Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Depression-era Cake Blobs-- er, Cake Drops

We at A Book of Cookrye are always looking for things to keep us going through long assignments in the night. Sometimes if it's a particular painful project (or we're just that bored), we will go for a recipe that involves lots of work and excessive presentational steps before it is done. This evening, we were more in the market for something quick. The homework, while boring, wasn't about to break us, therefore we need no excessively involved culinary diversion.
A Book of Selected Recipes, Mrs George O. Thurn, 1934

Looks easy enough, doesn't it?
Because all of the cookie recipes in this book make really big quantities, we ended up cutting this recipe down to one third its original amounts. All of the ingredients divided really nicely until we got to trying to get a sixth cup of sour milk.
I guess that looks right...?

This is the only book we have that uses shortening in everything. Was it cheaper than butter, or is it a change in cooking tastes? Shortening at least keeps well- the only reason we have this lying around is because we made pie crusts last Thanksgiving.
This is so white it overloaded the camera.

At first we thought using nutmeg was a somewhat unusual departure in flavorings- these days you just use vanilla or possibly lemon extract. However, upon tasting the shortening and sugar before adding anything, we could see it needed the extra help beyond a splash of vanilla. Although, those of you who were devastated by the Great Twinkie Discontinuation would be interested to know that it was just a couple of artificial flavorings away from being Twinkie filling. (We at A Book of Cookrye were thankful for the Great Twinkie Corporate Kerfluffle because it caused Tastykake to rush in and fill the shelf space Hostess left behind.)
Now these'll taste like something.

We at A Book of Cookrye have always been interested to note that larger cookies, in addition to being easier to make, also seem to be more impressive than smaller ones. Bring out a plate of dainty little cookies and people will be pleased, but bring out a plate of really big ones and they'll get snatched up before you've had time to set the plate down. It's most convenient that big cookies make people happier than little ones; you can have them done in a batch or two instead of spending hours tediously spooning little bitty dough blobs onto cookie sheets and waiting for batch after batch to finish baking.
If anyone gets fussy about oddly-shaped cookies, they didn't want any.

Despite taking the recipe at its word and just plopping the dough down onto the cookie sheet, these turned out surprisingly close to round. They also ended up being more like little cake blobs than cookies.

These really aren't cookies. They're cakes. This recipe's perfect for people who want to make cupcakes but don't feel like messing with cupcake papers and all that.
As much as we liked these, we feel cheated because the recipe was misnamed. What's wrong with calling these Cake Drops (or Drop Cakes)? That actually sounds pretty good to us! Heck, we might do these with fussy icing designs next time we get volunteered to bring something to a party.


  1. Some day when you have time, read Perfection Salad by Laura Shapiro. Shortening was used because it has no taste and it is white. So it is Science!!!!!!

    1. Thank you for the recommendation! My library only has her book on cooking in the 1950s, but I'll be sure to get my hands on this one!