I’ve been working to get my kitchen set up and found a container of baking chocolate. I decided to make Mrs. H. Rittinger’s Chocolate Snaps from the 1906 Berlin Cook Book. I love chocolate so I am looking forward to trying these cookies.
I separated the four medium eggs and whisked the whites until they were stiff. I added the icing sugar next since I thought it might stabilize the whites a little bit as I grated the chocolate. I used one square of unsweetened Bakers chocolate and stirred well before mixing in the vanilla. Next I added the flour and baking powder. I dropped the dough on to greased cookie sheets and baked at 350 for 10 minutes. I checked at 7 minutes but decided they needed more time. I’m still not sure my baking time was correct. I took the cookies out when they edges were slightly brown. I let them cool before tasting.
Based on information from the Waterloo Region Generations website, Mrs. H. Rittinger could be Laura Haffman (born 1871). She’s married to Herman Rittinger and has two children. Another possibility is Sophia Pfeffer, married to Heinrich Rittinger. Sophia was born in 1866 so she’s a bit older than Laura. The 1911 census provides another possible contributor. Louisa and Herman Rittinger also live in Berlin with their two teenage boys. I suspect that Louisa is the same person as Laura.
I was really curious about the way the cookies would look when they finished baking and especially the taste and texture. The batter tasted good but the end result was a little disappointing. The chocolate flavour is mild. The cookies edges are crisp but the rest of the cookie is spongy. They were not what I was expecting at all. I thought it might be a bit like a ginger snap until I saw the dough. It reminded me of meringues so I expected the crisp texture of a meringue. I’m still not sure if produced the same cookies as Mrs. Rittinger. I think these are worth trying as they are different from the usual cookie styles. I consider them tea cookies for older people. For many years my former workplace offered summer teas and part of my job was providing advice about the historical accuracy of the menu. We soon learned that our older clientele preferred soft cookies as it was difficult to bite into hard cookies with dentures or other dental issues. Chocolate Snaps would have been a great addition to the teas.
Take the whites of 4 eggs and beat to a stiff froth, add a cake of grated chocolate, a cup of powdered sugar, 1/2 cup of flour, teaspoon of baking powder, and a few drops of vanilla. Drop 1/2 teaspoon at a time into a buttered pan about 2 inches apart, and bake in a moderate oven.