Last year, I made Ruth Wakefield’s original recipe for Toll House Chocolate Crunch Cookies. Invented in the 1930s, these cookies became so popular that by 1939 Nestlé developed chocolate chips specifically for use in the cookies. Nestlé continued to promote chocolate chips and chocolate chip cookies during World War II, such as in this poster suggesting that a batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies would be the perfect gift to send a soldier.
Unfortunately for soldiers and home cooks, butter and sugar – key ingredients in chocolate chip cookies – were rationed during World War II and could be hard to find. This recipe from a Canadian wartime cookbook is similar to Ruth Wakefield’s original recipe, but substitutes shortening for the butter and honey for the sugar, making it possible to still bake chocolate chip cookies even when these ingredients were rationed.
Chocolate Chip Honey Cookies
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 small egg
- 1 cup sifted flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup chopped nuts
- Cream together shortening and honey until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat well.
- Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together twice. Add to the butter mixture along with vanilla and mix well.
- Fold in the chocolate chips and nuts.
- Chill for about an hour or until dough is firmer. Scoop small spoonfuls of dough onto a baking sheet.
- Bake at 375 degrees for about 9-12 minutes. Keep a close eye on the cookies as they are baking, they turn from “perfectly done” to “burnt” very quickly.
The use of honey instead of sugar definitely changes the texture of these cookies; the dough is much softer than regular chocolate chip cookies. The texture of the finished cookies reminded me more of chocolate chip pancakes than of cookies. This is not at all a bad thing, just different! The one thing to watch out for is that these cookies burn very, very easily, so keep an eye on them and take them out of the oven the moment the edges start to brown.
While I still love the classic Toll House chocolate chip cookies, these are certainly a decent substitute for when sugar and butter are scarce.
Gibson, J. (Ed.). (1943). How to eat well though rationed: Wartime canning and cooking book. (n.p.): Vital Publications. https://wartimecanada.ca/document/second-world-war/recipes/turning-ration-stamps-healthy-meals
One thought on “Chocolate Chip Honey Cookies”
So many clever twists on recipes during those rationing years.
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