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February 12, 2007

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Comments

Tanna

It is so hard to recreate some taste sensation from memory, at least for me. Here's to someone coming through with the real deal.
I could fall fort he fabulous Olive Oyl cookie jar but like you I'd trip at the bank! Sure is cute.

Julie

Guerilla cookies -- just the name seems so Madison in the early 70s.

The cookie jar is splendid and in a more perfect world it would be yours and you would have guerilla cookies to fill it with.

anapestic

I think you need to host a contest for the ultimate chock-full-of-whatever oatmeal cookie.

How large is large, by the way?

Trig

It would go really well with my egg cups! http://tinyurl.com/38892a

Lynn D.

It is probably a good thing that most of us do not have unlimited means to purchase indulgences such as this. Nevertheless, I do think that it would bring me much happiness to have this sitting on my counter filled with scourtins (French olive cookies).

june

Wasn't it Andy Warhol who had a great cookie jar collection? I am delighted to see Olive Oyl and only sorry that she cannot be thine.

lindy

Yes June, it was Andy W., a Pittsburgh native and Carnegie Mellon U. art school graduate, as a matter of fact. I pass his Oakland childhood home on the bus from work every day. His demented (and enviable) cookie jar collection was part of a show at the Warhol Museum here in town several years ago.

lee

Haha! I still live in Madison but I din't know the history of the cookie. I think Nature's Bakery came out with Guerilla Cookies 2000 and they probably still sell them but I have no idea if they are anything like the original.

lindy

Lee- From the gossip at the two Madison sites I checked out...not so much.

Baking Soda

Look at her, isn't she cute! How much money? Pfff. I'll pass and have a cookie instead.

Karen McKim

Hi--
I am, just today (May 2008) searching for a recipe for the guerilla cookies I remember from Madison in the early 1970's. Did you ever find it? Ever re-discover it, or get a recipe from someone who rediscovered it?

Marcie

I dream about guerilla cookies all the time. Did anyone find the recipe??? Please let me know.

Mimi

Karen (above) has me intrigued! I used to buy GCs on my way home from classes in the late afternoon when I lived on Gilman Street in the early 1980s. I'll be back in Madison in a month, and I'll look for them.

Lindy, I should form your erudition you had Badger ties!

Mimi

That should be...

I should have known from...

Lindy

I'm tickled at the flurry of guerilla cookies comments. I hope it means you guys are searching them out, and will let me know if you get further than I did.

The only thing I'm truly sure of is the oatmeal. When a cookie tastes like real food (as opposed to just dessert) it always seems to be an oatmeal related phenomenon.

Mimi- I haven't set foot in Madison since 1975, much though I loved the place (weather exempted, of course.) I guess all my Madison people left when I did, or before, so I didn't have anyone left to visit.

Karen

I went online and found that Nature's Bakery on Willy Street in Madison held a contest in 2000 to recreate the lost treasure of the Guerrilla Cookie. Their website lists the results of this contest, the Guerrilla 2000 cookie (G2K), among the bakery’s products. One cookie pictured on the website looks very much like the real thing.

So yesterday, my daughter and I visited Nature's Bakery and ascertained that the G2K is a good cookie, but not much like the real thing. Wrong size, wrong shape, wrong color, wrong taste, wrong texture. The picture on the website that looks like the guerrilla is, instead, the bakery's oatmeal chocolate chip cookie.

I tried a few granola-cookie recipes looking for a starting point to recreate the guerrilla cookie. But I've given up on starting with granola cookies, for several reasons. One is that I just don't think that a hippie baker who produced what must have been thousands of cookies each week from a pad on Bedford Street in the early 70’s would or could have relied on pre-made granola. I'm sure the recipe would have used only single ingredients.

A bit of thought also helped me realize it might be useful to check out the source cookbooks that he might have started with. So I pulled out my Tassajara Bread Book and read through the cookie recipes in the last chapter. The ingredients list for Recipe 88, Nutty Gritty Cookies, seemed promising. Oil, not butter. Honey, not sugar. Oats, seeds, and raisins; not granola. Completely unleavened. Some atypical ingredients that would set a cookie apart, like millet and corn meal.

Following the recipe exactly did not result in guerrilla cookies, but was close enough that this will be my starting point. The millet, particularly, is definitely right. So is lightly toasting all the nuts and seeds. But guerrilla cookies were sweeter and darker in color.

One more thing made me think I might be on the right track. As you make it, the recipe fairly begs to be altered. You’re instructed to mix the oil and honey with all the dry ingredients, and then add water slowly until you have the consistency of cookie dough. Before you add the water, the ‘dough’ is actually a loose dry mixture like moist, finely textured granola, and is very, very easy to eat by the handful. Even an amateur baker would think, ‘you know, some cinnamon would be nice,’ or ‘what if I use applesauce instead of water?’ I am sure any hippie baker—especially if he was grooving with the spirit of the Tassajara Bread Book—would have used that recipe as a starting point for invention.

I’ll keep you posted, and if I’ve inspired anyone else to try, keep me posted, please.

Lindy

Karen-I do remember reading about the 2000 bakery contest, and other people seemed as disappointed as you were in the end product.
The millet seems like an inspiration. I'm almost sure there was either cinnamon or nutmeg, and perhaps coconut? The oatmeal is a given, I think. An especially great thing about the original cookie was how much it tasted like real food-for eating when actually hungry-rather than simply a dessert. This is a characteristic of oatmeal cookies in general.
I'm so glad you are doing this- please keep me posted!

Prairiefire (Karen)

Update on my kitchen research: applesauce is not an ingredient of the original guerilla, but my kids don't seem to care. Those cookies are a hit.

Update on my online research: I'm done, without getting any clue to the ingredients of the original guerrilla cookie. Still, just for the record:

The online history exists mainly in two articles, one from the Wisconsin State Journal and one from the Cap Times. George Hesselberg wrote the WSJ article in 2004 and relied on two sources: Glen Chism, who was baking for the Mifflin Street Coop in 2004, and Mary MacDowell, from whom Glen got the recipe he was using. The second article was written by Doug Moe for the Cap Times in 2005, who relied on Hesselberg’s article and an interview with one of the Mifflin Street Co-op’s five (!) managers, Matt Stoner.

There have been at least three recipes that have been sold as the ‘guerrilla cookie.’

The first was Ted Odell’s and none of the articles contains any indication that anyone other than Ted has that recipe. Mary MacDowell told Hesselberg that in 1967, she got a recipe off the back of a ‘Tiger’s Milk’ box, altered it, and shared the recipe with Odell, who then altered it further. Odell has written in a letter to the Cap Times (May 2004), and in a letter to On Wisconsin (2006?) that he is the “true and sole creator.” Regardless of whether Ted worked from Mary's recipe or worked it out himself, both he and MacDowell agree that first guerrilla cookie was Odell’s recipe.

Hesselberg’s sources say it was sold at the Mifflin Street Co-op, but I remember it also being sold at other places, including a little grocery store on State Street, and the Memorial Union. Chism told Hesselberg that the Odell cookie was on sale into the 1980’s.

The second recipe is the one created and introduced by the Nature’s Bakery in 1999 or 2000. It is still sold there as the Guerrilla 2000 Cookie (G2K). It’s quite different from the original, and the bakery doesn’t claim that there is any direct connection. The ingredients are honey, eggs, vanilla, butter, peanut butter, whole wheat pastry flour, rolled oats, baking soda, unsulphered coconut, walnuts, sunflower seeds, raisins, malt-sweetened chocolate chips and hemp nuts.

