Saturday, November 20, 2010
Cookie mystery solved!
(At least in part...)
I've mentioned before how one of my mother's traditional cookie recipes for Christmas was called Chocolate Spritz. These were not made with a cookie press but instead were small molded cookies, shaped into balls and dipped in colored candy sprinkles before baking. We kids adored these cookies. They are very chocolatey and delicious. My mother used to store her bowls of cookie dough in our cold front entry or back porch to save room in the refrigerator. It seemed that at Christmastime there were always several bowls of dough, covered with plates, stacked up in these cold storage areas. We enjoyed all manner of raw cookie dough (and we all lived to grow up, too! Could the eggs have been safer back then?) but the Chocolate Spritz dough was our favorite. It tasted like chocolate ice cream.
One year I remember helping my mother prepare for Christmas by copying some of her most-used recipes onto lined paper, to be placed in her special Christmas notebook. Chocolate Spritz was, of course, one of them. I don't know if I thought, back then, to ask where she found the recipe. I certainly didn't know at that time (I was probably 9 or 10) that the term "spritz" usually referred to a pressed cookie.
Years later, though, I got to wondering about that. I believe I did ask her where she had ever found the recipe, and she said she had found it in a magazine. I don't recall if I ever asked why it was not a pressed cookie. I guess I thought maybe she had never had a cookie press (they were kind of a specialty item back in the 1950s) and so she had probably adapted the recipe to make molded cookies.
Well, the mystery of the recipe's provenance has been solved! Recently I was looking over some very old Christmas magazines which my mother had given me a few years back. She had been saving them for years. One of the oldest was a supermarket magazine called Better Living, from December 1952. This particular magazine was pretty much in tatters, so I decided to just go through it and see if there was anything worth salvaging -- for instance, some vintage ads or pics which I could turn into graphics, or a recipe or gift idea. Not far into the magazine I came upon an article titled "Our Christmas Cooky Swap". Who knew the cookie swap idea was that old? I certainly didn't!
And then, on the next pages, an article titled "20 Great Swap Cookies" with the subtitle "Over one hundred wonderful cookies were exchanged at the two Swaps. We selected and tested these for you." As I glanced over the picture of the cookies, lined up on glass trays, I spied something that resembled my mother's Chocolate Spritz. And sure enough, that particular cookie did indeed bear the name "Chocolate Spritz"! Eagerly, I turned to the recipes to see if it was the same. And guess what? Well, you've probably already guessed it. That recipe had been neatly clipped out of the article, leaving a small rectangular hole in the middle of the page. I will wonder no more where my mother ever found that recipe.
But I will probably never know why this molded cookie is called "spritz"!
Would you like the recipe? I thought you might.
3/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg, well beaten
1/4 tsp. salt
2 squares unsweetened chocolate, melted*
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 Tblsp. milk
2 cups sifted cake flour*
Multicolored candy sprinkles
Heat oven to 375°.
Work shortening until creamy. Stir in sugar gradually, then beat until
fluffy. Add egg, salt, chocolate, milk, and vanilla, and mix well.
Stir in flour gradually.
Shape dough into balls; roll or dip in candy sprinkles. Place on
ungreased baking sheet and bake 8 to 10 minutes.
Makes about 4 dozen.
I've given the recipe here as I got it from my mother, but when I make them I change a few things. *I use 6 Tblsp. baking cocoa instead of melted chocolate, and *I use 2 cups regular flour instead of cake flour. Easier and cheaper, and they don’t taste any different.
Enjoy these vintage cookies!!