Sunday, February 6, 2011

A little Sweet Schrafft History....with Schrafft Butterscotch Cookies

Schrafft's was a candy and chocolate company based in Sullivan Square, Charlestown, Massachusetts. The famous Schrafft's neon sign is a significant landmark in Boston, although the former factory it sits above, constructed in 1928, is now redeveloped for business accommodation, they still have the sign up and going.

One of my current patients, who is 100 years old actually worked at Schrafft for 23 years before getting married. She said she was almost 14 the summer she went to work there, and they offered her a job in the chocolate room if she wouls stay on full time. She said the money was so good she could not tuen it down, and quit school right then. She loved working there. They would sell the secounds to the employees for 5 pounds for 50 cents....BARGAIN! I love hearing tales from her about the things that would go on in the factory.

Although they were famous for their chocolate, Schrafft's expanded to form a restaurant chain, not around Boston, but in the NYC area. These eateries became very popular with the New York elite.

In an interview in The Times in 2004, Mr. Shattuck’s great-grandson Frank M. Shattuck said of the chain’s clientele: “Everyone wore hats and handmade suits. And if you were a lady, it was safe to sit at the soda fountain and drink gin from a teacup.”

Schrafft's was founded by candy maker, William F. Schrafft in 1861, he actually lived in my town. Then it was developed more by Frank Shattuck in Boston in 1898. By 1915, they had nine stores in Manhattan, one in Brooklyn, and one in Syracuse, NY as well as the facility in Boston. They had grown to 22 stores in 1923, 42 stores in 1934, and 55 stores in 1968.

Ownership of the company changed hands several times thereafter until 1984, when all company operations were closed. Now this older building is used as offices for various healthcare companies, including the company I volunteer with, Beacon Hospice. Funny how Beacon is located where my patient worked for so long.

So, now for those cookies pictured above....It is said that Schraffts was famous for a butterscotch-pecan cookie, that they would serve right along with their ice cream. Marion Cunningham, renowned as the woman who wrote the contemporary revision of “The Fanny Farmer Baking book,”(My first Baking Book), revealed this recipe in her column in the San Francisco Chronicle.
She noted that “many New Yorkers have such fond memories of Schrafft’s large, crisp cookies … particularly the butterscotch cookies with ground pecans, which seem to have been an all-time favorite." So here it is, done just as is, but I prefered to sandwich them with cream cheese frosting. Alone, they are great with tea....


7 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
7 tablespoons of shortening
1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons nonfat dry milk
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup finely chopped pecans
**Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease baking sheets.
**Combine the butter and shortening in a bowl and beat for a few seconds.
**Add the sugar and beat until creamy.
**Add the egg, dry milk, and vanilla, and beat until light.
**Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Stir with a fork to mix and lighten.
**Add the flour mixture to the shortening mixture and blend well.
**Stir in the pecans and mix well.
**Roll into a ball and place 2 inches apart onto the baking sheet, flatten with the bottom of a glass.
**Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove and let cool.

2 Others Say::

lindalou said...

Love the old photos and the stories of this place. I love butterscotch and these sound yummy.

Stevie Z said...

If anyone knows more about the history of the place and of the people who worked there, I am seeking information on 2 former employees from around 1930- Bill Russell, who was black and I believe a foreman in the factory, and Katherine/Catherine Murano (later Russell). She was white, making them an unusual couple to say the least. Any information would be appreciated.