If ‘Marvel,’ a participant on Isthmus Daily Page’s blog, is for real and is any indication of the Nature’s Bakery’s attitude, the bakery doesn’t really give a flying fig about the real thing. Among other callow comments, Marvel wrote in 2006, “Towards the end of when I was a member of the Nature's Bakery Collective ...our marketing and production coordinators spent several months in painstaking investigation, and while finding a single consensus on what, exactly, the historical 'gorilla cookie' contained ... proved futile, they did finally piece together a recipe that contained those ingredients that most people agreed were in the 'classic gorilla.' We added a few additional ingredients to give it that 'contempo' feel (i.e. hemp seeds), and christened it the 'Gorilla 2K.'

If Marvel can’t even get the name right, I have to wonder what she considers to be a ‘painstaking investigation.’ Anyway...

The third version of the guerrilla cookie was sold by the Mifflin Street Co-op in 2004 and 2005 at its store and through mail order. I never had one of these cookies. This recipe was Mary MacDowell’s, according to its baker, Glen Chism. Chism said that MacDowell offered the recipe to the co-op to help with the co-op’s financial difficulties, on the condition that it remain secret.

Hesselberg published the list of the ingredients in MacDowell’s recipe: rolled oats, cane sugar, turbinado sugar, raisins, dry milk, wheat bran, egg whites, butter, almonds, egg yolks, soy nuts, sunflower seeds, canola oil, cracked wheat, almond butter, peanut butter, soy grits, brewer's yeast, vanilla, molasses, cinnamon, baking soda, salt.

Hesselberg's article quoted two women who had tasted the 2004 MacDowell recipe. They said they could taste peanut butter and described the cookie as ‘slightly dry.’ Those comments indicate to me that the MacDowell recipe was also something different than the 1970’s Odell recipe.

Hesselberg’s article was written in 2004 after the third version of the guerrilla cookie was introduced. Doug Moe interviewed Matt Stoner, one of five Mifflin St. Co-op managers in Oct 2005, several months after the co-op stopped selling the cookie. Stoner repeated the story of MacDowell giving her recipe to Chism for sale at the co-op, but said that the baker had left the co-op “not under the best circumstances,” and had taken the recipe with him.

The Mifflin Street Co-op went out of business in late 2006 or early 2007.

One final piece that I’ll add for what it’s worth (I’m guessing not much): in April 2006, in an unsigned column, “Things of Note,” the Wisconsin State Journal wrote, “Here's what guerrilla cookies were made of, at least in part: Honey, eggs, vanilla, butter, baking soda, walnuts, sunflower seeds, organic raisins, organic hemp nuts, molasses, canola oil, cracked oats, coconut, rolled oats, pastry flour and much more.”

That list doesn’t match the ingredient list of either the G2K or the MacDowell recipe, but I’m thinking it can’t be the Odell recipe, either: I don't think that that hemp nuts were available in commercial-production quantities in the late 1960s, and canola oil didn't exist until the late 1970's.

(Other notes: I'm switching to my usual online 'handle,' Prairiefire; and I'm posting this so late at night--or early in the morning--because I am waiting up for my son, who will be grounded as soon as he walks in the door three hours after his curfew.)

Prairiefire

Memorial Day attempt update: NOT soy flour. Yuck.

Prairiefire

It's the weekend, so I'm back in the kitchen experimenting and trying to recreate the guerrilla cookie.

I played with the Tassajara Bread Book recipe for 'Nutty Gritty Cookies' for a while. Today, using what I learned from that, I played with a recipe for 'Wheat Germ Drop Cookies' from Allrecipes.com.

I could be getting close. I am appalled at the amount of oil I need to get the sheen and the profile of the guerrilla. This could certainly help to explain why the cookies were so satisfying--and why I gained 20 pounds in grad school.

1 cup vegetable oil
1 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 cup milk
2 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 eggs
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups raisins
1/4 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
1/4 cup cracked millet
3/4 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup chopped lightly toasted walnuts
3 tbsp lightly toasted sunflower seeds

Use only ingredients that are fair trade, organic, natural, unsulphured, stone-ground, cold-pressed, etc. etc., to achieve the karma of the cookie.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease baking sheet, or use a silicon liner.
Combine the oil and the sugar and mix well. Beat in the milk and the eggs. Stir in the remaining ingredients and mix well.
Drop tablespoonsful of dough on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 12 minutes.

If anyone who remembers guerrilla cookies wants to try that recipe, I'd appreciate knowing how you think it should be adjusted to get it closer to the original. For one thing, I think the guerrilla was chewier than the cookie produced by this recipe, but perhaps that could be a matter of waiting until tomorrow. After the fifth or sixth trial batch today, it dawned on me that I was testing these fresh out of the oven, while I have probably never eaten a guerrilla cookie that was less than a day old.

A few of the ingredients I've ruled out are almonds, peanuts, tahini, applesauce, apple juice, and anything soy. I can't make up my mind about corn meal, nutmeg, and toasted sesame seeds. Each of them seemed right in some batches and wrong in others. They aren't in the recipe that I ended with today (above), but I might put them back in to some later trials.

Prairiefire

After making what I thought was rapid progress in moving toward discovering a recipe that produces a good approximation of the guerrilla cookie, I haven't moved any closer in my last eight or twelve attempts. I did decide firmly against both corn meal and nutmeg. I suspected leavening was not used; I've tried enough variations now that I have decided my suspicions were correct.

The recipe above has a higher proportion of nuts and seeds and a lower proportion of cookie than the real thing. I've tried several variations, but when I get the texture, I lose the taste, and vice-versa.

In my most recent variation, I tried figs, which didn't produce the guerrilla, but I'm still experimenting. Mashed figs could give a cookie a fruity note that several of us remember, along with moisture that everyone remembers.

Lindy

Is it possible that there were dates? I hadn't thought of it before, but...moist and fruity?

Prairiefire

Dates are a good idea; I'll try that next.

My daughter just started her summer job as a camp counselor and they can never get enough cookies. So I'll have an outlet for the stream of experimental runs at the guerrilla cookie recipe that will come out of my kitchen every Saturday. I will, however, need to add a lot of postage to the budget for this Quest.

I sent along the fig variations with her when she went. Word from the kids is that all the cookies were good, but the sticky ones were the best. (The sticky batch had both mashed figs and honey.)

vinegarpie

PF, your recipe sounds good.
This is some 'inside' info from different sources I have on Guerilla Cookies in descending order of my confidence in the info.:

1) Don't assume organic, whole, natural ingredients. Think industrial strength commercial peanut butter.

2) Try grinding oatmeal in place of most or all the whole wheat flour.

3) The powdered milk, peanut butter, wheat germ, molasses, brewers yeast combination coming from the Tiger's Milk influence seems to be what set these apart from the normal oatmeal raisin cookie.

4) Coarse ground soy grits. Finer than TVP, coarser than typical soy grits. Supposed to contribute to the chewiness.

