People's Movement to re-invent the Original Guerrilla Cookie

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Prairiefire
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People's Movement to re-invent the Original Guerrilla Cookie

Postby Prairiefire » Wed Jun 04, 2008 10:14 pm

Hello, all:

If you have no recollection of the original guerrilla cookie, you can skip this topic. It is just boring fogey nostalgia. You don't need to post a question asking what was so great about the guerrilla cookie; it was nothing special. The subject keeps returning only because aging hippies are feeling the need for more dietary fiber. That's all; move along now.

If you DO remember the original guerrilla cookie, which was sold in Madison from perhaps the late 1960s to perhaps the early 1980s, sorry about the lies I just told the youngsters. I am questing for a recipe, not a debate.

Take a deep breath, close your eyes, and relax. Visualize the original guerrilla cookie. Not Natures Bakery G2K, not the namesake that was sold by the Mifflin Street Coop in 2004, not all the intervening oatmeal or granola cookies you have sampled. Go all the way back to the 1970s. Open the tubular plastic bag that held a stack of eight or twelve guerrilla cookies. Remember how the moisture made them cling to each other just a bit while they were in the bag. Or picture yourself at the snack counter in the Memorial Union or at the co-op. Look at the guerrilla cookie in your hand. Visualize its soft sheen and flat, lumpy-pancake shape. Notice the toasty brown color and the tender resistance when you break it. Remember the tight, moist crumb and the meaty chewiness. Take a moment or two to re-collect your memories. Firm them up; hang on to them.

Now step into your kitchen and do this:

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
2/3 cup milk
1 egg
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup raisins
2 tablespoons unsweetened grated coconut
2 tablespoons cracked millet
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup sunflower seeds

To get the karma right, use only organic, natural, stone-ground, unsulphured, fair trade ingredients.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Chop the walnuts and place on a baking tray with the coconut and sunflower seeds. Save energy by lightly toast these in the oven while it's preheating.
Whisk the oil, honey, sugar, milk, and egg together.
Stir in the remaining ingredients, including the things you toasted.
Drop by heaping tablespoonsful on a prepared (greased or silicon) cookie sheet.
Bake for 10 minutes, or until just set.
Let cool.

How close is that to the original guerrilla? How does it differ? Is the coconut right? Would toasted sesame seeds get it closer to the original? Baking powder?

In case you want to help me recreate the guerrilla cookie recipe, I can share that I've already ruled out nutmeg, molasses, corn meal, peanuts, peanut butter, almonds, tahini, and soy anything. Each of those throws the taste off.

In case you don't want to join in this People's Movement to Liberate the Guerrilla Cookie Recipe, but just want a good cookie, reduce the oil and substitute some applesauce. It's not the original guerrilla, but it's good and more to today's tastes.
Last edited by Prairiefire on Sun Jan 17, 2010 3:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

TheBookPolice
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Postby TheBookPolice » Thu Jun 05, 2008 12:16 am

http://www.thedailypage.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=19104

http://www.thedailypage.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=18298

and probably more that I can't find.

Not trying to harsh your buzz or anything.

Prairiefire
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Postby Prairiefire » Thu Jun 05, 2008 7:24 am

Don't worry, Police, you aren't harshing my buzz.

For others, I would very much like to hear from those who are confident that they remember the original. To prevent this topic from having to rehash the history in many posts, here is the summary:

George Hesselberg and Doug Moe have done most of the research on the history of the cookie; some of their articles are linked elsewhere on this blog, as Police noted.

The accepted story is that a fellow by the name of Ted Odell developed the guerrilla cookie recipe either on his own or based on a recipe given to him by one Mary MacDowell. This cookie was produced in a small bakery on Bedford Street during the 1970s, perhaps a little earlier, perhaps into the early 1980s. At some point Odell could no longer keep up production without compromising his principles and he took the recipe into hiding.

In 1999 or 2000, Natures Bakery developed an homage cookie, which they acknowledge is different than the original. I can confirm that it is. Currently sold as the G2K, it is a good cookie but only a distant cousin of the original. I'm not interested in the ingredients list for this cookie, because it is not actually the guerrilla.

In 2004, MacDowell came forward with a recipe that she says inspired Odell to create the original, and it was sold by the Mifflin Street Co-op for about a year. That cookie was also different than the original--people who ate it and remembered the original said it was different, and Mary herself said that she believed Odell altered the recipe that she had given him back in 1968. I can tell simply by reading the ingredients that this recipe would not have produced the guerrilla cookie that I remember.

Odell has refused to release the recipe that he claims is the original guerrilla cookie and has rebuffed those who have sought him out. I am not among those people; I have read his letters to the editor and he sounds to me like a real pill.

Begging or waiting passively for someone to turn over a recipe that may or may not be the real thing seems to me to be unnecessarily helpless and not at all in the guerrilla spirit. A few people with decent foodie memories and a bit of experience in the kitchen can, I am sure, recreate a recipe that is close enough to the original.

So I am contributing my best effort in the post above. If anyone can improve upon that recipe or if anyone has any first-hand knowledge of the ingredients or the recipe of the original guerrilla cookie, please share it here.

