Out of all the cook booklets in my collection – and there are hundreds – a good percent of them are the booklets that came with your new refrigerator or stove. I thought I would go through some of these and share some of the recipes I think would still be good today—for instance, the Westinghouse Refrigerator recipe booklet published in 1947 came with one hundred recipes—along with instructions for defrosting your 1947 Westinghouse refrigerator (you’ve come a long way baby!) and how to remove ice from the Select-O-Cube tray (that has come a long way baby, as well—who doesn’t have an automatic ice maker nowadays?)
My favorite recipes in the 1947 Westinghouse cookbooklet are what used to be called “ice box cookies” but are referred to as the updated (in 1947) “refrigerator cookies” – these were the forerunners of “slice and bake cookies” that flour companies came along with some years later. Only Pillsbury can claim the title of Bake-Off recipes and the Bake-Off Books that came along in the late 1940s. I still like the title of “ice box cookies” even though not many of today’s cooks may know where the name originated. An “ice box” cookie recipe was dough that had been rolled into one or two rolls, depending on the recipe, then wrapped in WAX paper because we didn’t have plastic wrap yet. When the cookie dough had been chilled long enough to be very firm, the lady of the house sliced the cookies, generally in 1-inch slices and baked them in a preheated oven however long the cookbooklet told you to bake them.
My best friend whose house was across the street and down next to a little white church, brought me a little bag of still warm ice box cookies after her mother chastised me over something over which I had no control; the cookies Carol Sue brought to me were a peace offering from her mother. Her mother had been baking them when we walked in the back door. It had to have been a warm summer night. I don’t know what kind of ice box cookies her mother, Mrs. Wheeler*, made—only that they were delicious and I wanted to make cookies like them. (*we never referred to any of our friends’ parents—or any of the other neighbor ladies or men – as anything other than Mrs. or Mr.)
An interesting example of a booklet that came with a new stove is “recipes and instructions for HOT POINT Electric Ranges, copyrighted 1926 and published by the Edison Electric Appliance Co., inc, in Chicago. The booklet was prepared by Bernice Lowen, Home Economist and comes with some charming 1920s illustrations, This cookbooklet is old and worn and the cover looks like it might have gotten too close to the stove, a time or two. It even comes with instructions for canning in the Hotpoint Automatic Oven (I don’t think this method lasted very long). It appears that the Hotpoint Electric Range pre-dated electric refrigerators because the cookie (ice box) recipes in the Hotpoint recipe booklet instruct the cook to place the unbaked dough “on ice” to chill.
Inside an undated booklet titled “Your New Hotpoint Refrigerator” I found a lot of instructions for care and use—and some recipes, although only TWO for making icebox (now refrigerator) cookies. Is it just me or is “Hotpoint” to describe a refrigerator an oxymoron?
“Coldspot” is the brand name given to the refrigerator sold by Sears Roebuck and Company—back in the day. I can’t find a copyright date on the booklet titled “Modern Menu Magic Coldspot Recipes” which is replete with recipes for ices and sherbets, ice creams, parfaits, mousses and something calls Marlows—which I had never heard of….turns out Marows are dainty little desserts made with marshmallows. There are other chilled desserts but only one recipe for refrigerator cookies.