5) Sunflower Oil

I have never really taken seriously the oil and coconut angle in my recipe attempts. I will let you know when I give them a try.

donna richards

I don't think there were raisins, 'cause I hate raisins in cookies, and ate them every day.

donna richards

Guerilla Cookies,revisited by Donna Horowitz Richards
I worked at the Union in the cafeteria from 1969 to 1975, working my way through school at minimum wage, and helping to organize the labor union there. I ate them daily for some of those years, as it was a nutritious meal with an apple or yogurt or milk. And I actually did have crumbs in my backpack, with the packaging (and the ingredients listed), and did not throw it out for years. Unfortunately, I did not write them down.

I tried this, with the ingredients listed in an article, and combining some recipes that looked close, and this was my first attempt. Not bad, but again, not the texture. I think I will add more honey next time, and less sugar, and a little molasses. Although I don’t remember molasses in the ingredients. I thought I remembered dried milk powder or whey powder in the recipe. That is not in this one, and maybe that is one key to the texture.

I think one trick is grinding some of the walnuts and sunflower seeds, and letting the bottom cook until crunchy. I might take out the baking powder, and push them down and out a little on the pan. I do not use Teflon pans. I think I will also oil the pan, hoping for more crunch on the bottom.

As I said earlier, I don’t think there were raisins in them, or I wouldn’t have eaten them, as I hate raisins in cookies. And there sure weren’t chocolate chips.

honey – 4T
eggs, 2
vanilla, 2 t.
butter, 1/2 cup
baking soda, 1 t.
walnuts, 1/2 c. ground and some chopped
sunflower seeds, 1/4 c. ground and some not
molasses, I didn’t use any, but will add a small measure next time.
oil, 1/2 c. I think it was sunflower oil
cracked oats I will try to add some next time
coconut, 1 c.
rolled oats, 2 c.
flour (mix of white and wheat) 2 c.
baking powder 1 t.
salt 1/2 t.
brown sugar 1 c.
white sugar (or splenda) 1 c.

I, too, agree with the idea that recipes are for sharing. I also think the idea of a fundraising goal, for some kind of good local cause, is a great idea. There are alumni everywhere. I am sorry that Ted Odell can’t enjoy the love of this cookie. But, he certainly can help us, and change his mind. Please share your results! (DHR now living back in Wisconsin, in Fond du Lac.)

donna richards

Guerilla Cookies,revisited by Donna Horowitz Richards
I worked at the Union in the cafeteria from 1969 to 1975, working my way through school at minimum wage, and helping to organize the labor union there. I ate them daily for some of those years, as it was a nutritious meal with an apple or yogurt or milk. And I actually did have crumbs in my backpack, with the packaging (and the ingredients listed), and did not throw it out for years. Unfortunately, I did not write them down.

I tried this, with the ingredients listed in an article, and combining some recipes that looked close, and this was my first attempt. Not bad, but again, not the texture. I think I will add more honey next time, and less sugar, and a little molasses. Although I don’t remember molasses in the ingredients. I thought I remembered dried milk powder or whey powder in the recipe. That is not in this one, and maybe that is one key to the texture.

I think one trick is grinding some of the walnuts and sunflower seeds, and letting the bottom cook until crunchy. I might take out the baking powder, and push them down and out a little on the pan. I do not use Teflon pans. I think I will also oil the pan, hoping for more crunch on the bottom.

As I said earlier, I don’t think there were raisins in them, or I wouldn’t have eaten them, as I hate raisins in cookies. And there sure weren’t chocolate chips.

honey – 4T
eggs, 2
vanilla, 2 t.
butter, 1/2 cup
baking soda, 1 t.
walnuts, 1/2 c. ground and some chopped
sunflower seeds, 1/4 c. ground and some not
molasses, I didn’t use any, but will add a small measure next time.
oil, 1/2 c. I think it was sunflower oil
cracked oats I will try to add some next time
coconut, 1 c.
rolled oats, 2 c.
flour (mix of white and wheat) 2 c.
baking powder 1 t.
salt 1/2 t.
brown sugar 1 c.
white sugar (or splenda) 1 c.

I, too, agree with the idea that recipes are for sharing. I also think the idea of a fundraising goal, for some kind of good local cause, is a great idea. There are alumni everywhere. I am sorry that Ted Odell can’t enjoy the love of this cookie. But, he certainly can help us, and change his mind. Please share your results! (DHR now living back in Wisconsin, in Fond du Lac.)

Prairiefire

I had to give it a break for a while; I was gaining weight. I'll get back to the experimenting soon, maybe when the smell of baking cookies will be a warm counterpoint to cool autumn air.

Donna, thanks. I'm going to try leaving the raisins out next. Yours sounds like a nicely specific, reliable memory to me. I could have sworn I could taste raisins, but now that you mention it, my visual memory of the cookie does not include raisins.

Vinegarpie, thanks to you, too. I tried the brewer's yeast, and I think that works; I'm going to leave it in. I do not remember 'Tiger's Milk;' the only thing I can find by that name now is a nutrition bar. Is that what it was/is? I can't figure out how someone would make a cookie out of a nutrition bar--especially how anyone could mass-produce cookies from commercial nutrition bars. I'll try to find a place to buy a few and see what I can do. Powdered milk is a good bet, too. I'm lactose intolerant and (TMI alert!) I could really tell those cookies had something milky in them when I ate too many in one sitting.

Peanut butter, though, just does not work for me. My palate absolutely does not remember the taste of peanuts, and I can't fit in even just a little bit of peanut butter in the recipe without tasting it in the finished product. One of the guys in the next-door apartment on North Henry Street was allergic to peanuts, but I don't remember that he shied away from guerilla cookies. It seems to me it would have come up if he was allergic to such a staple of our collegiate food supply. But maybe he did and I just don't remember it.

Prairiefire

Donna, thanks again for your observation about raisins. The more I think about it, the more it's an 'oh-duh.'

1) The guerilla cookie had a fairly low profile. As I try different recipes, when I get the low profile, the raisins stick out and get puffy and burnt. When the cookie is thick enough to protect the raisins in the oven, it isn't a good guerrilla shape. I was thinking I'd try to solve that later, but...oh, duh...take the raisins out.

2) Raisins and guerrilla cookies...relax...visualize...do I have any recollections of raisins in conjunction with guerillas? Why, yes, it finally came to me. I remember eating raisins WITH guerilla cookies (not in.) When I had raisins, I would take a few raisins, pop them in my mouth, and take a bite of the guerilla. Oh, my, I REMEMBER that. Why would I have done that if there were raisins in the cookies themselves?

Prairiefire

Donna, thanks again for your observation about raisins. The more I think about it, the more it's an 'oh-duh.'

1) The guerilla cookie had a fairly low profile. As I try different recipes, when I get the low profile, the raisins stick out and get puffy and burnt. When the cookie is thick enough to protect the raisins in the oven, it isn't a good guerrilla shape. I was thinking I'd try to solve that later, but...oh, duh...take the raisins out.

2) Raisins and guerrilla cookies...relax...visualize...do I have any recollections of raisins in conjunction with guerillas? Why, yes, it finally came to me. I remember eating raisins WITH guerilla cookies (not in.) When I had raisins, I would take a few raisins, pop them in my mouth, and take a bite of the guerilla. Oh, my, I REMEMBER that. Why would I have done that if there were raisins in the cookies themselves?

Lindy

I am enjoying all this guerilla cookie chat so much, and expect that you will figure out a perfect duplicate recipe among you, in a cooperative spirit worthy of the original.And then I'm going to make a whole bunch of them, regularly.

