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Help to recreate the original 1970's guerilla cookie

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Help to recreate the original 1970's guerilla cookie

Postby Prairiefire » Sat Aug 23, 2008 9:19 am

Hello:

A few months ago, I created a discussion in 'Food and Eats,' which seems to have been the wrong forum. I should have come to this forum, where the cooks are. You can see how far that discussion got: http://www.thedailypage.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=42289

In summary, the guy who originated the guerilla will not, it is reported, share his recipe. But in the spirit of the original, it seems to me that the people who ate it and remember it could just go ahead and recreate the recipe. So check it out if you'd like to see a few test recipes or share your memories of ingredients.
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Postby Bwis53 » Sat Aug 23, 2008 8:23 pm

Have you considered trying to contact Ted O'Dell or have a face to face meeting with him? At his advanced age, perhaps he may feel a little more like sharing his recipe.
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Postby Prairiefire » Mon Aug 25, 2008 10:33 am

I gave a moment's thought to contacting Odell, but I wouldn't know how to go about finding him. I guess I can try.

Do you know him? I was assuming that he was around my age, and I, uh, don't consider us boomers to be of 'advanced age' yet.

But I guess I could go along with the idea that he might have mellowed in middle age.

Thanks in advance for any more information you might be able to provide. Prairiefire52@gmail.com
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Postby Prairiefire » Mon Sep 01, 2008 12:14 am

I've thought some more about the idea of me searching out Mr. Odell to ask for the recipe. I'm thinking that I won't. For one thing, I'm sure he's been pressured far too much over the years and doesn't need one more stranger banging on his door.

Second, if he did give me the recipe in secrecy, I'd face an ethical dilemma.

Elsewhere on this blog, in 2006, Mountain Goat posted a letter that Odell wrote to On Wisconsin. In that letter, he explained “to release (the recipe for guerrilla-cookies) into the public domain advantages those who exploit them contrary to principles. Consumerism is an example of what these principles are not.â€Â
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Postby Bwis53 » Mon Sep 01, 2008 7:19 am

I understand. I still have the original, to a device, another company must have made millions off of. The world would be a better place if I'd have gotten those millions...

As I said, in my email, when I meet my friends this week, I'll find out about that recipe.
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Postby Prairiefire » Mon Sep 01, 2008 8:41 am

In an earlier post, I mentioned that I think I'm getting pretty close in my attempt, with the help of others, to recreate the original guerrilla.

Here is as far as I've gotten:

The Prairiefire Guerrilla Cookie, version 1.1

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
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, 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.

If anyone wants to make that recipe and let me know how you think it can be improved--either as a copy of the original or simply as a good cookie, please post your suggestions here!

Thanks!
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An interim triumph of a cookie

Postby Prairiefire » Wed Sep 10, 2008 9:29 pm

Donna, a cook sharing on the other guerrilla-cookie-seeking blog came up with the following recipe in her efforts to recreate the original guerrilla. This is not the original, but it is REALLY GOOD. I'll call it
Donna's Honey-graham Guerrilla

    1/2 cup butter
    2 cups dark brown sugar
    2 eggs
    2 teaspoons vanilla
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 cup honey
    1 3/4 cups whole wheat graham flour
    1/2 cup vegetable oil
    1/2 cup ground walnuts
    1/4 cup sunflower seeds
    1 cup rolled oats
    1 cup steel cut (Red Mill) oats
    1 cup shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the eggs, vanilla, salt, honey, and oil. Stir in the flour until mixed, and then stir in the walnuts, sunflower seeds, rolled oats, steel-cut oats, and coconut.

Drop in heaping tablespoonsful onto prepared cookie sheet and bake for about 10 minutes, until golden brown. Cool on racks.
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Re: Help to recreate the original 1970's guerilla cookie

Postby jgest » Mon Dec 28, 2009 2:28 pm

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 starting with Eggs
1 Egg
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

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.

Please try this recipe and tell me how it works for you. Also pics and recipe at http://www.gestner.net/cookies1.htm

John
Last edited by jgest on Mon Jan 25, 2010 11:25 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Help to recreate the original 1970's guerilla cookie

Postby Henry Vilas » Mon Dec 28, 2009 5:30 pm

jgest wrote: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.

Trouble is, I think they were often overbaked and not that moist. Very chewy, if memory serves. I prefered the Chani cup.