One of my unusual finds—isn’t something that I actually found. A subscriber to Sandychatter read my article about the Mystery Chef and his famous and popular cookbook “The Mystery Chef’s Own Cookbook” published in the 1930s, and wrote to tell me she had acquired a cookbooklet titled “Be An Artist at the Gas Range/successful Recipes by the Mystery Chef” which was presented “with the compliments of your Gas Company” and would I like to have it? I said absolutely—I had no other information about the Mystery Chef writing cookbooklets in much the same way as Ida Bailey Allen did for manufacturing companies. “Be an Artist…” is a great little treasure trove of recipes that even included a black and white photograph of the Mystery Chef’s “Drawing Room in New York City” Alas, the Mystery Chef didn’t devote very much time on cookies and out of the few featured in “Be An Artist” there is only one icebox/refrigerator cookie recipe which is for Butterscotch cookies and similar to another butterscotch cookie recipe I have already provided. Even so, this is a good little cookbooklet to have in your collection—especially if you are pressed for space in your home and don’t have a lot of bookshelf space for cookbooks. Cookbooklets are a good collection to have—I have a lot of them on shelves in my kitchen where they are handy but doesn’t take up TOO much space. **
My best find so far is a 1954 Westinghouse Refrigerator booklet—what enchants me is the “conditional Sales Contract for a Westinghouse Refrigerator ($479.95) and one Whirlpool Washer ($223.07) purchased by someone in Downey, California on June 18, 1954. (I had just graduated from 8th grade). No icebox/refrigerator cookie recipes to share – this booklet was all business—with possibly the first “frost-free Refrigerator”.
I could go on and on –along with some baker’s rack shelves and some of my bookshelves in the garage library are stuffed with recipe booklets that span decades and every food topic or kitchen appliance imaginable—you may remember when Microwave ovens first appeared in department stores, they too came with booklets to help the kitchen cook deal with this new appliance. But WHAT kitchen appliance was synonymous with refrigerator? Why, the “Frigidaire” of course. “Your Frigidaire Recipes and Other Helpful Information”, copyrighted 1934, may have been the crème de la crème of kitchen appliance booklets, with recipes from soups to nuts, ranging from Entrees to 101 suggestions for using leftovers (bearing in mind this was during the Great Depression), many salad and salad dressing recipes—and frozen salads. There are recipes for “frozen creams”—and something I haven’t seen in booklets before, “how to use evaporated milk in place of whipping cream”. There are recipes for parfaits and sherbets, ices – and the mysterious “Marlows”. Other recipe categories are included – but only two recipes for refrigerator/ice box cookies – this time one renamed “Frigidaire Cookies.” Most seniors my age – or older – often referred to the refrigerator—regardless of the name brand – as the Frigidaire.
Here, then, is the recipe for Frigidaire Cookies:
1 ½ cups shortening
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
4 cups flour
Cream shortening, Add sugar and beat well. Then add eggs one at a time beating meanwhile. Sift dry ingredients and stir into first mixture.
It is nice to divide this dough into three portions, adding melted chocolate and vanilla to one; grated coconut to one; nuts and raisins or chopped dates to one. These portions may be made into sausage-like rolls, wrapped in waxed paperand placed in Frigidaire overnight or until wanted. Before baking, slice very thin and bake in hot oven (450 degrees) on baking sheet. Part of the chocolate dough may be rolled to one-fourth thickness (square); a portion of the light dough rolled similarly and placed on the chocolate dough. The two slices should then be “scrolled” in jelly-roll fashion, wrapped in waxed paper, and left in Frigidaire a few hours before slicing. This will give a pinwheel effect.
(Sandy’s cooknote: Bearing in mind this is from a 1934 cookbooklet—no mention is giving for baking time. Personally, if I make up the cookie dough, I would bake them around 350 degrees for 8 or 9 minutes or until brown around the edges. Cool on baking racks. I have no idea what is meant by “scrolled” in jelly roll fashion so if anyone out there can explain this term, I’d be happy to hear from you).
Your new Hotpoint Refrigerator offers the following icebox/refrigerator recipe for Butterscotch Cookies without any reference to icebox or refrigerator. They are simply
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup butter or margarine
3 cups sifted flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
Cream the sugar and butter or margarine. Add the whole eggs one at a time and blend thoroughly. Sift dry ingredients together and add . stir in nus. Chill the dough, then form into 2-inch rolls. Wrap rolls of dough in waxed paper and store in the refrigerator until needed. Cut in very thin slices. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Makes 80 cookies.
