minute or two until toasty. Immediately spread out on a plate and let cool.
With an offset spatula frost each cookie and set a pecan half on the center.