Prairiefire

Sorry to be mundane for a minute, but what's the deal with the duplicate posts? Both Donna and I have made the same mistake. What are we doing wrong?

Lindy

I have no idea, I guess it's a Typepad issue. It's happened before, and to me too. I have no idea why, sorry. I don't think you are doing anything wrong- think it's just a glitch.

Prairiefire

I started a thread a while back on the blog of the Isthmus, a Madison cultural weekly, hoping that someone there could also help out. I haven't been able to attract any actual cooks there, but a few people have contributed some useful memories. Today 'Snoqueen' wrote:

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. ...

...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.

Dick

I recently had a cookie that reminded me of the guerilla cookies of the late 60s/early 70s, so I googled the term and came across this blog. Thanks for all of the great info.

The cookie I had was at Ancora coffee shop on King Street and it was called a Terra Cookie. At $1.70 apiece, it was a little on the pricey side, but it was good. Doughier and not as chewy as the original guerilla cookie, but the taste was very similar. I ate this one too quickly to even try to analyze the ingredients, but there may have been golden raisins or dates in it. I'll have to get another one soon.

Prairiefire

Dick! Thank you!

I am taking the week off work to get my kids off to college. Today was for running last-minute errands, and I put "go to Ancora and buy Terra cookies" on the list.

Of all the cookies I've bought since the 1970's, the Terra is the closest thing to the guerrilla. It is a 'healthy' nuts-seeds-and-whole grains creation. Here's how close it is: My husband, who was also on the Madison campus in the late 60's-early 70s (we did not know each other then), did not remember the guerrilla when I started on this quest. When I brought the Terra cookie home, I pulled one out of the bag and smashed it as flat as I could with my hand.

"Do you remember a cookie that looked a lot like that?" I asked.

Oh, yeah! Those cookies!

The Terra is not as moist as the guerilla and doesn't have the sheen. The Terra is a taller, more rounded cookie; you cannot stack them like you could the guerrilla (unless, of course, you smash them.) It's a bit more cake-like. On a minor note, the Terra has more cinnamon than I recollect in the guerilla. Still, I decided it was worth asking about the ingredients.

Ancora does not bake the cookies themselves and couldn't give out the recipe even if they wanted to. The manager did, however, pull out an ingredients list and a website.

If I'd heard of spelt flour before, it had not registered. I bought some at the grocery store on my way home. Here's how Bob's Red Mill describes it: Spelt is a non-hybrid primitive relative of our present day wheat that dates back more than 9,000 years. Spelt has a unique nutty flavor and because of its high water solubility, its vital nutrients are quickly absorbed into the body. Spelt flour can be used in most recipes calling for wheat flour--especially yeast and quick breads. That sounds like the taste might go in the guerillas, but I'm wondering whether spelt flour was well-known and available to health-food nuts in the late '60s and 70's. I did my share of reading 'natural foods' cookbooks then, and I don't remember it.

I pulverized a Terra cookie to examine it more: the coconut is toasted, but the walnuts do not appear to be. The 'flax' listed in the ingredients list is whole flax seeds. The little white seeds in the Terra cookie are not from millet but from figs, an ingredient that was already on my list as something that needed more trials. The ingredients list says that amaranth berries are in the Terra, but I don’t see them, unless they look exactly like fig seeds.

I can’t wait to get back from this week of college drop-offs and try out some of these new leads in the kitchen.

Prairiefire

Bad mother! Bad! The kids are packing the car, while I'm blogging about guerilla cookies.

Deal with it, kids: if you're going off to college, you need to know how to do some things yourselves.

I'm going to try some recipes with spelt flour no matter what, but my first brief research gives hints that spelt may not have been available in the early 70's. The ingredients list in the 1970 Tassajara Bread book does not include it though it has 10 other grains and flours listed and discussed. The 1971 New York Times Natural Foods Cookbook has no index entries for spelt.

At the other end of this time line, the 2002 Whole Foods Market Cookbook says this about spelt: "For centuries spelt was popular in Eqypt, Europe, and throughout the Mediterranean; however, by 1900 it was hard to find. Spelt has since been resurrected and can be found in many specialty and natural food stores. The kernels are oval and dark brown. It has a nutty taste and chewy texture and can be ground like any other grain into flour..."

And that does it for the reference materials that I can reach from my breakfast table. I'd better go help the kids now. One of them is a freshman, for chrissakes.

Prairiefire

Home again. I don’t think that the original guerrilla recipe would have included spelt. This website seems to indicate that a useful modern variety was not developed until 1986, and this organic food supplier claims they were the first to market spelt in modern times in the United States, in 1987.

Prairiefire

I couldn’t wait for fall to get back in the kitchen. I went ahead and heated up my kitchen yesterday and took another run at the guerrilla recipe using Donna’s suggestions and information from the cookies that Dick discovered at Ancora. It is as close as I’ve come so far, and created something that I don’t mind calling a guerrilla cookie, if not the guerrilla cookie. I’ll put the recipe in the next post.

Grinding some of the ingredients in a food processor, as Donna suggested, does improve the texture very much. I can’t help but wonder whether a counter-culture baker in the late 60’s would have done that, but what the heck.

I’m going to call it for figs: they are in. There was something fruity about the cookies, and my first batch without raisins confirmed for me that Donna is correct that there were no raisins in the guerrilla. Figs would also account for the little round white seeds that I think we all remember. I’m keeping the millet in anyway for the crunchiness, even though the figs provide a second kind of little white dot. I still have not tried dates.

I used whey powder and will use it again, but I don’t know what it did to either the texture or taste. I also used brewer’s yeast but I’m not sure about it. Next time, I’m going to leave it out to see what it did to the taste. I’m also not so sure about toasting anything but the coconut anymore. In the recipe below, I’ve left that step out for the nuts and seeds.

I am back again to making a cookie with a LOT of OIL. A very high fat content would account for the satisfying, whole-meal experience that almost all of us remember. A lot of oil also helps to achieve the sheen that I remember so well, the moisture, and the slight crunchiness of the bottom edges that Donna mentioned. Finally, the oil also helps to get the flat profile of the guerrilla. To get a flat, stackable cookie, the dough needs to be so wet that it is almost a cross between cake batter and cookie dough.

For flour, I’m using nothing but whole wheat flour; I just can’t imagine a counter-culture baker using white flour. I also used turbinado sugar instead of either brown or white, simply because it was so popular among the natural-foods folks at that time—and I think it works. I’m with Donna about the molasses—she doesn’t remember it on the ingredient list; I don’t remember it in the taste. But I added it anyway, because the cookie looks so pale without it. Suggestions, anyone?

I would love it if someone else could try the recipe in the following post and see what you think.

Prairiefire

Prairiefire Guerrilla, version 1.0

  • 1 ½ cup rolled oats
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts
  • ¾ cup chopped figs
  • ½ cup shredded coconut, lightly toasted
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon brewer’s yeast
  • 2 tablespoons whey powder
  • 1 cup raw turbinado sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
  • ¼ cup cracked millet

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Measure out the oats and walnuts, and put about half of each into a food processor with the figs and coconut. Grind until it is well-mixed and has a coarse texture.

Combine the flour, cinnamon, salt, brewer’s yeast, whey powder, and sugar in a bowl; mix well and set aside.

