by Kristin Holt,
USA Today Bestselling Author of Sweet Romance set in the Victorian-American West
When I stumbled across a beautiful vintage cookie recipe in an 1895 edition of The Boston Globe, I knew I'd found a treasure. I'd already researched numerous cookie recipes published in the Victorian-era United States. Added to that basic knowledge, I'd delved into Victorian Sugar Cookies (that's where cookies began, after all). That background showed me how Victorian-Americans put together a cookie recipe that provides ingredients and quantities--but no instructions.
|Vintage Lemon Cookies Recipe from The Boston Globe, December 15, 1895.|
What fun to bake cookies in the manner my great-great grandmother did! I made them by hand, the way everyone did prior to the amazing invention of KitchenAid stand mixers.
|1) Gather ingredients. Allow butter to come to room temperature. This is important!|
|2) Allow eggs (and lemon) to come to room temperature, too.|
|3) Whip eggs in a separate bowl (with a fork) until frothy.|
|4) Cream butter (alone) in mixing bowl, using wooden spoon.|
|5) Cream (already creamed) butter together with sugar.|
|6) Butter and sugar creamed together by hand.|
|7) Add whipped eggs into creamed butter and sugar. See the progression in three photos. Be patient!|
|8) Wash, dry, then zest the yellow from the lemon peel (before juicing!) Victorians used a grater.|
|9) photographs illustrate why it's easier to zest the lemon prior to juicing it. Can you imagine trying to remove the zest from the empty lemon half?|
|10) Add zest to batter, and begin stirring in measured flour. Play along here with Victorian baking methods, even if your flour sack says it's sifted. Yes, Victorians had sifters!|
|11) Add baking soda into one of the batches of measured flour, through the sifter. Sift the flour into the mixing bowl. (I did three batches of flour, 2 cups in each batch). (Don't get ahead of yourself--see pic 12 before you're done with the flour.)|
|12) Add all strained juice from the lemon, alternately with flour.|
|13) Continue stirring by hand...|
|14) ... until all (measured and sifted) flour is incorporated. You may need to use your hands at the very end.|
Dough will be very much like homemade sugar cookie dough. Notice the dough picks up all the loose flour. It's not too sticky. It's also not too dry. One way to avoid an overly dry cookie dough is to add the flour slowly, perhaps half a cup (last cup or two) at a time, allowing you to decrease the total flour used, as necessary, to create a workable dough.
|15) Roll out dough on a clean and floured "board", about 1/4-inch thick. Cut out. (I sprayed my pans; recipe doesn't say. Grandma probably would've buttered her tins.) Cookies don't spread hardly at all, so tuck them in close as needed.|
|16) Bake in a preheated (375-degree) oven for 8 minutes. I didn't allow the cookies to brown. They set up (when cooled) as a softer sugar-cookie with beautiful form, delicate flavor, and the not-too-sweet result Victorian bakers expected.|
NOTE: After I baked these tasty, "wholesome" (yes, indeed, Victorian bakers would say so) cookies, I looked up how to ensure homemade baked goodies with natural lemon flavor have the most lemon numminess possible. How? With salt. Apparently, salt works wonders with the lemon acidity, making the flavor pop. If I could change ONE thing about this 124-year-old recipe, it would be the addition of 1/2 tsp. of table salt.
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I have so many more Victorian baking articles to share with you. Please pay me a visit at any of these Vintage baking posts:
|with peanut butter cookies!|
Within each of these Victorian-era United States baking blog posts you'll find links to many similar articles. I hope you'll enjoy browsing, and baking!
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