The world will be a better place when that cookie is among us again.
Last edited by Prairiefire on Sun Jan 10, 2010 9:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Henry Vilas » Thu Jun 05, 2008 9:13 am

Next please - the chani(sp?) cup.

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Re: People's Movement to re-invent the Original Guerrilla Co

Postby donges » Thu Jun 05, 2008 9:22 am

Prairiefire wrote:relax... tubular...moisture...soft sheen...tender resistance...tight, moist...meaty chewiness...Firm them up...

I had to keep remembering that what was being discussed was cookies.

Prairiefire
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Postby Prairiefire » Thu Jun 05, 2008 4:32 pm

Donges:
Well, yeah, back in the first post I did admit I lied when I said the guerrilla cookie was nothing special. Sigh. That was SOME COOKIE.

Prairiefire
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Postby Prairiefire » Sat Aug 23, 2008 9:09 am

Hello, all:

If you can devise and bake different variations of experimental guerilla-cookie recipes and share your results, we've got a pretty good--if understandably slow--discussion going at this blog: http://www.lindystoast.com/2007/02/guerilla_cookie.html#comments
If you have good memories of the 1960s-1970s guerilla cookie (not the more recent homages), your efforts will be welcome.

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Postby snoqueen » Sat Aug 23, 2008 12:12 pm

Prairiefire wrote:This cookie was produced in a small bakery on Bedford Street during the 1970s, perhaps a little earlier, perhaps into the early 1980’s.


This is a side track, but Ted did have his bakery in the back of 301 S. Bedford St. in the 70s and up until about 1985. He was in the downstairs back portion of the building underneath where the tai chi center is now. He was a little hard to talk to and most people knew to leave him alone.

The cookies had a lot of molasses and grain in the recipe and smelled like that starter food farmers give baby calves when they're weaned -- that's my take. Not a bad smell, just distinctive and molasses-y. I was never a fan because they were real tooth-breakers, as hard as a rock -- typical hippie food, heavy and full of whole grains with an aggressive "this is good for you" aura.

Remarking on the link posted: if I were trying to reconstruct the cookie recipe, I'd start with vegan ingredients -- no dairy products, no refined sugar. The millet sounds right.

Now the chani cups... those were wonderful. Coconut, peanut butter, honey, and carob frosting on top. That's the recipe to rediscover.

Prairiefire
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Postby Prairiefire » Sat Aug 23, 2008 6:13 pm

snoqueen wrote:...they were real tooth-breakers, as hard as a rock -- typical hippie food, heavy and full of whole grains with an aggressive "this is good for you" aura...
Now the chani cups... those were wonderful. Coconut, peanut butter, honey, and carob frosting on top. That's the recipe to rediscover.


Just goes to show it takes all kinds. I described the guerilla cookies' satisfying 'meaty chewiness' and I would never have described them as 'hard as a rock.' At the same time, I probably never looked twice at a frosted peanut butter/honey confection, never mind put one in my mouth! For that reason, I can't remember the chani cup; it sounds to me as if it would have curled my lips with cloying sweetness and given me no chewy satisfaction whatsoever.

But, hey, thanks for the tips on the guerrilla. I wish I could return the favor for the chani cups.

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Re: People's Movement to re-invent the Original Guerrilla Cookie

Postby ilindb » Sat Oct 31, 2009 4:42 pm

This recipe differs considerably from the one on toast. My recollections of the ORIGINAL cookie- not the honey-made, later version which differed totally in texture- are these: shiny (prob oil) with a little crispy chewy edge but reasonably soft in the middle. Chewy, very chewy. I am thinking cracked wheat-type chewy, but there was also a nutty flavor, possibly walnuts. Definitely raisins. I do NOT remember any peanut flavor nor a heavy molasses flavor nor coconut, though some molasses was likely present. Cinnamon was present, also wheat germ I remember from the list of ingredients as I rationalized that eating three or four was good for me.

so, I am willing to try a recipe, but the one above differs so much from the one at lindystoast that I really don't know where to start!
http://www.lindystoast.com/2007/02/guer ... 69c511970b

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Re: People's Movement to re-invent the Original Guerrilla Cookie

Postby peripat » Sat Oct 31, 2009 6:59 pm

They were sticky, flavorless, easy to break teeth on, and frankly more honored as an early 'part of the movement' food than for any quality the actually had

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Re: People's Movement to re-invent the Original Guerrilla Cookie

Postby nevermore » Sun Nov 01, 2009 1:33 pm

Prairiefire wrote: It's just boring fogey nostalgia. You don't need to post a question asking what was so great about the guerrilla cookie; it was nothing special. The subject keeps returning only because aging hippies are feeling the need for more dietary fiber. That's all; move along now.

What's this? A boomer exhibiting a less than absolutely rigid take about something from its heyday - demonstrating, dare I say it, a sense of humor?

I just read it but I sure don't believe it.

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Re: People's Movement to re-invent the Original Guerrilla Cookie

Postby Broadsheet » Wed Nov 25, 2009 12:36 am

The label tucked inside each bag was blue ink on white, and if I remember correctly it had some sort of a bucolic scene -- maybe a cow and a sunrise. The bakery was called Quercus Alba, which I just Googled, and it's the Latin name for white oak. I remember these cookies being made for a while in the early '70s in the kitchen of the Brooks Street Y.


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