But thanks for posting the recipe. Yours might turn out better than the original guerilla cookie.
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Re: Help to recreate the original 1970's guerilla cookie

Postby Prairiefire » Sun Jan 03, 2010 9:28 pm

Oh my word, John, those look just like the real thing in the photos you posted! I will try this recipe just as soon as I can. Until then, how strongly do you feel about the raisins? In the discussion on the other message board, there was some strong opinion that the original did NOT include raisins, but your idea of chopping them might be one of the secrets to the moistness of the original.

I like the idea of milk powder. As a lactose-intolerant person who ate guerilla cookies anyway, I am absolutely certain that they contained quite a bit of the dairy product.

In my experiments, I'd stayed away from using pre-made granola as an ingredient, thinking that relying on someone else's granola would have have been a difficult business model for O'Dell to sustain in his little bakery. Besides, every granola is made of ingredients that could be added to the dough directly (without first mixing them into granola.) But I'll try your recipe as you wrote it; I don't see why it could not end up in the same place.

Again, thanks for posting this recipe! I am very eager to try it.
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Re: Help to recreate the original 1970's guerilla cookie

Postby jgest » Mon Jan 04, 2010 3:17 pm

I am almost positive the originals contained raisins, and not figs or dates. By chopping the raisins up a bit into somewhat smaller pieces, they are not totally recognizable as raisins, but impart a slight fruitiness and texture that sure seems like what I remember in the originals. I think I would have noticed a richer taste if it were figs or dates in them, a taste that I don't think I would like.

I'm not sure that the milk powder is necessary, but I had some from my pizza crust making experiments and decided to throw it in.

I made a second batch a week later and added 1/2 tsp vanilla, 1/2 C wheat germ, and an extra 1/4 cup of oil. They tasted great also and were moister, either from consciously trying to cook for less time or the extra oil.

I also used Rice Bran Oil in that 2nd batch, a naturally nutty tasting oil that is sometimes sold in pill form as an anti cholesterol supplement, (my oil of choice now for salads,stirfrys,and baking. Do a search on it and then get the best price for it at http://www.riceland.com/consumers/gifts/). This batch was a bit softer and flatter but tasted almost exactly the same.

I think this recipe can be played with in many different ways and will still produce a nice hearty cookie. I also think that everyone will find a slightly different brand of each ingredient, and measure a bit differently, and bake in a different brand or type of oven and reach slightly different results.
I think my first try was a little truer to the "Original" than my 2nd batch.

I was intentionally vague on the kind of nuts or seeds to use. I really think you can be a bit flexible here. I used a combination of walnuts, almonds, and peanuts. I don't think all peanuts would be good and I don't think that using any peanut butter would help these cookies.

As far as using prepared granola or just rolled oats, it's hard to say without more experimentation what would be better, but my first guess is that the prepared plain granola I am using makes the cookie more crunchy and chewy.

I did however run my whole rolled oats and plain prepared granola through my food processor with the metal cutting blade, just like the nuts and raisins. I suppose using the irish oatmeal cut rolled oats would make that unnecessary.

This was my first use of Raw cane sugar or Turbinado. I really think it is nicer than the usual pairing of half white and half brown sugar. It seems to give the cookies some of the vanilla like flavor even without adding vanilla.
Last edited by jgest on Mon Jan 04, 2010 8:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Help to recreate the original 1970's guerilla cookie

Postby Prairiefire » Sun Jan 17, 2010 12:47 pm

This weekend I baked John's recipe from a few posts ago, and it is the closest-yet copy of the original guerrilla.

Chopping the seeds and nuts got much closer to the target texture and shape—and absolutely solved the puffy, burnt whole-raisin problem. John's recipe also seems to have the dry/wet proportion of the ingredients very close to the original—this recipe gets that stackable pancake shape that the guerrilla cookie needs.
Photos of my results are here: http://guerrillacooking.blogspot.com/. (I don't know how to post just one picture, so I started a whole new blog.)

The only deliberate departure I made from John's recipe was adding one-third cup of millet (I meant to add one-quarter cup, but grabbed the wrong scoop), because I am sure that the guerrilla needs little white round seed-ish things. Despite adding one more dry ingredient, my recipe came out a little flatter than John's; I don’t know why.

