Desserts

Baking without…Sugar: Spicy Raisin Cookies

This recipe is next in the “Baking without…Sugar” series. It’s difficult to make sweet desserts and treats without sugar, but home front housewives did their best using the resources they had at hand. These spicy raisin cookies are from a December 1944 Woman’s Day Kitchen recipe. The recipe would have cost 27 cents and it was published in the January 1945 issue of Woman’s Day. 

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Spicy Raisin Cookies

2 1/2 c. sifted cake flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 tsp ground allspice

1/2 tsp ginger

3/4 c. raisins

1 egg, well beaten

3/4 c. molasses

3/4 c. sausage fat

Mix and sift dry ingredients. Add raisins. Add combined egg, molasses, and cooled melted fat all at once. Mix this well. Drop onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375° for about 15 minutes.

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Results

First, a couple of notes. The recipe called for a grade B egg. Grade B eggs are not available where I live. I substituted Crisco for the sausage fat. I also adjusted the cooking time. Fifteen minutes in my oven resulted in cookies with burned bottoms. Ten minutes worked much better.

The cookies were a little on the dry side. They were not overly sweet. The raisins added a nice chewy texture. I think these would be nice with some chopped nuts added into the batter, and maybe a few more raisins. There’s definitely a molasses taste to them, so if raisins or molasses aren’t your favorites, I’d skip these.  I had the same 9 testers as before, and everyone said that these were not their favorites, but they weren’t terrible, either. I think that if I was a home front housewife on the last of my sugar for the month, these would make a decent dessert to hold my family over until we were able to get more sugar to bake with. If I wanted something sweeter, but without sugar, I would go with the Rolled Maple Lace Wafers instead.

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Baking without…Sugar: Rolled Maple Lace Wafers

Sugar was first rationed in 1942. It was the first consumer commodity rationed but was soon to be followed by items like meat, coffee, and processed foods. Beginning on May 5, 1942, each person could receive a half pound of sugar a week. A pound of granulated sugar contains roughly 2 cups. In 1942, this was cutting the average family’s sugar consumption in half.

Home front housewives struggled to adapt to cooking with new restrictions, and magazines and cookbooks provided recipes to help them find appealing dishes for their family meals and desserts. This series of recipes is from the January 1945 issue of Woman’s Day. For recipes that don’t use eggs, check out that series beginning with Cocoa Cake with Chocolate Glaze

This recipe is the first of three that don’t require sugar. Unfortunately, this recipe didn’t turn out the way it was supposed to. These little cookies still tasted terrific, they just weren’t anything like the recipe suggests they should be! More on that in a minute.

Rolled Maple Lace Wafers.

1/2 c. maple-flavored pancake syrup

1/4 c. margarine

1/2 c. sifted flour

1/8 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp baking powder

A few grains of salt

Combine the syrup and margarine in a saucepan. Bring it to a boil, stirring constantly. When it is at a hard boil, keep it there for 30 seconds. Sift the remaining ingredients together and add them all at once to the syrup and margarine mixture. Stir briskly. This dough will be lumpy. Drop half teaspoonfuls on a greased cookie sheet about 5 inches apart. Bake at 350° for 6 to 8 minutes until they are golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 1 minute. Remove each wafer from the cookie sheet and roll it around a round handled spoon, then place it on a rack to cool. Don’t bake more than 8 cookies at once because they will harden too fast to roll on the spoon. If they do harden too much, you can return them to the oven for a few seconds.

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Results

The cookies should be little rolled wafers. We tried over and over to get this recipe to work, but we finally gave up and just baked them as cookies. Our cookies were too cakey inside to allow them to roll without breaking. The recipe says it makes about 2 1/2 dozen wafers, but if you make cookies the size of the ones you see here, it only makes about a dozen.

The cookies were tasty. They were soft and tasted like maple syrup on a pancake. They did taste better fresh out of the oven, so warming them when cold would probably be best. We ate them with tea and milk.

 

The Dishes

The cookies are displayed on an Anchor Hocking Vintage pattern snack set from the 1950s-1960s. These snack sets are handy for serving everything from sandwiches to cookies. We’ve used them for brunches, luncheons, afternoon teas, parties, and bedtime snacks. I’m not sure why these don’t seem to be made anymore. They are amazingly versatile.

