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Tuesday
Aug262008

C'est Bon: The Famous Bonbon Cookies of 1955-1960

Bonbon cookies
1955-1960 was certainly an eventful series of years. Sputnik I was launched; Alaska and Hawaii were proclaimed the 49th and 50th states; Truman Capote published the novella Breakfast at Tiffany's, which would later be made into a film by the same name.

And during these years, there was one cookie that spoke to the times more than any other: the Bonbon Cookie. At least that's what Betty Crocker says. And other than the fact that she's not actually...well, real, she's never led us astray. According to her Cooky Book (1963), the treats are described as being real trailblazers on the cookie frontier:


Bonbon Cookies from Betty Crocker

 

"candy-like cookies in vogue--women were fascinated by these beautiful and delicious cookies which were baked as cookies, served and eaten as candies. Excitement over Bonbons brought more candy-cookies, Toffee squares and Cream Filberts, for example"


And if that doesn't pique your interest, the photos in the book will (above)--in pastel tones worthy of Marie Antoinette's court, these are without a doubt cookies for ladies, a pinkies-out affair. We had to make them. Turns out, they're amazingly easy--and rather delicious.
 
Chocolate innardsBonbon Cookies being made
A few notes:
  • They are rather on the sweet side--so for those who like a less-sweet cookie, you might want to leave off the frosting, or opt for a more savory filling for the cookies, such as chopped nuts or unsweetened coconut; we used chocolate chips, but then again we're not scared of sweet cookies.
  • In keeping with the spirit of this dainty cookie and the era from which it harkens, we elected to make ours Tiffany Blue, garnishing them with white sugar pellets in white to offer the same color palette as that iconic box with its white bow. We found that adding a drop or so of green with two or three drops of blue food coloring reached the signature tone nicely.
  • To attain the desired round Bonbon shape, we used a small ice cream scoop to spoon out our dough; while in the scoop we inserted 2-3 chocolate chips, pressed them down, and then reformed the dough over it to secure the filling.
Here's the recipe:

Bonbon Cookies in Tiffany Blue
Bonbon Cookies
Created by Mrs. Joseph J. Wallace, Whitehall, Montana

For the Cookies:
  • 1/2 c. soft butter 
  • 3/4 c. sifted confectioners sugar 
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla
  • food coloring if desired 
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour 
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
Possible fillings: chocolate chips, chopped nuts, coconut, cherries...choose your own adventure!
For the Icing:
  • Mix 1 cup sifted confectioners' sugar, 2 tbsp cream, 1 tsp vanilla, and food coloring (if desired).
Heat oven to 350. Mix butter, sugar, vanilla and food coloring (if using), thoroughly. Measure flour by dip-level-pour method or by sifting. Blend in flour and salt. If dough is dry, add 1 to 2 Tbsp. cream. Wrap a level Tablespoon of dough around filling.. Place 1" apart on un-greased cookie sheet. Bake 12 to 15 min. Cool; dip tops of cookies in frosting; decorate with another topping if desired. Makes 20-25 cookies.

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Reader Comments (55)

Is this color "good for you"? It can't be natural! Still, they look yummy!

August 26 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I love that color. I think if I could paint everything that color in my house I would! Those are so cute and would be great for a wedding as an accent. They look delicious!

August 26 | Unregistered Commenterjenjen

You can never go wrong with Tiffany blue - nice work! I'm enjoying your recent trips down memory lane!

August 26 | Unregistered CommenterDana McCauley

I need to make these and take them to my mom's house. They match the boomerang countertops that she still has!

love the tiffany blue! that blue box must have been quite the inspiration...

August 26 | Unregistered CommenterKrysta

I have those in my cookbook...they crack me up for some reason.

August 26 | Unregistered CommenterPeabody

I've never seen these before! I think they look great and can see much potential. I'm already planning a Bakewell-style one filled with almond and jam

Oh my, that color is just too funny! My mom has this books from the 60s called The perfect housewife and How to receive guests that are filled with these kind of jewels, lol! In 2050 they'll laugh at our stuff too!

August 27 | Unregistered CommenterClumbsy Cookie

These are ridiculous! I love the heck out of them. I am SO making them this weekend!

August 27 | Unregistered CommenterKatie

WOW Bonbon Cookies I have never seen these before!! Look at the colour so electrifying blue and I just love them!!

Rosie x

August 27 | Unregistered CommenterRosie

LOVE these cookies. So cute. I'd call them "Tiffany Bon Bons!" The sugar topping is an invaluable addition. I'll have to look for some of that stuff at my local baking store.

August 27 | Unregistered CommenterRecipeGirl

Hi, I recently found your blog through a link on a different blog who had a link… Just wanted to say how much I am enjoying looking at all your wonderful sweet treats, there is so much inspiration found here, especially your cup cake ice cream cones!

August 27 | Unregistered CommenterPatty

Awesome- Very "put on my frilly apron and froofy dress and greet my hubby with a whisky rocks" kind of cookie. Love it!

August 27 | Unregistered CommenterC.L.

I love a good bonbon and these are TOO cute! Love it! :)

Love these. They look so cute and seems they re easy to make too. Like the colour too.

August 27 | Unregistered CommenterSnooky doodle

I have seen this recipe so many times but have never been so inticed to try it than now! what a pretty color and they look a whole lot more tasty than in the old photo. Can't wait to try them!

August 27 | Unregistered CommenterKate

Ah, blue food. I got crap in culinary school for making a blue tuile decor for a mousse cake. The chefs were shocked I'd use this colour - which I was so pleased turned out to be the exact blue of the school logo, incidentally. Anyways, since then I've always been critical of blue food.

These look really cute, however!

August 27 | Unregistered CommenterWandering Coyote

These cookies made me smile!

August 27 | Unregistered CommenterChristina

I am going to make these for my husband. He thinks I sit around and pop bonbons all day!! Hee....

but it's so easy! had i known that bonbons were a snap to make, i'd have been gorging on them for the past 15 years. :)

August 27 | Unregistered CommenterGrace

Guh, I was just thinking what I could make today. This is it. I've never seen them before, but god they look cute. I don't have a mini cookie scoop though. Think I could make gigantic ones using an ice cream scoop? Hm... probably not :\

August 27 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

OHHHH. Love the color. I think you may be starting a new retro trend.

August 27 | Unregistered Commenterglamah16

i love these cookies!! i actually have the cooky book from '63 that was my grandmother's, and it has all of her special notes & alterations to the recipes! these bonbon cookies were one of her favorites to make... and now mine!

August 27 | Unregistered Commenterhillary

My favorite color! Love anything that reminds me of Tiffany's!

August 27 | Unregistered Commenterveron

I don't think I've ever eaten anything that color!

August 27 | Unregistered CommenterSurcie
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