January 05, 2011

Martha Logan's Cookies

In my perfect world, my grandmother's old McCoy cookie jar on the kitchen counter would be filled with homemade cookies at all times.

I do manage to stock it with Chocolate Chip Pecan cookies and Snickerdoodles occasionally, but not nearly as much as I'd like.

Sometimes we resort to freezing the cookies in Ziplock bags to keep ourselves from eating them all at once. This works as a mild deterrent; it's only slightly more inconvenient to open the freezer door and remove a couple of cookies from the bag than it is to open the lid on the jar and take out a handful. I've developed a liking for the frozen ones, not even waiting for them to thaw.

I'm thinking that this year, I'd like to make it a point to bake cookies more often. Perhaps branch out to Oatmeal Raisin and Peanut Butter; maybe some Shortbread to go with my fake coffee, just for starters. Maybe finally tackle Macarons, although I'm not certain they'd be successful, considering the Houston humidity.

I'm thinking I ought to open up some of these cookbooks lining my shelves and avail myself of the hundreds and hundreds of cookie recipes I have right at my fingertips. I wouldn't even have to turn on my computer; I've already got more recipes than I know what to do with.

One of the cookbooks I have is called Our Best Cooky Recipes (1962, 24 pages), which was published by Swift & Company. This book contains 65 recipes for cookies of all types: bar, refrigerator, dropped, pressed, rolled and no-bake.

The only thing fancy about this cookbook is the cover: it has a shiny gold foil background with color images of cookies on the front and back. The interior contains no other illustrations save that of Martha Logan, shown above.

Martha Logan was the spokesperson for the Home Economics Department of Swift & Company. Swift & Company was a meatpacking industry giant with side lines into byproducts derived from the animals they processed: eggs, butter, shortening, margarine, lard and soap.

Martha wastes no time advising us as to which products we should use to bake our cookies. It's right up front, first paragraph of the first page, which contains her Cooky Tips:

"Use quality ingredients such as Swift's Allsweet Margarine, Swift's Brookfield Butter, Swift'ning Shortening, Swift's Brookfield Eggs, Swift's OZ Peanut Butter, and Swift's Ice Cream for best results in these recipes."

Coincidentally (or perhaps not), all of the Swift & Company subsidiary products align together perfectly to make up a nice batch of cookies.

Since some, if not all, of these brands no longer exist, I'd have to make do with Parkay, Land 'O Lakes, Crisco, Egglands, Peter Pan and Bluebell.

Instructions for storing, freezing and packing cookies for mailing are on the second page. Lots of no-nonsense advice on what to do with your cookies when you're done baking. Given the publishing date, I'm guessing some of these cookies might have been mailed to the soldiers in Vietnam.

The type of cookie is shown in a black bar across the top of the page, making it easy to thumb through the pages to reach the section you want.

One thing I like about these cookie recipes are how underneath the title, it says things like "A Crisp Cooky," "A Chewy Rich Cooky," or "A Cake-like Cooky." I like knowing the resulting cookie texture ahead of time.

The last page is the Index. As you can see, there are quite a variety of cookies. Cookies made with dates and molasses were popular at the time, more so than today. Although semi-sweet chocolate pieces are called for in a few of the recipes, more often than not, the chocolate called for are the squares. Shortening seems be be used as often as butter or margarine. No Butterscotch pieces for the butterscotch, though. It's brown sugar all the way.


At 7:50 AM CST, Blogger ~~louise~~ said...

I do wish those Swift books had just a little more pizzaz when it came to color. However, stuffing the freezer with any one of these recipes sure sounds good to me!!! I usually shape the freezer dough in logs for easy cut and bake cookies. As you said, it only helps, slightly:)

Thanks for sharing Kathy and a very tasty 2011 to YOU!!!

P.S. In my "up close and personal travels" with my leaflets, your blog was most helpful. I bookmarked tons of your pages to include in the future. Thanks for that!!!

At 7:33 AM CST, Blogger Kathy said...

Looking forward to your posts. I know there will be lots of good reading. Can't wait to see more of your collection!

At 7:25 PM CST, Blogger T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

Kathy, I got hooked on the frozen cookies, too. It's no obstacle to snacking at all!

At 10:13 AM CST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was the cookbook that our Junior High Home Ec class was given to use in class. I loved this cookbook and used it for years. Can't tell you how sad I was when it was lost in a move.
Thanks so much for including the cover...I was able to buy it on eBay as soon I saw it on your blog. You've made my day!!!


At 9:34 AM CDT, Anonymous Emmie said...

What a blast from the past! My mother used to make Saucepan Indians all the time. She added a twist by putting a confectioner's sugar frosting on top. I remember my brothers always liking the crispier edges while I was a middle of the pan girl. Thanks for the memories! I think I'll bake a batch.

At 8:26 AM CDT, Blogger Kathy said...

Emmie - I always like to hear from folks that the recipes were actually used in the past. Thanks!

At 11:43 AM CST, Anonymous Donald Dale Milne said...

Thanks for this and the other company cookbooks from 1962. I have one in my collection from Betty Crocker titled Merry Makings, Fun foods for Happy Entertaining.


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