Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Notes -- second run at John's recipe

This was John’s recipe, the best starting point for my next attempt:
Madison Guerilla Cookies take 1

1 cup Seeds or Nuts
2 cups plain granola, no fruit
1 cup whole grain rolled oats
1 cup raisins
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup turbinado sugar
1/4 cup dry milk powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup molasses
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp salted butter
1 cup sunflower, canola, or rice bran oil

Mix all dry ingredients including raisins in food processor but don't totally pulverize.
Mix well all wet ingredients in stand mixer with paddle blade. Start with egg and end with the oil. Add dry ingredients to stand mixer with wet ingredients. Mix well and let stand for a few minutes to 36 hours. (The granola and oats need some time to soften a bit)
When ready to bake, place about two tablespoons for each cookie on cookie sheets and flatten slightly. Bake for about 10 minutes (overdone gets too hard in a hurry after cooling)
Step 1: I made John's recipe with only one significant modification that might have affected shape or texture: no baking soda. I was careful to mix the dough in a way that did not incorporate air.

The chopped walnuts worked just fine for the visual little white dots.

Frustration: the first time I made John's recipe, it produced the pancake shape I'm aiming for. This time I followed the same recipe, I get taller, rounder cookies:

(They weren't overdone; that's just the lighting.) I'm blaming the granola. The first time I made John's recipe, I used granola that had big chunks, and the second time I used a granola that was more uniformly finer grained. Two cups of the first kind probably contained less fiber and bulk. I wish our custom was to write recipes using weight rather than volume. I can't help but think it'd be more reliable. Fannie Farmer, you know I love you, but I wish you'd had a scale.

I'm sticking to my suspicion that the original guerrilla cookie recipe did not rely on commercial or ready-made granola.

I made more alterations that would affect the taste. I toasted the oats, walnuts, and sunflower seeds, and doubled the cinnamon and I added a full teaspoon of salt. On top of the sweetness in the basic recipe, those additions made a cookie that is (I know this is silly) too flavorful. Call me obsessed, but I still want to recreate the original guerrilla as closely as we can, and then we can declare victory and choose whether to make a close-to-original guerrilla cookie or something sweeter and spicier.

Step 2: So, I started playing around with the remaining dough. I added one more egg (hoping for the sheen and chewiness), a splash of milk (to flatten it out) and some wheat germ (to cut the sweetness with more earthy, grainy flavor.)

Step 3: I added even more milk and egg:

All of those cookies were fine. Just fine. We could stop now and have a cookie that is closer to the guerrilla than anything I've put in my mouth for 25 years. But this has come too far: I still want to see if I can recreate a cookie that makes me say, "Yes! This is the guerrilla cookie of my youth!"I want to figure out how to make it without prepared granola; I still want to get them just a little stickier (these don't cling together when stacked); a little less sweetness, more grain flavor, more chewiness, and that slightly, occasionally crunchy edge. I also want to carry a few around in a backpack for eight hours and see what happens.

And I'm still curious about what figs would do to the taste.


  1. Next day update:
    When the egg-heavy cookies were were about 24 hours old, the chewiness was just about right where it should be.

    It had crossed my mind before that I should not judge the texture by judging cookies straight from the cooling rack. I probably never once ate an original guerrilla cookie that was less than 12 hours out of the oven.

  2. I could taste more flour in Cookie 74. It was very good but some flavor was missing, vanilla?

  3. Cookie 73 made me think I was sitting with the baker. The taste, moistness, consistency was right on! Nancy

  4. I posted my version of this recipe (I've made it twice so far) on Lindy's Toast site, or see patchfam dot wordpress dot com. It isn't quite right yet but I refuse to use granola because 1) it doesn't seem authentic and 2) it is too much trouble. Maybe by the time I have made it 73 times it will be what I remember...in the meanwhile my workplace loves eating the trials! Iris