(Sandy’s cooknote: – again, I urge you to watch the baking time and temperature on these cookies. I would do a tray of test cookies at 400 degrees and if the cookies get too crisp or start burning, reduce the temperature to 350 degrees).
The 1947 Westinghouse Refrigerator cookbooklet boasting of over 100 delicious recipes provides the most cookie recipes along with a photograph (albeit black and white) of baked cookies. Here is their recipe for Oatmeal Refrigerator Cookies:
2 cups uncooked rolled oats
1 cup sifted cake flour*
1 cup coconut
1 cup granulated sugar
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
½ cup shortening
¼ cup evaporated milk
1 tsp vanilla
Mix dry ingredients. Cream shortening (butter) and sugar until creamy. Add egg and beat well. Add dry ingredients alternately with evaporated milk. Mix well. Chill. Then form into rolls. Wrap in waxed paper. Chill until firm. Slice, place on greased cookie sheet* and bake in preheated 400 degree oven. In baking 2 sheets of cookies at one time, reverse baking sheets halfway between baking. Bake 12 minutes. Makes 80 cookies.
(Sandy’s cooknote- I don’t know of anyone who has cake flour on hand nowadays. I looked this up on Google for you:
1. Measure out the flour that you’ll need for your recipe.
2. For every cup of flour you use, take out two tablespoons of flour and return it to the flour bin. Put the cup of flour (minus the two tablespoons) into a sifter set over a bowl.
3. Replace the two tablespoons of flour that you removed with two tablespoons of cornstarch.
4. Sift the flour and cornstarch together. Sift it again, and again and again. The cornstarch and flour need to be well incorporated and the flour aerated. Sift the flour and cornstarch mixture about five times.
And now you have cake flour!
(Sandy’s cooknote #2 – Again, I find the baking temperature and time sounds high to me. Test a few cookies at 400 degrees and if it’s too hot, turn the oven down to 350 degrees and watch how they bake. And I have mentioned many times that I don’t “grease” baking sheets anymore – I use only parchment paper when baking cookies. Works very well).
Some of the refrigerator cookie recipes are kind of repetitive in the various cookbooklets so I have tried to find some that are unusual or that I haven’t found elsewhere. These also come from the Westinghouse Refrigerator Over 100 Delicious Recipes from 1947:
RAISIN REFRIGERATOR COOKIES
¾ cup shortening
1 ½ cups light brown sugar
1 cup seedless raisins
3 cups cake flour (*See description above)
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp nutmeg
Wash raisins (wash raisins??) and cut into tiny pieces with scissors. Cream sugar and shortening. Add eggs and raisins and beat well. Sift flour, measure and sift with salt, baking powder, baking soda, and nutmeg. Add to creamed mixture; mix thoroughly. Chill in refrigerator. When stiff enough to handle, form into rolls 2” in diameter, wrap in waxed paper and store in refrigerator. When ready to bake, cut into ¼” slices. Place on oiled baking sheet*, 1½ inches apart. Bake 10 minutes at 400 degrees. Make about 60 cookies.
(Sandy’s cooknote* Or line your baking sheets with parchment paper. No other greasing, oiling, etc needed. You can re-use the parchment paper many times – until it gets too “old” to use anymore.
1 cup molasses
½ cup shortening
3¼ cups flour
½ tsp baking soda
2 tsps ground ginger
1½ tsp salt
Heat molasses to boiling point and add shortening. Sift together flour, baking soda, ground ginger and salt. Add to the molasses mixture. Shape into a roll about 2 inches in diameter; wrap in waxed paper and store in refrigerator until wanted. Slice and bake in preheated 400 degree oven for 10-15 minutes. **
I could go on and on with this topic. If I could figure out how to download photographs of cookbooklets (or any other cookbooks) and upload them onto articles in Sandychatter, I would happily do so—there was a time when I COULD do it and then wordpress changed some of their instructions and I was left out in the dark. So until then, you will have to make do with text only blog posts. J