My father’s ancestors came from the Departments of Nord and Pas-de-Calais in France, and from Hainaut Province, Belgium. His grandparents had already emigrated by the time the Great War started, but the extended families they left behind were large, so I’m sure there were both soldiers and civilians of my blood who suffered through the hostilities.
Families on both sides of the war were keen to support their loved ones who had gone to fight, and as a veteran myself, I can testify to the importance of letters and packages from the folks back home. I can imagine that there may have been quite a few boxes of these delicious treats that made their way to lonely – and hungry – French and Belgian soldiers at the front.
Gauffrettes (also called “galettes”) are butter cookies that are made in Belgium and northeastern France. They travel well, and would keep a long time – if they had a chance!
This is my father’s mother’s recipe, but her mother-in-law also made them, when we came to visit. The original recipe makes enough for a whole company of soldiers, so I divided it by 3. They can be made with gluten-free* flour, too.
1/2 lb butter
1 1/3 c sugar
2 1/3 c flour
1 tsp vanilla (optional, but you will definitely want it if you use soy or other bean-based gluten-free flour)
Melt butter, stir in sugar, beat until smooth. Beat eggs until light and fluffy. Add sugar-butter mixture, beat until batter forms ribbons. Gently stir in flour by hand. Drop a tablespoon of batter on heated gauffrette iron, bake over medium heat, turning as necessary, until golden brown. Yields about 3 dozen.
* If made with a rice-based GF flour, you may need to add a small amount of xanthan gum, if cookies are too delicate.
An army moves on its stomach. – Napoleon
Fed up with leftovers? Would you like to test ethnic recipes? Reply below.
All recipes will be gluten-free adaptations.