Vintage Recipes

Vintage Recipes: Girl Scout Cookies (1922)

Today takes us on a bit of a detour gentle readers, manly due to a long day at the “day job” and finding myself unable to muster the energy for the pie I’m still needing to bake. In my laziness, I wanted to pick something a bit easier… this took me to a vintage Girl Scout cookie recipe from 1922. The write-up can be found on the Girl Scout website.

Not too painful, right?

The recipe has some simple roots, especially if you’ve tackled basic spritz cookies. Otherwise known as my go-to Christmas cookie.//

Once the butter and sugar go in you start adding the wet ingredients (eggs, milk, flavoring- I did use almond instead of vanilla!). The results are decidedly… gross. We’re talking a sloppy, messy, lumpy dough. I have never seen a dough which looks quite this… bleh.

Luckily for me, this is the first recipe in a while which didn’t call for cup after cup of sifted flour. As a result, this wasn’t quite the arm workout.

The dry ingredients pulled the dough together well…

With the rest of the dry ingredients added, the dough was a bit more manageable. It was still really sticky, but it worked as a drop cookie.

With the lack of details on the recipe, I threw them in the oven at my go-to of 350 degrees (F). And since cook times vary (even bake to bake) in my poor little geriatric oven, I checked them every 5 minutes. They ended up coming out at roughly the 15 minute mark.

As you can see, some of them browned a bit much, but they were a deliciously soft cookie. They could decorate up really nicely (I went for a spartan look… it was late. Don’t judge me!). Anywhoo, they could lend themselves really well to some varied flavors, and they were devoured by my ever enthusiastic taste-testers. This is definitely a recipe I shall be coming back to in the coming months.

Stay tuned for more!

Vintage Recipes

Vintage Recipes: Cocoa Mint Cake

So kiddos, the vintage bake-a-thon continues this week as I try my hands at a “Cocoa-Mint” cake. As the recipe below shows, we can thank Pillsbury for the initial recipe.

The recipe (like last week) comes from the pages of my grandmother’s 1937 journal turned recipe book.

This is another Crisco based cake, starting with a mildly staggering 1/2 cup followed closely by the sugar. I made sure to beat a fair amount in between, resulting in the not-quite-so-appetizing mixture pictured below…

As the ingredients combine, baking this cake proves to be somewhat of a chore. Once the eggs are added, there’s a lot of mixing in-between adding the rest of the wet ingredients as well as the brunt of the dry.

Sooooo much sifting!!! This felt like arm day at the gym.

Now, would that cake behave in the same way just dumping in the flour and such?? I’m not sure. I’m not sure I’m gutsy enough to try at this point.

The last ingredient was an interesting one: coffee. The recipe calls for a good “strong” 1/2 cup of coffee. Now, could this be a structure thing?? My coffee came from a very traditional Starbucks k-cup, so this is neither vintage or accurate to the period. As a result, I really didn’t taste it. Do you want a coffee taste? I’m adding this to the list for a more period specific bake through.

Now, to get to the interesting part… the frosting. This was a new one. I followed the recipe above, using mint jelly with an egg white.

I will admit, I cheated on the recipe. I used the double boiler, but I didn’t have a “rotary” hand mixer as specified. So, my next thought was that whisking must be close. I mean, I used some good, old-fashioned elbow grease. Nope. Nope. Nope. I whisked the heck out of that frosting for double the specified time and couldn’t get a rise out of the egg white. In fact, it laid there like a mint flavored ball until I put it under my handy, dandy, oh-so-modern mixer. It was only then I could coax it into rising to resemble anything like a frosting.

The verdict on the cake, it ended up being a bit dry. However, the frosting had some stellar flavor (if not a bit overpowering). It is definitely one I’m going to jot down for use in the future, with different jellies… the thought of this with an Orange makes my mouth water.

Unfortunately, it was the strongest part of a generally lack luster cake.

Verdict: “Meh”.

Vintage Recipes

Vintage Recipe: Devils Food Cake

Baking has always intimidated me a bit… okay… a lot. So, it came as a huge shock to me when I suddenly found myself with an urge to tackle vintage recipes. You know the type, jello molds, tomato soup cake, those things you see pictures of in mid-twentieth century ads and wonder just how things like that were made. In fact, it is this which served as the inspiration to build this website. Some of these recipes might be movie related, other times they will be simply something I stumbled upon, which I had to try.

I actually stumbled into this week’s recipe in my grandmother’s recipe. Granny wasn’t much of a cook, so when I say recipe, I mean newspaper article pasted into one of her childhood journals. This is a devil’s food cake from scratch.

Looking at the clipping, it seems to almost to be part of an advertisement (potentially for Crisco?). It does describe a greased cake pan as “Criscoed”.

Now, I’ve been playing with scratch cake recipes for the last few weeks, but this is probably the first time I’ve played with Crisco as an ingredient.

Now… that actually wasn’t too terrible at all! The recipe treated me well for the early stages. All the ingredients go together well, and end up feeling quite “cakey”. (Is that a word). Okay, I am cheating here with my new fangled electric mixer… however, I digress.

Lots of sugar… figures I start my baking during New Year’s Resolution time…

Now, it turns out the trickiest part for me would be melting the chocolate. I went with a fairly standard Godiva baking bar (60%). I found myself immediately faced with two options.

1.) Use the “melt butter” setting on my microwave.

2.) Just wing it and pick of time.

Well, listen to me faithful readers. I started on option 1. However, patience is not my strong suit. The fourth time I selected the melt option (my microwave apparently really doesn’t know how long it takes to melt chocolate), I put in an arbitrary 2 minute time. It seems chocolate doesn’t like that… at least that’s what the smoke and darkening chocolate told me. To make a long story short… use short intervals, kids.

The middle portion of this recipe actually proved to be quite the marathon. Sifting 3 cups of cake flour and the other dry ingredients took quite a bit. Maybe I was being a bit too cautious, but by the time I added the butter milk, it all came out well. No, I opted out of using the sour milk option. Not sure I’m quite there yet.

I cheated in one more area, I made the cake in a bundt as opposed to rounds. Since I was winging it, I didn’t clock the specific time and instead decided to check after every ten minutes. However, when all was said and done, it didn’t feel much different from the 30 minutes on the recipe. I also kept the oven temperature at 350 degrees (F).

Ultimately, this was a good bake! It held together well and received enthusiastic response. Instead of the icing listed above, I opted for a simple dusting of powdered sugar.

Devil’s Food Cake seems like it isn’t the same best descriptor as it wasn’t the most chocolatey. This is the first cake I’ve tried using actual chocolate as opposed to cocoa, and brings a much more subtle taste. As such, it would be really interesting to try the bake again, using different chocolate types.