What is a Hydrox? Hydrox was the original sandwich cookie. In 1908, the Sunshine Biscuit Company began selling Hydrox cookies, and they were an immediate success. Hydrox was so successful that in 1912 the much larger National Biscuit Company (Nabisco) starting making Oreos, a copycat of Hydrox. Oreos quickly began outselling Hydrox. In 1999, Sunshine stopped making Hydrox cookies after the company was purchased by Keebler. Hydrox cookies looked like Oreos, but they didn’t taste the same. Hydrox cookies were not as sweet as Oreos. I think that is because Hydrox cookies were made with sugar, and Oreos were and are made with corn syrup. Hydrox cookies are back on the market, but they can be very hard to find in stores or online. Hydrox cookies are still made with real sugar and contain no corn syrup.
Jews & Hydrox. When I was a kid, Jews who kept kosher ate Hydrox cookies, never Oreos. Oreos were made with lard, and therefore, were not kosher. Hydrox cookies were always made with vegetable oil and were always kosher. In the 1990s, American consumers began shifting away from products made with lard as part of a general interest in eating healthier food. As a result, many products, like Bisquick, replaced the lard in their products with vegetable oil. In 1997, Nabisco stopped putting lard in Oreos and replaced it with vegetable oil as well. As a result, Oreos are now kosher.
Kosher Hot Dogs. Surprisingly, the great majority of American buyers of kosher foods are Christians. A lot of people will pay extra for kosher certified processed foods because they know that if there is a kosher seal on a product, that means that it doesn’t contain pig snouts, mechanically separated cow butts, or a long list of other unappetizing animal parts and also that a rabbi is regularly inspecting the factory looking for unsanitary conditions, and inspecting it more frequently than government food inspectors. I sometimes see 1 pound packages of hot dogs at dollar stores and wonder: ‘What are all-meat hot dogs that sell for $1.00 a pound made out of?’ Perhaps it is best not to think too much about such questions. You sure can’t buy kosher hot dogs for $1.00 a pound!
Donald Trump vs. Oreos. President Trump has urged Americans to boycott products that used to be made in the U.S. but that are now made in Mexico. In 2015, Nabisco moved the production of Oreos from Chicago to Mexico. Then-candidate Trump said: “I’m never eating another Oreo again!” and told his supporters to boycott Oreos as well. Donald Trump talked about Oreos frequently during the presidential campaign. Hydrox cookies were always made in the U.S., and they still are. So what do you think? Will eating Hydrox cookies ‘make America great again’?
TRIPLE GINGER COOKIES. These chewy cookies are made with 3 kinds of ginger: fresh, powdered, and crystallized. They also contain molasses and cinnamon and are topped with crystallized sugar. I bottom dip them in dark and milk chocolate. I like Dutch spice cookies like these, but they are often hard to find in stores.
MADELEINES. Most people think of madeleines as cookies, but they are actually small sponge cakes. My madeleines are made using a traditional French recipe. That means there is a lot of butter in them. I top dip them in milk and dark chocolate.
Marcel Proust and Madeleines. Just before World War 1, Marcel Proust published ‘Remembrances of Things Past’. The book became an immediate best-seller. In his book, Proust recounted his childhood memories. He had a lot to say about madeleines and he said it in a way that made everybody want them. Before the publication of ‘Remembrances of Things Past’, most people, even in France, had never seen or heard of madeleines before. Madeleines were only made in a few towns in Lorraine, a province in northeastern France. As soon as Proust’s book came out, people all over the world went to bakeries demanding madeleines. Below is a small bit of what Proust had to say about madeleines.
“One day in winter, on my return home, my mother, seeing that I was cold, offered me some tea, which I did not ordinarily drink. I declined at first, and then, for no particular reason, changed my mind. She sent for one of those squat, plump little cakes called ‘petites madeleines,’ which look as though they had been molded in the fluted valve of a scallop shell. And soon, mechanically, dispirited after a dreary day with the prospect of a depressing tomorrow, I raised to my lips a spoonful of the tea in which I had soaked a morsel of the madeleine. No sooner had the warm liquid mixed with the crumbs touched my palate than a shudder ran through me and I stopped, intent upon the extraordinary thing that was happening to me. An exquisite pleasure had invaded my senses, something isolated, detached, with no suggestion of its origin. And at once the vicissitudes of life had become indifferent to me, its disasters innocuous, its brevity illusory – this new sensation having had on me the effect which love has of filling me with a precious essence; or rather this essence was not in me, it was me. I had ceased now to feel mediocre, contingent, mortal. Whence could it have come to me, this all-powerful joy? I sensed that it was connected with the taste of the tea and the madeleine.” – Marcel Proust.
Proust was a pretty convincing madeleine salesman, wasn’t he?
I knew a boy who cried whenever his mother gave him a broken cookie. What do you do with broken cookies? Sometimes, all of the cookies in a batch come out broken. The same thing also happens to brownies, cupcakes, and many other baked goods. Quite often, there is no apparent reason why they broke. If cookies are burned, toss them out; however, if the only thing wrong with them is that they are broken, freeze them and use them to make parfaits. Take a wine glass or tall clear juice glass and layer fruit yogurt, whipped cream, or mousse with pieces of broken cookies and berries, It is very easy to turn a kitchen accident into a beautiful and delicious dessert.