Friday, 16 March 2012

Wartime honey biscuits

I found this recipe in "Deutsche Moden-Zeitung" fom November 1943. It was most probably meant for Christmas, and it features some wartime specifics... Notice there's no egg and no butter!

125 g wheat flour
125 g rye flour
1-2 tablespoons of artificial honey/syrup
80-100 g sugar
exactly 1/8 l (i.e. 125 ml) milk
a pinch of salt
spices to your preference
12 g of ammonia

Form a dough (add ammonia into the milk first), roll out and cut. Bake on a greased baking tin. You can also replace the wheat flour with oatmeal.

- Well, that's what the original recipe said. Artificial honey is a German invention from wartime, when real honey was scarce (I hear it was awful). Nowadays, artificial honey is the scarce commodity, so I used the real stuff. :-)
I used the so called "gingerbread baking powder" instead of ammonia (and did, therefore, not bother adding it to the milk first). It's a mix of baking powder and gingerbread spices - so I left out the spices step as well. Also, I wanted to use up an old opened package, so I used more - I think next time I'll stick to the original estimate.
And because I was temporarily out of milk (that's what you get for loving milk in your tea), I replaced part of it with cream and water...

The original recipe does not say how hot the oven should be and how long you should bake it. So I experimented. We have hot air oven, mind you, so these data only apply to that, but:
I did it in two batches, the first on 200 degree Celsius for ten minutes - those came out hard, crunchy the first day and hard, the type you douse in your tea, the second. The second batch I baked on 160 degrees, also for ten minutes - those came out relatively soft the first day. I have no idea what they were like the second day, because when I woke up today, they were already gone!

Also, because of that, I have no pictures. I wanted to take pictures in the morning light today, but now I can't. :-) I'm definitely making them again. And trying out the oatmeal variant.


  1. Wow.... I know that WWII time was all about making do and mending, but the thought of putting ammonia in my biscuits grosses me out! I don't even like cleaning with the stuff! (So I'm glad for your sake that you went with the baking powder instead. ;)

    1. Huh, now you caught me off guard! I'm pretty sure that's a different kind of ammonia!
      Baker's ammonia. I left out the "baker's", not realising there were different kinds!
      Getting a baking powder or soda is much easier here and now anyway. (I'm fondest of soda myself, actually. Maybe because I also use it to wash my hair...)