Beat the egg in an electric mixer and then beat in the milk, molasses, vanilla, and oil.

Add the flour mixture and beat just until blended. Stir in the sunflower seeds, millet, the ground fig mixture, and the remaining oats and walnuts.

Drop in heaping tablespoonsful onto a prepared baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees.

Donna Richards

I will definitely try your recipes next. I missed it by one day, looked after I baked on Labor Day.

I created one yesterday that turned out great. Was very crunchy, but I lost the middle that should have been chewy and not crunchy. I did not change much from last time, but made them bigger. They appear very soft and dark golden brown when done, but harden and crunch up beautifully on the cooling rack. I had to cut them apart, lift with a spatula, and let cool. They were the hit of the party, but no Wisconsin alums (professors at Oshkosh) except for my husband. He called them guerilla cookies. But they're not quite. When I try yours, then I'll figure out how to combine the two, and maybe you can do the same. I still used sugar and butter, but will try to eliminate the white sugar and the butter next time. I think sunflower oil instead of canola might be a good idea. Here goes:
Cream 1/2 c. butter with 1 c white sugar until fluffy. Add 1 c. brown sugar to blend smooth. Add 2 eggs, 2 t. vanilla, and 1/2 t. salt, and 4 T. honey. In another bowl, sift 1 3/4 c. whole wheat graham flour, 1/2 t. baking powder 1 t. baking soda. Slowly roll into wet mixture, with 1/2 c. canola oil and 2 T. molasses. Then add 1/2 c. ground walnuts, 1/4 c. sunflower seeds, 1 c. rolled oats, 1 c. steel cut (Red Mill) oats, and 1 c. of coconut. That's it. Heaping spoonsfuls with lots of space in between, maybe 5 or 6 to a baking sheet. (I do think it needs a touch of cinnamon.) I broke down and added chocolate chips to half the batch.... yummmmmm.

I baked at 300 degrees convection, until fully dark golden brown. Lift upon removal from oven with a spatula onto the cooling rack.

Tell me what you think, and I'll do the same with your millet and fig creation, and the Tassajara varieties.

Prairiefire

Hello, all:

I took the Prairiefire Guerrilla version 1.0 cookies to work, where several people remember the original, and the verdict was that they were very close, but not chewy enough. None of them minded the taste of the brewer's yeast, but I still do.

But the thing that bothered me most was the oil--the cookies seemed to get oilier by the day. I don't understand the chemistry of baked goods, but while that amount of oil seemed fine when they were first baked, it became too much later.

Donna, I made your recipe (altered only slightly) last night, and my feelings got hurt! My husband said that he liked yours better! I'm joking; my feelings were not hurt. I agree with him--that recipe is a keeper. And I agree with you--not quite the original guerrilla.

When I made your recipe, I left out the leavening, used only dark brown sugar (enough to substitute for both the white sugar and the molasses in your recipe; I'm guessing that wasn't much of a change) and made sure not to overbake them. Mine did not harden up on the cooling rack. This morning, they are still nicely chewy.

When I made your recipe, I added figs and a little milk to half the dough, and did not like the results as much as your original.

Now, what could it be that accounts for the chewiness of your recipe? I think it's, at least in part, the steel-cut oats.

How sure are you of honey? The noticeable taste of honey does not, to me, seem compatible with my taste-memory of the guerrilla. On the other hand, I think it's one of the things that made your honey-graham guerrilla so good.

Prairiefire

Letting the dough rest overnight

Did you guys catch this great cookie article in the New York Times this past July? Do NOT miss the recipe that is linked in the article: that recipe produces the most luxurious, most tasty, most impressive chocolate chip cookies possible. I've made them for three social occasions and people just fall all over themselves with praise. For myself, it's one of those rare cookies that is so good, it's actually easier to stop at one. I want to savor it, eat it slowly, and sit absolutely still after eating it, with my eyes closed, giving thanks for the sensual pleasures of creation!

But back to the article: The author traveled around New York City visiting the bakers of the cookies that he heard people raving about, asking the bakers about their tips and tricks. To his apparent surprise (and mine), he discovered that letting the cookie dough rest in the refrigerator at least overnight is "a tactic shared by nearly every baker interviewed."

A food scientist explains that the long rest before baking allows "the dough and other ingredients to fully soak up the liquid — in this case, the eggs — in order to get a drier and firmer dough, which bakes to a better consistency.

"A long hydration time is important because eggs, unlike, say, water, are gelatinous and slow-moving, she said. Making matters worse, the butter coats the flour, acting, she said, “like border patrol guards,” preventing the liquid from getting through to the dry ingredients. The extra time in the fridge dispatches that problem."

The cookies made from this recipe are very tender, not chewy, but I'm wondering if the dough-resting tactic might not enhance chewiness when the dough contains, say, steel-cut oats.

I'm going to give it a try.

Prairiefire

I want to call everyone's attention again to Donna's Honey-Graham guerrilla cookies, recipe three posts back, posted on September 03, 2008 at 12:20 AM.

My husband took the last of the batch I baked (I did not use any baking soda or powder and used brown sugar for all the sweetening) with him on a fishing trip with some buddies and--get this--the fishing buddies asked for the cookie recipe!

That has NEVER happened before. Good work, Donna!!

Claire

I found your blog following a Thanksgiving reunion of old Whole Earth staff members. One of the topics raised was, What ever happened to Ted O'Dell?

I bought my first guerilla cookies in bags of 12 at Concordance on State Street (attached to the Bakers Rooms/Ovens of Brittany) when I arrived in Madison in 1976. From 1980 until 1985, I worked at Whole Earth on East Johnson Street and we sold the cookies, both individually and in bags of 10 (with rising costs, he had downsized). There was a great uproar when he changed the recipe: he substituted malt syrup for either the sugar or the honey. Many of us swore we'd never eat the cookies again because the taste was so altered. (But we ate them anyway...)

Thanks to everyone who has done all the research. Perhaps I'll give it a go as well!

Karen Sharp

It was delightful to discover this discussion as I was thinking that it would be great if the wonderful Berkeley Cheese Board Coop granola could be made into a cookie - wait, the guerilla cookie!

I too recall the wonderful guerilla cookies from Madison. I recall that when I was a student there in 1971 I practically lived on them - I considered them a respectable meal. I remember buying them in bags of about ten too.

The Cheese Board granola taste is not quite the same, but they include oats/butter/sugar/sunflower seeds/ pecans/almonds/walnuts/ sesame seeds/honey/vanilla and salt. I haven't tried your recipe, but I do recall a sunflower seed like taste; the pop of something like millet or fig seeds, and that they were so, so satisfying.

I'm eager to try the recipes. Has anyone tried adding more types of nuts?

Anyways, I'm sending my thanks to Toast and the bakers, and the world-wide-web.

ohjoy

Hi,
I'm so glad to have found this discussion. I thought I was the only one who had this longing for the original cookie. The ones sold for a short time at the Mifflin coop were ... close, but they didn't inspire me to go back often to buy them.
I don't like the ones sold from Natures Bakery at all.
I've been trying to re-create a great trail mix cookie from my neighbor - from the recipe given - and still can't recreate my neighbors delicious version. So trying to come up with the original Guerrilla Cookie seems completely beyond my limited abilities.

