Monday, April 26, 2010

Whole Wheat Chocolate Cookies and Hoover Cake

One way to stretch the supply of wheat during World War I was to use whole wheat instead of the more finely milled and sifted white flour. This plan was not without controversy. The editor of the influential newspaper Northwestern Miller editorialized in no uncertain terms: "By whatever sophistry it may be supported, every argument for increased extraction flour [whole wheat], mixed flour or flour otherwise debased is an argument for a deceptive gain in volume at the cost of more than commensurate loss in nutritive value."

Pure food advocate Dr. Harvey Wiley and Minnesota's food administrator Archie Dell Wilson took the opposite point of view. Wiley wrote of white flour: "Under present methods of milling, there are 18 pounds of waste for every 60 pounds of flour milled . . this 'waste' fed to cows is the most nutritious part of the wheat."

By the winter of 1918, homemakers had no choice. White flour was gone from the shelves. And limits of fats and sugar made the idea of cookies for dessert instead of richer cakes and pies an appealing alternative.

These whole-wheat chocolate cookies were developed by Esther Moran, director of food services for the St. Paul public schools. They are at once rich and hearty. Easy to mix up by hand and good keepers.

Whole Wheat Chocolate Cookies
1/2 cup melted shortening or butter

2 1-oz. squares baking chocolate

1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed

1 egg

1/2 cup milk

2 cups whole wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup chopped raisins

1/2 cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Stir chocolate into melted shortening over low heat until it is melted. Stir into brown sugar and add lightly beaten eggs. Stir in milk and then flour and salt. Mix well. Add chopped raisins and nuts. Drop by teaspoon onto lightly greased baking sheets. Bake until just lightly browned, about 8 –12 minutes. May take longer, but best to check early as they can burn easily.

Remove and cool on a wire rack.

Easy Herbert Hoover World War I Cake

2 cups brown sugar

2 cups hot water

2 tablespoons lard (or butter)

1 teaspoon salt, optional

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 package (8 ounces) raisins, chopped

1 teaspoon baking soda

3 cups flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Put everything but soda and flour into a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Boil 5 minutes after it bubbles, then cool. Stir in soda and flour. Put batter into a lightly greased loaf pan. Bake 45 minutes. Cake keeps fresh a long time and can “be sent to men at the front.”

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