Have you tried my chocolate bottomed molasses cookies? They are one of my favorites. Molasses cookies are an old Southern staple, a little chewy, and flavored with molasses and ginger. Molasses isn’t as popular as it used to be. 100 years ago, everybody had a bottle of molasses in their kitchen, but the popularity of molasses has been on the decline for a long time. That’s too bad. Molasses has a lot of flavor to it, and molasses is far more nutritious than white sugar. During World War 1 and World War 2, molasses sales skyrocketed. That was because during the World Wars, white and brown sugar were strictly rationed, and even if you had the required ration coupons to buy sugar, stores were often out of stock. Liquid sweeteners, including honey, maple syrup, and molasses were not rationed during World War 2, so cooks made a lot more cookies and cakes with molasses and honey. The reason that liquid sweeteners were not rationed during World War 2 is because it was easy for the army to ship white sugar to the troops overseas, but liquid sweeteners like molasses are hard to ship and make a terrible mess if a bottle breaks. When sugar rationing ended in 1946, most people went back to using white sugar.


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’?

New In The Chocolate Room

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.

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?

Getting The Lowest Air Fare

Have you ever checked an air fare online, then gone to a different site to compare it to the air fare there, then returned to the original site; only to discover that the fare had gone up just since you left the site just a few minutes earlier? This seems to happen all the time. Well, No, that isn’t just your imagination. That’s cookies.

Cookies track your web searches. Cookies let an airline or travel web site know when you make a return visit to their site, which is an indication that you may have past the search stage and are now ready to buy a ticket, and they jack up the price. To get the lower price that you saw on your first visit to the site, use a different browser when you are ready to buy your ticket. The cookies are fooled into thinking this is your first visit to the site. For example, if you used Firefox on your first search, try Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, or Safari to get your ticket at the lower price.

Cookies on a web site are not a treat, like a package from Mrs. Fields. Cookies on a web site are never good for you. They are strictly for the benefit of people trying to sell you things at the highest possible price.

What To Do With Broken Cookies.

parfaitI 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.