I'll try making the ones posted here, so keep posting your experiments.
Stay warm!

ohjoy

Ever since finding this site, I've been thinking about these cookies. I was in high school back in the 70's. I went to Edgewood for a time and rode the bus home to the eastside. I'd get off near Whole Earth Co-op, get 3 cookies, a container of blueberry yogurt and walk the 4 blocks home. I'd watch Star Trek and eat the cookies & yogurt before tackling homework. It was a routine that morphed into a ritual. Homework suffered if I didn't stop at the co-op and get my fix.
I'm not a "foodie" or even much of a cook, but my inclination is that the cookie was vegetarian. No clue as to how strict it would have been taken. Eggs? I'm thinking not. I just don't know.
I wish Ted O'dell could find some cause bigger than himself and share the recipe with someone or something that would bring it back to the public.
I know its pointless to waste time on it and there are other great cookies to make. I'll post the Trail Mix cookie recipe my neighbor gave me. Try it and let me know what you think.

ohjoy

TRAIL MIX COOKIES
A grand prizewinner in a recipe contest.

1 C granulated sugar
1 C packed brown sugar
1 C butter
1 C peanut butter
2 t vanilla
2 eggs
1 C peanut butter (almond butter)
2 C unbleached flour
½ C oats (quick or regular)
¾ C oat bran
½ C wheat germ
1 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
2 C chocolate chips
1 C peanuts chopped (pistachios chopped)
¾ C raisins (cranberries chopped)

My substitutions:
Almond butter for the peanut butter
Pistachios for the peanuts
Fresh cranberries (chopped) for the raisins

My additions:
1/2-cup Flaxseed meal
1/2 cup ground Teff flour
1/2-cup nonfat yogurt
1 T rum

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Beat sugars and butter together until creamy. Add eggs and beat again. Stir in the peanut (almond) butter. Beat until fluffy. Add vanilla and rum. Add non-fat yogurt.
3. Mix all the dry ingredients together—flour, oats, oat bran, wheat germ, flaxseed meal, teff, baking powder, baking soda.
4. Add dry ingredients to butter-sugar mixture.
5. Stir in the nuts, chocolate chips and raisins (cranberries).
6. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet; flatten slightly.
7. Bake 9-10 minutes or just until cookies are set and begin to brown. Cool 1 minute before removing from cookie sheet. About 5 dozen cookies.

ohjoy

I've been doing some Internet searches for clues. I don't remember "Tigers Milk" but have read here that the original cookie was from the back of a "Tigers Milk" product. From the below listed site it seems there was a Tigers Milk protein powder that was discontinued in the 80's when the company was sold. I've posted to that blog to see if one of the posters will share the cookie recipe she claims is from the original Tigers Milk powder drinks.

http://www.inthe70s.com/food/tigersmilkpowderdrink0.shtml

If the "Guerrilla Cookie" was an alteration of an alteration perhaps if we had the original Tigers Milk recipe it would lead us closer to the "Guerrilla Cookie".

Prairiefire

Hello, Ohjoy:

Sorry I have not been checking in; my life got hectic there for a bit, and I did not have a lot of time to futz around in the kitchen. And now, the next thing I'll do is not another experimental guerrilla, but that trail mix cookie recipe you posted. That looks great.

Siann

oh my gosh! I can't believe that I've found this discussion--I grew up in Madison, my father taught at UW, and we'd get these Guerilla cookies whenever we were down on campus...I LOVED them, and have been trying to recreate them for years! I'm going to test the recipe posted above and will update w comments.

linda castillo kleinschmidt

I'm SO glad to have found your posting. I have been searching in vain for my beloved guerilla cookies. I grew up in Madison and spent alot of time on Willy street and State street and I'd love to taste those cookies again! Someone has to know what became of Ted and his recipe. I will continue my search. Keep me posted please.

linda castillo kleinschmidt

I definately remember raisins. and I bought mine in bags of 10 or 12

Donna Richards

Here is another recipe to try. Margie Falter, a friend of mine in Madison who lives way up North, had this recipe, and she may have gotten it from Madison at the time! She got it back from a sister-in-law in Ann Arbor (she thinks).

It does have the dried milk in it, as I remember it. It also has raisins in it, which, as I have said, I don't remember, as I hate raisins in cookies, and ate them every day for lunch.

But, here goes.... See what you think, and let us all know!

Guerrilla Cookies _ bake @ 350 for approx. 15 minutes

1 1/2 cups oats
some nutritional yeast
1/8 -1/4 teas. cloves & nutmeg
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 - 1 cup sugar *
1/2 teas. cinnamon
1/2 cup soybean flour
2 eggs
salt to taste
1/4 cup non fat dry milk
1/2 cup veg. oil
1/4 cup raisins

* May substitute honey, but use a lot less liquid to get a thick batter.

I have not had time to try these again, but I will. Thought I'd send it anyway. And I am sure I will add ground walnuts, sunflower seeds and maybe some coconut.

Roger Shindell

Make sure to put flower in it or it turns into a thin brownie :)
it looks more like candy and gets really hard flower makes all the difference
in the world

Iris Lindberg

I don't think the recipe above can be correct. For sure they had nuts in them; they took forever to chew, they were so dense (I used to eat them instead of a meal). And they were first made with sugar, then the bakery switched to honey which gave a much more crumbly texture.
I sure wish the original recipe would resurface. I would pay for it...I bet hundreds of ex-Madisonites would pay ten bucks each- where are you ted?!!

Guerilla Cookie Lover - 1970's

Lindy and Prariefire,

I would love to know how your Guerilla cookie search or re-production is going? You are correct about them being sold at the Market that was on state street...it had that funny entrance to the store as that is where two streets came together to form that building. The cookies were right on a metal rack as you entered the store. Let me know if you have gotten close to pulling this off...I've been back to Madison many times over the last 35 years and they diappeared. When we were so hungry late a night and you would eat 2-3 of these you were good to go. I think I remember a bag had 8-12 cookies at most. They were a meal in themselves. Look forward to your update. Guerilla Cookie Lover.

www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=520114210

First of all, we will never get a Guerilla Cookie recipe from Mr. Odell. My attempts at communicating with him have resulted in a series of bizarre letters, complete with interesting pieces of sheet music and sort of disturbing drawings.

As for the cookie, the only things he was willing to share with me was that he stopped selling the cookie because it had become a symbol of what is most wrong with our world. Interestingly, he told me that the only contribution from Mary MacDowell was that she came up with the Guerilla name. He said that he regrets naming the cookies this, because people were mostly attracted to the violent nature of the cookie, hence the beginning of the decent of the cookie to a bad thing, that should not be produced in the world. Finally, he said there are no physical copies of the Guerilla Cookie recipe, and that the recipe will die with him.

www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=520114210

Try this recipe on for size:

Combine in a large bowl and beat with a handmixer for at least 3 minutes on high speed (the raisins, nuts, seeds and oatmeal should disintegrate somewhat):
3 cups Oatmeal
1/2 cup Raisins
1/2 cup Honey
3 Tablesp Barley Malt syrup
3 Tablesp Molasses or Sorghum
1/2 cup Oil (or Butter)
1 teasp Vanilla
1 Tablesp Peanut Butter
1/4 cup Sunflower Seeds
1/4 cup Walnuts

Add 2 Eggs and beat again until the eggs are completely incorporated.