First Monday Menu: 1943 Lunchtime Rationed Menu

One of the challenges during the war years was creating menus that were varied, healthy, and appealing. As time went on, more and more commonly eaten foods either became scarce or were subject to rationing. Women’s magazines, newspapers, and cookbooks frequently contained articles or chapters with information and tips for meal planning with changing food availability.

The early 1940s saw many specialized publications aimed at teaching women to can, plant a Victory garden, or care for specific appliances, for example. These ranged from small pamphlets to larger softcover books and booklets. Many of these not only included information about canning or refrigerator care, but also contained recipes, meal planning tips, and menus. These publications were distributed by appliance companies, energy companies, and so on to both promote their business and offer help to homemakers.

Today’s menu comes from one such booklet. It’s the ABC of Wartime Canning by Josephine Gibson. In the foreword, Gibson explains that she wanted to include recipes to help homemakers create meals regardless of what was rationed or scarce. The copy I have seems to be a sample copy showing where you could have your company information printed on the cover prior to distribution.

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This booklet is full of interesting information. I’ll write a post on it in the near future. Today’s menu comes from a page titled “A Week’s Point-Saving Menus for a Family of Four (at a Moderate Cost)”. I chose a lunch menu because I think sometimes lunches are more difficult to plan, especially when it needs to be quick, yet healthy, or when the entire family might not be home.

 

Lunch

Scrambled Egg Sandwiches

Baked Apples

Cocoa

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Addie from @sugaraddies was on hand to help me out again. We scrambled eggs with chopped red pepper and onion. The onion and pepper could have been store-bought or grown in a Victory Garden. Many people raised chickens, too, so the eggs might have been from home instead of the store. There were shortages of eggs at times, but they were never rationed in the United States.

We sliced a loaf of French-style bread, buttered the slices, and toasted them lightly in the oven.

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We used a baked apple recipe from The Good Housekeeping Cook Book as a starter.

Baked Apples

6 large firm red apples

1 c. granulated sugar

1 c. water

2 tbsp granulated sugar

cream

Core the apples, then pare them to about 1/3 of the way down from the top. Arrange in a baking dish. Boil the water and the 1 cup sugar together for 10 minutes and then pour this mixture over the apples. Bake at 350° until tender. Baste frequently. Cooking time depends on the apples. It might take up to an hour. Sprinkle 1 tsp of sugar over each apple.

Put the pan under the broiler and baste often. Watch them carefully until the sugar melts and the apples are a light brown. Serve hot or cold with plain or whipped cream. Corn syrup can replace half the sugar.

If desired, the apple peelings can be cooked with the sugar and water for 10 minutes to color the syrup. Remove after this step.

Baked Stuffed Apples

Using the above recipe, add a cooked prune, a cut-up pitted date, or raisins just before sprinkling with sugar and placing under the broiler.

We sliced our apples in half and scooped out the core. We added raisins and brown sugar when we sprinkled the sugar over each apple.

Results

With the addition of cocoa, this would make a filling lunch for a cool or rainy day. I like that this menu used several things that could have been grown at home or purchased without using ration points. It’s also a meal that would appeal to adults and children. Those baked apples are a delicious treat!

Notice that the recipe for the baked apples include a note that corn syrup could be substituted for half of the sugar in the recipe. This was to offer the housewife a way to stretch her precious sugar rations.

The Original Chocolate Chip Cookie: Toll House Chocolate Crunch Cookies

Here they are! This is the original recipe for chocolate chip cookies. You can find the history of this recipe in my last blog post:  Ruth Wakefield’s Toll House Tried and True Recipes. 

I’m pretty sure this is the chocolate chip cookie recipe I grew up with. These cookies are the perfect blend of cookie, chocolate, and nuts. They are a wonderful warm gooey after school treat. They are the ultimate portable snack and are great in lunch boxes or for office parties. Even if you have a favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, trying the original is a fun way to touch a little bit of history. Enjoy!

Toll House Chocolate Crunch Cookies

1 c. butter

3/4 c. brown sugar

3/4 granulated sugar

2 eggs, beaten whole

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp hot water

2 1/4 c. flour

1 tsp salt

1 c. chopped nuts

2 bars (7 oz each) Nestlé semi-sweet chocolate cut into pea-size pieces

1 tsp vanilla

Cream the butter and add the brown sugar, sugar, and eggs. Dissolve the baking soda in the hot water and add to the mixture. Sift the flour and salt together and add to the batter. Add the chopped nuts, chocolate, and vanilla. Drop half teaspoons on a greased cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes at 375°. Makes 100 cookies.

