Today the Oreo cookie turns 100 years old so I decided to make another type of chocolate cookie called Cocoa Sticks. The recipe is Mrs. C. H. Doerr’s in the 1906 Berlin Cook Book. This is likely Susannah Christina Wagner who married Charles H. Doerr in 1888. He started as a store clerk but by 1901 he is the manager of a biscuit works and in 1911 he has a manufacturing business. This business was initially called Doerr but later changed to Dare — the cookie company still located in Kitchener (and many other places)!
Mrs. Doerr’s recipes are among the most detailed in the cook book. In 1901 she and her husband have one 10-year-old son and a niece living with them along with four lodgers. The 1911 census shows just the three family members in the home on Weber street West. As expected their heritage is German Lutheran. In addition to Mr. Doerr’s manufacturing their son is now a bookkeeper in an office.
I creamed the butter, added the sugar and then the beaten egg and milk. I opted to add vanilla rather than cinnamon although that sounds good too. I sifted the dry ingredients along with 1/2 cup of the pastry flour. This is the first time I’ve used pastry flour during this project. Cake and pastry flour is different from all-purpose flour. It is often referred to as soft flour meaning it is made from a softer type of wheat and is milled into a very light fine flour. I eventually added the rest of the flour and a little more to get a non stick dough. It wasn’t really icy outside and I don’t have an ice box like 1906 so I used the modern version — my fridge.
I had high expectations for these cookies as even the cookie dough was tasty. Chilling the dough made it a little easier to roll out but it is still difficult to get the texture correct. The suggestion to work with small amounts of dough is a big help. My cocoa sticks don’t look perfect and they have to be watched carefully as they bake. I baked them in a 350 degree F. oven.
Mrs. Doerr’s cocoa sticks are amazing! They are great warm from the oven and still good cold. The rectangular shape makes them a little more interesting than the usual round cookie. I highly recommend these cookies and next time I’ll try the cinnamon.
6 tablespoons butter, 3/4 cup sugar (scant), 1 egg, 1 tablespoon milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla or pinch cinnamon, 5 teaspoons cocoa, 1/8 teaspoon baking powder, 1 tablespoon milk, 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups sifted pastry flour. Cream the butter until soft, add sugar gradually and beat well, add the beaten egg, milk and vanilla, mix thoroughly. sift cocoa, baking powder and a pinch of salt, with about 1/2 cup flour, stir this into the mixture first, then use the remainder of the flour, and more if necessary, to make a firm dough, that will not stick to the fingers. Set on ice to harden. Sprinkle the board with cocoa and a very little sugar. Use small pieces of the dough at a time, toss it over the board to present sticking, roll out thin, cut in strips about 1/2 inch wide and 3 inches long. Place closely in pan and bake in moderately hot oven 3 or 4 minutes. Great care should be taken in the baking to prevent burning. It is advisable to gather the scraps after each rolling if soft and set away to harden for fer of getting in too much cocoa, thus making them bitter. The colder and harder the dough is, the better it can be handles, therefore it can be made the day before using.