Treats in the Trenches?

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.

You will need a gauffrette iron (mine looks like this: gauff iron) or a pizzelle baker (manual or electric). A regular waffle iron won’t work.

1/2 lb butter
4 eggs
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.




Filed under First World War, Great War, recipes, Uncategorized, World War I

3 responses to “Treats in the Trenches?

  1. Reblogged this on Irish Firebrands: Christine Plouvier, Novelist and commented:

    Read on, to get an old family recipe for the best butter cookies you ever made a hearty meal from: gauffrettes!


Letters to the Editor

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.