Thanks again to Addie at Sugar Addie’s.

 

Ruth Wakefield’s Toll House Tried and True Recipes

Ruth Wakefield’s Toll House Tried and True Recipes is a fairly recent addition to my vintage cookbook collection. I have the 1941 edition.  I used an included menu as this month’s First Monday Menu. After researching a bit, I thought the cookbook and its author deserved its own post.

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Ruth Graves Wakefield (1903-1977) was an American chef, educator, and author. She began her career in 1924 at Brockton High School as a home economics teacher. She lectured about food and was a hospital dietitian. She also had experience as a customer service director for a utility company. In 1930, she and her husband purchased the Toll House Inn in Whitman, Massachusetts. It was a historic location where travelers had once paid a toll, rested, changed horses, and had a meal before getting on their way. The Wakefields purchased the Inn and opened a restaurant there. She used family recipes and created new ones that became very popular. She invented chocolate chip cookies around 1938 and they became a popular staple.

Her chocolate chips were actually cut up pieces of Nestlé semi-sweet bars. She was deliberately trying to create a new kind of cookie for her customers. In 1930, she wrote the above-mentioned cookbook and began including her chocolate chip cookie recipe in the 1938 edition. Of course, I really want to try this recipe. I’m a big fan of chocolate chip cookies and would love to use the very first recipe. The recipe is called the “Toll House Chocolate Crunch Cookie” in the cookbook.

The cookie recipe was featured in the Boston Herald and in a radio program hosted by “Betty Crocker”.

Another fun link to this era is that the spread of the cookies began when WWII soldiers from Massachusetts would get care packages with Mrs. Wakefield’s cookies and would share them with their fellow soldiers. This resulted in nationwide requests for cookies and spread the word about the chocolately cookies coming out of the Toll House Inn.

Since the recipe called for Nestlé bars, Nestlé saw their chocolate bar sales go up. In 1939, Ruth Wakefield and Nestlé came to an agreement that they would print the cookie recipe on the chocolate wrappers. She let them use the Toll House name and recipe in exchange for one dollar and a lifetime supply of chocolate. Nestlé soon began making chips made just for cookies. I have some bars of Nestlé semi-sweet chocolate and the recipe is no longer printed on the wrapper. I’ll have to check to see if it is on the semi-sweet chip packaging.

I have the 1941 version of the cookbook. The book includes meal planning tips in addition to suggested menus for different occasions. There are instructions for canning and entertaining tips. Other sections helped the home front housewife with her laundry problems and gave first aid instructions. There is also advice on maintaining the kitchen and its appliances, as well as directions on proper table setting and service. I love that there are so many topics addressed in the book and I think it gives us a nice glimpse into the home front housewife’s daily life or at least some of the expectations of what it meant to be an ideal housewife in the early 1940s.

Many of the recipes in the book do not have an ingredient list followed by instructions for making the recipe. You have to read the recipe carefully to make sure you know the ingredients and the correct amount of each. I have found that to be frustrating because it’s very easy to miss something. A few times, there is just an ingredient listed and no amount. When I use these recipes on my blog, I’ll do my best to come up with ingredient lists for you to follow.

I do love this cookbook. Watch for the original Toll House cookie recipe taste test in a day or so. I also have other cookbooks that I will showcase in the coming weeks. They are more like household manuals than cookbooks, and I find that a wonderful way to look into the past.

 

 

First Monday Menu: Vegetable Chowder, Popovers, and Dutch Apple Cake with Lemon Sauce

For the first Monday of August, we went with something light as the main dish. This menu is from Ruth Wakefield’s Toll House Tried and True Recipes (1941)It was listed in the  “inexpensive everyday meals” section. This recipe book deserves a post of its own, so I’ll have that ready for you later this week.

The recipes in this book are written a bit differently than I’m used to, so it was a little more difficult to determine what the ingredients were and how much of certain items was needed. In fact, the apples in the apple cake were only mentioned once when the recipe called for pressing apples into the batter. There was no other mention of how many apples we needed, or if they were to be peeled and sliced, and so on. I’ve tried to fix that for you here because these are great recipes that should be tried in today’s kitchens.

