cookie dropper in-depth: vintage kitchen

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The Foley Cookie Dropper was a popular tool in mid-century American kitchens. Today, it has all but vanished. Does this clever kitchen gadget deserve a comeback, or does the cookie dropper deserve its fade into obscurity?

history

The Foley Company of Minneapolis manufactured the cookie dropper from 1950 to 1964. Other companies made similar items later on–some fairly recently–although none are in production today.

cookie dropper patent
image courtesy USPTO

The Foley Company patented an array of innovative kitchen items in the early to mid-1900s, including a food mill and a one-handed flour sifter (which was pretty revolutionary for a flour sifter).

Today, the cookie dropper is no longer in production. In most American kitchens, it has either disappeared altogether or been replaced by the cookie scoop.

Although cookie scoops offer a uniform shape, a scoop can only create one cookie size. A more traditional drop method allows for a wider range of cookie sizes without additional investment in kitchen tools.

specs

The Foley cookie Dropper is a small stainless steel tool that measures about 6 inches long and 2 inches wide. It’s around a half-inch thick, so it stores well in a kitchen drawer. It works the same whether held with the left or right hand, so this tool is lefty-friendly.

the test

The original cookie dropper packaging exclaims, “no spoon and finger!” So today, I’m putting it up against the traditional spoon-and-finger method that it was invented to improve upon.

For the dough, I’m using the Cocoa Drops recipe from the Betty Crocker Cooky Book. I added chocolate chips and sprinkle mix, because I want to see if the cookie dropper gets hung up on mix-ins, especially those that vary in size.

Betty Crocker’s Cooky Book is still in print, by the way; both new and used copies can be found on eBay. I bet they’re not too hard to find at garage sales, as well.

For each dropping method, I dropped the cookies at the fastest speed that was comfortable. I was aiming for teaspoonfuls as described in the recipe.

“Teaspoonfuls” is a term that has always seemed vague to me, but I interpret it to mean “medium size.” To keep the experiment consistent, I baked the cookies in the way they fell. I didn’t reshape the cookies at all after they were on the sheet.

cookie dropper being used

The chips and sprinkles didn’t trip up the cookie dropper, which was promising.

I thought the recipe I chose would turn out cuter than this, but the good news is that they taste great. The flavor is sort of like German Chocolate Cake.

speed

Including the time it took to wash the utensils afterward, the traditional drop method took 2:25 and the cookie dropper method took 2:22. Not exactly a big time savings, but maybe the cookie dropper will have strengths in other areas.

consistency

Next, I’m comparing the consistency of the cookie size. I’m not worried about the cookies being a specific size, just that they’re the same size as each other so they bake evenly.

The results were similar, but I think the traditional drop method resulted in a cookie size that was slightly more consistent. To be fair, this could probably be improved with practice.

attractiveness

It seems the traditional method was better in the shape department, as well. The cookie dropper cookies tended to be elongated or have lumpy appendages.

Looking at the results of my experiment here, it seems that the only real advantage to using a cookie dropper is that it keeps your hands out of the food (although a two-spoon method could also achieve this).

does the cookie dropper deserve a spot in the modern kitchen?

I suspect the dropper is helpful for bakers who are limited to using one hand due to a medical condition; for that, I would recommend it. But for the average baker, there’s no obvious advantage to using this gadget. I can see why the cookie dropper fell out of favor.

Judging by the results, cookie droppers offer a distinct lack of advantage in the kitchen. But there were a lot of these around in the mid-1900s, so I’m sure some people still prefer the cookie dropper today. If you’re one of those people, or if you think I’m missing a key advantage here, please drop a comment below to let me know what you think!

where can you find the cookie dropper?

cookie dropper

Interested in purchasing a cookie dropper? You’re in luck! Although this tool is no longer in production, used ones are fairly easy to find online by searching ‘cookie dropper’. The stainless steel holds up well and vintage cookie droppers are still common on eBay, so it’s a great gadget to buy vintage.

cherry pitter

Next time on Craft Revue: Vintage Kitchen, I’ll be checking out this classic push-button cherry pitter. Follow Craft Revue on YouTube to get notified when the new video goes up, or sign up for the Craft Revue newsletter to get periodically updated on the latest posts.

What vintage kitchen gadgets would you like to see featured here? Let me know in the comments below!