Mix in at low speed until incorporated:
1/3 cup Dry Milk Powder or Whey Powder
1/3 cup Wheat Germ
2 Tablesp Millet Seeds
1/2 teasp Cinnamon
1/2 teasp Salt
1/4 teasp Baking Soda
1 teasp Brewers Yeast

Finally stir in 1/3-1/2 cup Whole Wheat Flour to produce a wettish cookie dough.

Scoop dough a little smaller than a golf ball onto cookie sheet, press down just on the top of the ball to give it a smooth, flatish appearance on top (bald head like). Bake about 17-18 minutes at about 375 degrees.

guerillacookiehead

....hmmmm--using whey instead of dry milk, could explain some things. thanks, G, if those two previous posts were from you :)
Well, amigos, I think that about cinches it--this recipe is the closest yet. What say you, Prairiefire? If you need sorghum syrup sources, I know one in WI.

www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=901080446

tell me, does this recipe taste more authentic than the one currently at the Daily Page from Prairiefire last year? i have to say I do NOT remember a peanut butter taste or so much rolled oatmeal; and I am sure the original cookies had brown sugar which was only later replaced by honey (that completely altered the texture as I recall). Wouldn't you need a lot of cracked oats or cracked wheat to arrive at that incredible chewiness or does the millet do it?
has anyone tried this out, what do they think?

www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=520114210

The problem I have with working on the recipe is that I have never had an authentic GC. I have to sample it out, and opinion always follows a bell curve. However, the day I posted the last recipe I had a woman (visiting from Florida for the first time in 20 years) see the cookies in a milk crate and start crying before tasting them. Her opinion: "not quite right, but better than the original."

tina

Glad I found this post. What is interesting is that here is a post in the chicago tribune giving out the recipe of Glen Chism http://www.chicagotribune.com/features/food/chi-1122-lost-cookienov22,0,2652715.story?page=1
But I compared Glen's post in chicago tribune to the post/ recipe dated September 18 2009@ 7:48 pm ( by Glen Chism) they both are different so which is the correct one.

John Gestner

I have looked through all of the posts I can find on this issue. I too was there for 4 years and loved the chewy cookie known as guerilla cookies in Madison. After looking through everyone's best attempts to recreate them, I decided I should try also.
My wife and I were pretty surprised that these seemed as close as they did to the originals for a first try.

Madison Guerilla Cookies take 1
Ammount Ingredient Preparation
Dry ingredients
1 C Seeds or Nuts coarsely chopped in food processor
2 C Granola no fruit coarsely chopped in food processor
1 C Whole Grain Rolled Oats coarsely chopped in food processor
4 1/2 oz. Raisins (3 small snack boxes) coarsely chopped in food processor
1C Whole wheat flour
1 C Tubinado sugar (raw cane sugar)
1/4 C King Aurthur Special Dry Milk Powder
1/4 tsp Baking Soda
1/4 tsp Good cinnamon (Vietnamese)

Wet ingredients Blend in stand mixer all wet ingredients
1 Egg starting with Eggs
1/2 C Milk
1/4 C Molasses
2 T Honey
2 T Butter I skipped the salt used in most recipes and used salted butter
1 C Oil (Sunflower or Canola work fine)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees * may try 325 next time

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, (the granola and oats need some time to soften a bit)

place about 2 Tablespoons for each cookie on cookie sheets and flatten slightly

Bake for about 10 minutes (overdone gets too hard in a hurry after cooling)

* The old Madison guerilla cookies were almost always sold wrapped in plastic bags and this may help keep them moist.

Prairiefire

I'm missing so much not checking in here more often! Maybe I'll schedule a three-day vacation from work and do nothing but bake. I need to try those recipes above. I'm among those who do not remember a peanut taste.

Just a quick comment: I tried John's recipe and I think the food-processed raisins are a breakthrough. Donna, you've been most adamant that the originals did not contain raisins, but the chopped-up raisins in John's recipe, to me, just LOOK so right. Would you have noticed or minded chopped-up raisins?

Prairiefire

In response to GuerrillaCookieHead, above, I believe I can obtain sorghum syrup, but I'm not at all sure about the barley malt syrup that Glen's recipe calls for. I'll check at Willy Street Coop tomorrow, but if they don't have it, I don't think I'll know where to look. Suggestions?

As I said, I'll try Glen's recipe but I am pretty darn sure there was no noticeable molasses taste in the original. Peanut butter, either--I think already mentioned that I lived with someone who had a peanut allergy, and I don't remember him avoiding the cookies.

And Glen, special note: It so surprised me to read that you never tasted an original 1970's guerrilla! Of all the ink that has been spilled on this topic since the cookie disappeared, your name is mentioned probably as often as anyone's but O'Dell's and MacDowell's! It's frustrating enough trying to replicate a recipe that I actually ate--I cannot imagine that I'd go anywhere near an effort to recreate something that I never tasted. God bless you for helping out!

Prairiefire

Today I bought ingredients for the recipes above at Willy Street Coop. They had barley malt syrup right there on the shelf.

A friendly twenty-something clerk helped me find things and consider the merits of different whey powders. If anyone ever does again mass-produce a cookie like this, he came up with the motto that should be on the new label.

I told him what we were doing and passed along what Glen said about O’Dell wanting to take the recipe to the grave, so we will never know for sure whether we have recreated the original.

"Well, then," he said, "You'll just have to call your new recipe the 'Large Primate' cookie or something.”

I corrected him on the gorilla/guerrilla misunderstanding and said that I had always figured the name had something to do with tightly packed nutrition that could be carried in a khaki knapsack.

"Ah, like Che Guevara." he said. "Because you never know when you're going to have to take your cookies and run into the jungle."

Prairiefire

I tried the recipe that was posted on Sept. 18, above, and although I believe that I followed the recipe exactly, my dough and the finished cookies were very dry--even before I added the first tablespoon of flour. Could it be because I let the dough rest for about a half hour? With each batch I baked, I would add more oil or milk, and I never did get close to the moistness or the pancake-ish shape I'm looking for. Another oddity was that I accidentally heated my oven to 350 degrees (not 375, as the recipe called for) and still the cookies were already overdone at 14 minutes. If I'd left them in my oven for 17 minutes, they'd have been toast. It made me wonder if there wasn't something drastically different about the moisture content in the oatmeal or something.

I like the flavor; I've changed my mind from my earlier decision against brewer's yeast. The small amount in this recipe was fine. I'm sticking with my conclusion that there is no peanut butter in the guerrilla we're trying to recreate.

But, oh, the revelation for me with this recipe is the barley malt syrup. That stuff is delicious! Just as much personality as molasses but with less attitude.

Prairiefire

I believe that John's recipe (Dec. 28, above) is the closest yet, but just for fun, I tried Donna's friend Margie's recipe (May 31, above).

Margie did not specify how much brewer's yeast, so I added one tablespoon, which was 'way too much. But even without that overdose, I could tell that the nutmeg and soy flour were also tastes that didn't recall the original guerrilla.

The recipe also produces a taller, rounder cookie than the pancake shape the guerrilla needs. Usually, I add more oil or milk to flatten the cookie if the dough is too stiff. Tonight, though, I added a tablespoon honey and an extra egg. That got more of the sheen, chewiness, and slight stickiness I'm looking for. I'm going to try that in future recipes.