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Vegetable Chowder

1/3 c. half-inch cubes salt pork

1 onion, finely chopped

1 1/2 c. half-inch potato cubes

1/2 c. diced celery

1/2 c. half-inch parsnip cubes

1 c. carrots, cut in thin strips

1/2 c. green peppers, chopped

1 qt. boiling water

3 c. hot milk

2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1/4 c. dried bread crumbs

1 tsp chopped parsley

Serves 6.

Cook the salt pork in a saucepan until crisp. Remove the pork. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes. Add the potato cubes, celery, parsnip cubes, carrots, green peppers, and the water. Cook about 20 minutes until vegetables are tender. Add the milk, salt, pepper, bread crumbs, and parsley.

Popovers

2 c. flour

1/2 tsp salt

2 c. milk

2 eggs, beaten until light

Mix and sift the flour and salt. Add the milk gradually so the mixture doesn’t get lumpy. Add the eggs. Beat 3 minutes with an egg beater. Pour into hot, well-greased iron gem pans at 450°, then decrease heat to 350° for 15 minutes. This recipe makes 2 dozen.

Note: We baked ours in muffin pans and adjusted the time in the oven accordingly.

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Dutch Apple Cake

2 1/2 cups flour

3 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

3 tbsp sugar

4 tbsp butter

1 egg

1 1/4 milk

2 apples, peeled and sliced

1/4 c. sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Mix and sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and 3 tbsp sugar. Cut the butter into the dry ingrediants. In a separate bowl, beat the egg and milk. Stir into the first mixture. Put this in a shallow buttered pan and press the edges of the apple slices into the dough. Sprinkle with a mixture of 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 cup cinnamon. Glaze with lemon sauce.

Lemon Sauce

1 c. sugar

3 tbsp flour

pinch of salt

2 c. boiling water

Juice and zest of 1 lemon

2 tbsp butter

Mix sugar, flour, and salt and gradually add the water, stirring consistently to keep the mixture smooth. Boil for 5 minutes. Add the lemon zest,  juice, and butter. Pour over cake.

Results

The vegetable chowder was very bland. We added onion powder, garlic powder, and beef bouillon to try to add some flavor. It helped, but if we made it again, we would use broth instead of the water. It was a nice light soup for a hot summer day. The popovers were light and fluffy and went well with the soup.  They had little air pockets in them that would have been a great place to put some jam and butter.

The cake was the star of this menu. Three different people commented that it looked like a giant apple cinnamon roll. It was sweet and warm and gooey. The lemon sauce added a bit of tartness. It would make a great weekend breakfast and would shine in a brunch spread. Addie (@sugaraddies) placed the apples in a rosette, an idea that really worked well in the round pan. We’ll definitely make this again.

 

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Small Summer Fruits: Fruit Crumble

The August 1943 issue of Woman’s Day included an article called “The Small Summer Fruits” in the war food section. The article included a selection of recipes for berries, cherries, currants, and other small fruits. I thought this would be a great time to try these 75-year-old recipes since fruits and berries are plentiful right now. We will start with a fruit crumble. Without the fruit, this recipe would have cost 8 cents in 1943.

We used raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries in our crumble. We also doubled the recipe because we were feeding 9 people. I’m including the original recipe here.

Fruit Crumble

2 c. prepared berries, cherries, or currants

2/3 c. sugar*

Juice of 1 lemon

3 tbsp margarine

2/3 c. sifted flour

1/8 tsp salt

Place the fruit in the bottom of a 1-quart baking dish with half of the sugar. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Blend the margarine, remaining sugar, flour, and salt together. Sprinkle this mixture over the fruit. Bake for 40 minutes at 350°. Serve hot or cold.

*If currants or gooseberries are used, increase the sugar to 3/4 cups.

Results

We ate this shortly after it came out of the oven. It was very sweet and the topping was lightly crunchy. The strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries we used were fresh and sweet, but the added sugar took that sweetness up a notch. This is the kind of recipe that just begs to be eaten with ice cream, so a few of my testers added some vanilla ice cream to their serving. It would make a nice ending to an outdoor neighborhood get-together or would top off a night of board games or stargazing. I like how the taste experience will change depending on the fruits chosen. Plus, it’s super easy to make.

I’d like to include one or two more of the recipes from this article. There were some less familiar dishes that I’d like to try. Addie from @sugaraddies lent her hand with this crumble. As always, I appreciate her talents.

Enjoy your weekend!