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:
"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.
- 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.
- 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
- Mix 1 cup sifted confectioners' sugar, 2 tbsp cream, 1 tsp vanilla, and food coloring (if desired).
As many of you know, August is a special month for Cakespy.com: it marks the website's anniversary, as well as Head Spy Jessie's Birthday. And so to celebrate both of these milestones, we hosted a kick*ss celebration at Seattle's own Cupcake Royale, at their flagship Ballard location. Here's a love note from the dear Head Spy summing up the events:
Cakespy Undercover: From time to time, our Cake Gumshoes venture out into the wild to try out new bakeries in various parts of the country. Of course, they always report back to Cakespy headquarters on what they've eaten! Most recently, Cake Gumshoe Barbara and a friend spent time in Mill Valley, CA, where they sampled the cupcakes at Frosting Bakeshop. Here's what they had to say:
[It's a] very interesting store because they can't bake on the premises so they have a kitchen several miles away. The shop was very stark but the cupcakes were displayed on glass domed, tall, miniature cake plates by flavor and then the boxed cupcakes were lined up behind which made them the total focal point of the shop. Each cupcake is presented in its own hot pink box about the same as the Chinese take-out boxes (not exactly eco-friendly and I am surprised that the residents of Mill Valley who are very eco aware that they don't say something.) All of that aside we had two very tasty cupcakes.
One was a lemon twist. The other was a black and white.
We shared so that we could give our own opinions; here is what we decided (being a good gumshoe I had my notebook and pen!):
Lemon Twist - The cake was just OK, a little crumbly but then it just served as the "plate" for the incredible frosting. The frosting was more tart than sweet, very zesty and very creaming, we wouldn't have been surprised if marshmallows were an ingredient. The cupcake was topped with a very cute little sugar flower.
Then there was the Black and White....fabulous dark chocolate cake, very moist with super texture and must have had very tiny dark chocolate chips in the batter. The white icing was excellent, very fluffy and creamy but very light. I was happy that it was not a buttery flavor, just light vanilla. The cupcake was topped with dark semi-sweet chocolate crystals. Divine!!!
Growing up in suburban New Jersey in the late 80's/early 90's, a kid's coolness in school could easily be determined by what treat they brought in for their class party on their birthday.
Water, vegetable oil and egg whites called for on cake mix box
24 flat-bottom ice cream cones
1. Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pans). Place paper baking cup in each of 24 regular-size muffin cups.
2. Make cake batter as directed on box. Fill each cup 2/3 full of batter (1 heaping tablespoon each). Place ice cream cone upside down on batter in each cup.
3. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in cake comes out clean (cones may tilt on batter). Cool completely, about 30 minutes. Remove paper baking cups. Generously frost cake with frosting, and decorate as desired. Store loosely covered.
High Altitude (3500-6500 ft): Follow High Altitude directions on cake mix box. Fill cones about 1/2 full to make 36 to 40 cones. Bake 20 to 25 minutes.
- Cakespy Cupcake Party! Are you in Seattle? Are you free this Saturday? Well, come on down to Cakespy's Cupcake Party at Cupcake Royale! The fete is a combined celebration of Cakespy.com's 1 year anniversary and Head Spy Jessie's 27th birthday. It's an open house from 6-9 p.m. at Cupcake Royale's Ballard location, and a limited supply of free cupcakes will be on hand. As a bonus, the kind people at Cupcake Royale will be debuting their super secret September flavor a little early--and oh, is it a good one!--in our honor! It's kind of, you know, making us feel like a big deal.
- Email Subscriptions: We are in the process of changing our email newsletter to be sent out once a week rather than every time there is a new post. We'll still be updating the site 2-3 times per week, but you'll receive it in one weekly email. We apologize if you receive more than one update per week as we figure out the technological side of things.
- New Feature! We're adding a new comic strip feature to the site, which will crop up a few times a week. The strip is entitled "Cuppie Capers" and it's about the ongoing adventures of everyone's favorite mischievous little cupcake, L'il Cuppie. Today marks the first strip! Woo!
- Iron Cupcake: A fantastic new online phenomenon! We have not entered one this month since we're one of the prize donors, but check out all of the fantastic Chili Pepper entries here!
We love the Seattle Public Library. Not only is it a feat of architecture (designed by Rem Koolhaas) and a fantastic place for people-watching, but we find some of the best literary gems there (including arguably the best cookbook ever-- Cooking in WetLeather, a biker cookbook with the tag "Ride Safe, Eat Dangerously"--but we digress.)
Our most recent discovery though was the first edition print of Betty Crocker's Cooky Book, which, packed as it is with recipes and little historical tidbits, led us to the legend of the Joe Frogger.
according to Marblehead Historian Joseph Robinson, "a more uncouth assemblage of ruffians could not be found anywhere." It would not be surprising if the term "Down bucket!" originated here, that fearful Marblehead expression warning those below that the contents of the chamber pot where about to be flung out a bedroom window.Just thinking about these antics makes us hungry--and that's where the famous molasses cookies come into the picture--they were the tavern's signature food item.
Still, as long as frogs continue to hatch in Marblehead ponds and the aroma of gingerbread fills Marblehead kitchens, the lives of Black Joe and Aunty 'Crese will be as sweetly remembered as the taste of their warm Joe Frogger.
We used Betty Crocker's version (which is vegan!); it can be found below, or in the Betty Crocker's Cooky Book.
- 1/2 Cup Shortening
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup dark molasses
- 1/2 cup water
- 4 cups Gold Medal Flour
- 1 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. soda
- 1 1/2 tsp. ginger
- 1/2 tsp cloves
- 1/2 tsp. nutmet
- 1/4 tsp. allspice
Directions: Mix well shortening and sugar. Stir in molasses and water. Measure flour by sifting. Stir dry ingredients together; blend into shortening mixture. Chill dough several hours or overnight.
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Roll dough 1/4 inch thick on floured board. Cut in 3-inch circles. Sprinkle with sugar. Place no a well-greased baking sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes. Leave on baking sheet a few minutes before removing to prevent breaking. Store in covered cookie jar. Makes 3 to 4 doz. cookies. Note: if you use self-rising flour, omit salt and soda.