Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Grandma's War Cookies - Flour, sugar, butter and loads of love from Grandma...

This has been a lucky week. Two guest bloggers on Follow My Recipe. And this one is by my lovely younger sister Jahnvi.

So, every friday, in my lab - all us scientists get together at 3 pm to enjoy tea time. Each week, a member of the lab volunteers to bring tea time treats - which can be either sweet or savory, home made or store bought. It's just a gesture to bring some fun into their otherwise often unrewarding lab lives.

This week was my boyfriend's turn - Christian (who happens to work in the same lab as me). He is this sweet German boy from Dresden who grew up in the GDR times. He often talks about how life was so different until the reunion. It is fascinating! Like they didnt have mangoes when growing up. And they had to stand in a line to get bananas! Can you imagine? A life without mangoes and bananas? Anyways, not to digress, he decided to make cookies - to which I scoffed, "Cookies? So much effort for something so simple?". He replied, "Yes! Im going to make my Grandma's cookies, my Grandma's war cookies!"

What he meant was that he would make cookies that his Grandma always made for him - the recipe of which she was taught in school, during the war. So, they are technically not war cookies - cookies being offered to the enemy for peace, to stop bombing their cities or anything - they were just popular during the war since they used ingredients that were easily available. None-the-less, the name for the cookies is catchy and intriguing - so I will refer to them as "Grandma's War Cookies."

However, Christian didnt know the recipe for these cookies. But have no fear, Skype is here! He picked up the phone and called his Grandma to get her recipe. They chatted for a good 30 minutes - which was very endearing - and at the end of the conversation - he was handed down this glorious yet simple recipe. Something that probably represented hope during the war. Something that reminded everyone that there are good things in life to look forward to. Something that represented Christian's childhood and his bond with his grandparents. Something simple, yet very special.

Anyways, so here is the recipe. They turned out very well. It was hard to not keep indulging in them - since they are so light and thin. So beware, although the recipe says you can make 300 cookies, they will be gone before you know it! Anyways, they were also enjoyed by our lab mates during Tea Time.  I guess it was quite a bit of effort for something so simple - yet they were totally worth it. After all, they were loaded with butter and loads of love from Grandma!

Makes 250-300 thin cookies


Flour (500 g)
Butter (150 g)
Sugar (200 g)
Baking powder (2 and 1/2 tsp)
Apple cider vinegar (5 tablespoons)
Salt (1/2 tsp)


1. Pre-heat oven to 400F.

2. Measure out butter and sugar. Mix in a bowl with a tablespoon until foamy and well mixed.

3. Add apple cider vinegar. Mix.

4. Add flour and baking powder.

5. Mix and knead the dough with hands until smooth and firm consistency. Add water accordingly if the dough is too dry. (it should be wet enough to make a dough ball and flatten - it should maintain its shape without crumbling. But it shouldnt be as doughy and stretchy as bread / roti dough. It needs to be something in between).

6. Make dough balls. Flatten. Roll out as thin as possible. The thinner the better. Think - roomali roti thin. Or ginger snap thin. Really really thin. The thinner the better.

7. Use your favorite cookie cutter to cut cookies in the dough. A trick that we realized was that its best to roll the dough on parchment paper directly. This way once we cut the cookies - we dont have to lift them carefully to transfer them on the tray - we just tear out the extra dough - leaving the cookies in place on the parchment paper - which can then be carefully placed on a cookie tray for baking.

8. Bake at 400F for 5-10 mins depending on your oven. These cookies bake fairly fast - since they are ultra thin - so keep an eye on them and dont let them burn. They should be a nice sun kissed brown color.


These cookies are simple yet delicious. I tihnk they would go very well with some nutella too or enjoyed just on their own. Simply delicious! 

 Thank you Christian for these lovely treats. 

Jahnvi and Christian are PhD students at the Universtity of Utah in Salt Lake City, US. They love the outdoors, entertaining friends and cooking together. Jahnvi photographed while Christian baked.



  1. Lovely write-up Jahnavi, found it very, very nostalgic and heart-warming, probably because of Grandma! Honestly, grandmother's rock!

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  3. Hey Jaanu and Christian,

    Love you guys.........It is so wonderful to see you baking yummy delicious cookies! I am sure they would taste excellently delicious with tea. Tell me who rolled the dough to form a big chapati.
    Just a suggestion: If you do not want them to puff, make holes using a fork.
    This how we make salty snack (Mathari).
    Well done! and Keep it up!
    With your tea and cookies, just enjoy my blog:


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