I've started a new blog devoted to guerrilla cookies so that I can post photos of my attempts, and so that I will feel a little freer to ramble about my thoughts and experiments: http://guerrillacooking.blogspot.com/

Prairiefire

IT'S THE EGGS! Go heavy on the egg!!

I made John's recipe last night, and poured in a little more eggbeater with every sheetful I baked. Wow. The chewiness and sheen of the resulting product DEFINITELY recalls the original guerrilla. (Photos over at http://guerrillacooking.blogspot.com/)

And today, when the cookies were not fresh from the oven, it was even more remarkable. I'm willing to bet money that one of the things that set the original guerrilla apart was an unusually large amount of egg.

With John's recipe (Dec 28, above) as the base and extra eggs, I think the quest from here on out is just a matter of finding the best proportion and amount of the add-ins (seeds, nuts, cracked wheat, whatever) and some tweaking with the amount and source of the sweetness (honey, molassess, sugar, whatever.)

Donna Horowitz Richards- UW '69-'75

Thanks for the blogspot! The pictures were really fun to see. As i remember them, they were shiny, were a little crunchy and thin around the edges (but the edges didn't last long), and were quite thick and fiberous all the way through. I always attributed that to ground nuts and sunflower seeds. I know there were bits of sunflower seeds... remember them on the label. But, sorry, guys. i still don't remember raisins, even chopped up ones... never liked them, still don't, in cookies. I would have picked them up, and i didn't.
Thanks, you all, for continuing the guerilla struggle. Donna Horowitz Richards. (I haven't baked in awhile or tried Margie's yet... Love the egg idea... that is likely where the sheen came from, but maybe it was honey, too. ) We should have a bake-off for charity in Madison, make it a reunion! And the winning cookie gets baked by Williamson Street Co-op. They told me they would do it if we could get the recipe. Then, we could get them to alumni groups as a fundraiser for let's say Madison Community Fund...or each local Habitat for Humanity, or something.. So cool...

www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=901080446

Well no one has posted on this topic for a long time. You should know though, Donna and Prairiefire, that we are all still out there trying out these recipes. In the past month I have tried to combine the Chism recipe with yours as follows:
(version 2)
1/4 cup butter (softened) mixed wth
1/4 cup oil (more oil is probably better)
2 tbsp molasses
3 tbsp barley malt syrup (this is right!)
1/2 cup turbinado sugar
1/3 cup wheat germ
1/3 cup dry milk
2 tbsp sesame seeds
2 tbsp millet seeds
1/4 cup cracked wheat (this and the millet seeds add the requisite crunchiness)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup lightly food-processed raisins
3 cups of rolled oats (too many?)
AND
for the flour portion, I used 1/4 cup ground walnuts (because I remember them tasting a lot like walnuts), 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour, and 1/2 tsp baking soda.

I pressed the dough into cookies on an oiled baking sheet and baked them at 350 for about 12 minutes. Then I let them cook on the sheet for a few more minutes.

The result was a chewy cookie that tastes similar to the guerrilla I remember but does not have that nice glossy surface sheen or quite enough chewiness; also, it did not spread out at the edges enough (should I cook at 375?). I do remember a browned edge. I do not think I should have to use granola (because I can't believe the original baker did). Next time, I will try more eggs -as you suggest- and 1 cup less rolled oats. (I am really not sure about the rice flour...was that really around in 1976?).
best, Iris


Bcrawf2000

Just wanted to encourage your recreation attempts. What is odells problem? I think about these cookies fairly often and hope you are more successful than my sorry attempts.

www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=901080446

I forgot the eggs in the above recipe! I used two. Changes for version three- cut oats to 2 cups, added more flour and cracked wheat and millet to add crunchiness, also used flax seeds.
ATTEMPT 3
1/4 cup butter (softened) mixed wth
1/3 cup oil
2 tbsp molasses
3 tbsp barley malt syrup (this is right!)
1/2 cup turbinado or brown sugar
Mix all this and add 2 eggs and beat well; add
1/3 cup wheat germ
1/3 cup dry milk
2 tbsp sesame seeds
3 tbsp millet seeds
2 tbsp golden flax seeds
1/3 cup cracked wheat (this and the millet seeds add the requisite crunchiness)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup lightly food-processed raisins (these are not recognizable as raisins but add moisture to the cookie)
2 cups of rolled oats
AND
for the flour portion, I used 1/4 cup ground walnuts (because I remember them tasting a lot like walnuts), 1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour, and 1/2 tsp baking soda.

I pressed the dough into cookies on an oiled baking sheet and baked them at 350 for 12 minutes. After I took them out I let them cook on the sheet for a few more minutes.

Results: these make fewer cookies (2 1/2 dozen not three) and are more crunchy and also taste fine (all versions are eagerly eaten by my work group) but they are still not shiny enough nor sticky enough- I remember they used to stick together in the bag, they were that sticky. However I never have them long enough to "age" and as others have commented, perhaps this adds stickiness. I think though that there is something missing. I didn't like the extra millet- it is actually too crunchy. For the second batch I added half an egg to make the batter spread out more. This gave me the brown edge but didn't contribute to the shininess. It changed the texture of the finished cookie to more spongy -which I didn't like. Maybe I should use milk to spread them out more instead of egg. There are still some pinpoint holes despite pressing the batter onto the cookie sheet. But the cookie holds together well, probably because of the decreased loose oat content.

Prairiefire

Regarding the barley malt syrup, check out Claire's recollection, above, from Nov. 8, 2008. Her memory seems pretty specific that barley malt syrup was definitely an ingredient later on.

I'm about ready to get back into this.

Prairiefire

Iris, I tried the Attempt 3 recipe above, with more egg as you suggested. I suspect leavening caused both the ‘spongy’ texture and those little pinpoint holes that you did not like, so I also left out the baking soda. The holes were probably caused by carbon dioxide escaping as the baking soda does its chemical thing during baking, and we don’t want much rising anyway.

You suggested reducing the millet, but I left it out entirely. I think the finely chopped walnuts and the sesame seeds provide the white flecks we remember, and I agree that millet adds more crunch than we need.

I used bulghur instead of cracked wheat, because I have a lot in my pantry just now. The crunchy wheat idea is a keeper. (The difference between cracked wheat and bulghur.)

The first six cookies I baked did not flatten out at all; I missed your instruction to flatten them manually. Instead, I added ¼ cup milk to get them flatter and moister. That got them to flatten out a bit, but I think it has a lot more oats than the guerrilla in my memory. I’ve posted photos over on the guerrilla cookie blog.

Finally, the barley malt syrup: yes, it did make a difference in the taste, but for me was not right. I left Madison for a while in the late 1970s, and when I came back, wasn’t on campus anymore and did not buy many guerrilla cookies. So, my entire recollection is from before Odell changed the recipe. We might actually need two versions!

Prairiefire

Shoot. Neither of those links worked. Let's see if these do:

The difference between bulghur and cracked wheat: Bulghur is already a little cooked; cracked wheat is not.

Photos of my try at Iris's 'Attempt 3' recipe

Steve Meyerson

Just found this page. I am reminded of their pleasure each time I eat an inferior oatmeal raisin or other Guerilla want-to-be. Every time I'm in Madison, I walk into the Stop & Shop on State Street hoping my beloved Guerilla Cookies were back on the shelves. I bought a bag (10-12) almost every day in the early '70's and they kept me going all day long. I will have to try some of these recipes. Thanks to all.

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