As far as taste, that is a keeper recipe. My husband (who has gone back to believing that he does not remember the original) also likes them. To get the taste closer to the original guerrilla in my next attempt, I think I’m going to try to tone down the molasses, both to get rid of the molasses taste itself (which I do not recall was obvious in the original) and to reduce the sweetness a little. I’m going to go back to toasting as many of the dry ingredients as can be toasted—maybe even the oats. I’m going to avoid using granola that has coconut in it—which was all I had on hand yesterday.

The texture was better in the batches that I baked after refrigerating the dough overnight (I’m trying to do that for all my cookies these days—read this: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/09/dinin ... ref=dining) The colder, stiffer dough also made it easier to get consistently round cookies.

Now I have to figure out how to get rid of all the cookies. I used to take them to the office, but on Tuesday our office is starting one of those health-promotion weight-loss challenges and—here’s the kicker—I’m the team captain. Maybe I could say the plate of cookies is for team practice in resisting temptation?
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Re: Help to recreate the original 1970's guerilla cookie

Postby jgest » Thu Jan 21, 2010 9:35 am

Hi Karen
I am glad you found my experimental recipe to be the closest yet to original. The cookies you made from it looked GREAT! ( http://guerrillacooking.blogspot.com/ ) Yes the first group looked a little too thin, but the other 2 batches looked super and much more consistently round than what I had made, ( http://gestner.net/cookies1.htm ).
I am still not sold on the Millet , but bought some and will be trying a batch with it today. I have some Quinoa from a different experiment and will be adding a couple tablespoons of each this try. I was thinking that I had enough little white specks with the steelcut oats that were in the plain honey oat granola that I used.
I really liked the possibilities of resting the dough for 24 hours or more as in your quoted New York Times article for Chocolate Chip Cookies, ( http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/09/dinin ... ref=dining ). I will be testing that with this batch also.

As far as having trouble getting rid of your plate of cookies in an office environment trying to lose weight, I would think the hearty and healthy ingredients in these cookies would curb a lot of other mid morning/afternoon snack desires and make everyone healthier at the same time! I have been finding one or 2 of these cookies to be a total replacement for a breakfast meal. They are quite a buffet of great flavors and textures too.
It's been fun getting even a little close to that memorable original Madison Guerilla Cookie.

Happy Experimenting folks
John Gestner

PS New Batch update: This batch was a little thicker but still tasted pretty authentic. I really don't think that normal millet seeds or quinoa are needed. The millet in particular is too hard, kind of like mustard seeds but smaller, even after soaking in the dough for 24 hours. These seeds kept finding their way into the corners of my mouth, kind of like the heavy cornmeal used on the bottom of a Stone baked pizza crust. Too hard and not consistent with my memories of Guerilla cookies. I know Karen is remembering some little light seedy type things in the originals, but I think that may have been bits of sunflower seeds or the little pieces of steelcut oats from either granola or just steel cut or processed oats.
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Re: Help to recreate the original 1970's guerilla cookie

Postby Prairiefire » Sun Jan 24, 2010 10:35 am

About the little round white things: I'm not married to millet; I was planning my next attempt without millet, but with figs. In an earlier attempt, fig seeds perfectly well provided the same little white dots I remember. But still, I'm wondering if we're using different types of millet--the ones I am using are not as hard or unchewable as those you are describing, and are larger than mustard seeds. I'm sure I'm not remembering bits of sunflower seeds or steelcut oats. I have three candidates for that ingredient: millet, fig seeds, or sesame seeds.

I'm hoping to find time for an experimental batch this weekend, but that overnight refrigeration step takes some planning. Yesterday, Saturday, we drove my son back to UW-Eau Claire, so I've got just today for baking before the workweek drudgery sets in.

And besides, the Norske Nook in Osseo had my favorite Pecan cream cheese pie on hand, so I've got my budget for baked-goods calories this weekend more than taken care of.
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Re: Help to recreate the original 1970's guerilla cookie

Postby Peanutbutter » Sun Jan 24, 2010 12:16 pm

Personally, I'm a little surprised at how little President Obama has actually accomplished in his first term. He came out strong and fast by lifting the ban on stem cell research, but has he really done anything considered "change" since? Other than that one policy reversal it seems that he is carrying on with the previous administration's stances & viewpoints.

He keeps saying he is making changes, but where are the actual results?
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