What was it like growing up in Big Sur in the early ’70s? Well, I learned how to invent and innovate as I had to find things with which to entertain myself without much help from grown-ups, who were far too busy being inventive themselves, doing stuff such as envisioning ways to harness alternative energy sources like solar power, growing and raising their own organic produce and of course dedicating some time for mind expansion and not a few wild parties to reap the benefits of all that hard work! A hard job but somebody had to do it. In fact, when you think about it they foreshadowed trends regarded today as forward-looking and progressive; anyone who glibly dismisses the hippie movement as a silly fad will be in for a massive re-think after a stroll down the aisles of Whole Foods!
That setting was truly productive in the long run. But for those of us kids who were there at the time, in some ways it was a pretty rugged row to hoe, between the whole home schooling thing and having to be disciplined enough to keep plugging away at it, and the continual search for things to keep us entertained. Hey, it’s not just that there was no Internet — there wasn’t even any TV (no reception and pre-VCRs)!
One thing we did have was radio, although it didn’t come in except sometimes very late at night we could get a channel on my little blue AM transistor jobbie and tune into “Mystery Theater,” which much to our delight came in about the time we were going to bed! And then of course there was reading, which luckily hasn’t gone out of style . . . yet. Not Kindle, but real bunches of bound paper. Sometimes it was slim pickin’s, but for me any book was a good book, sometimes several times over; if I ran out of new selections I’d just start re-reading the pile. One such book which sticks out in my mind is still one of my all-time favorites: “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” penned in 1964 (coincidentally, that was the year I was born) by British author Roahl Dahl. And there is no doubt in my mind that my “Kooky Cookies” clearly were influenced by that book . . . although, other than that, I have no clue as to how/why my mind came up with these — it does work in mysterious ways (my mind, that is). And, to bottom-line it, these cookies were so good they were gone in no time.

Kooky Cookies:
Preheat oven to 375º F and have ready 2 ungreased cookie sheets.

Mix together
1 cup all purpose flour, sifted
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
and set aside.

 In another bowl cream together
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 stick unsalted butter softened
until light and fluffy, add,
1 lg. egg at room temp
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
until well combined, add,
Flour mixture to butter mixture until combined, then add
1 cup Hershey’s Special Dark Pieces
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
3/4 cup broken pretzels

Chill for 1/2 hr., then drop by teaspoonfuls on to cookie sheet about 2″ apart.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until light golden brown.

Cool on a rack and devour. Awesome!

And as always, enjoy!!!
© Jennifer Green Alger 2010