Thursday, January 1, 2015

HFF #16: Celebratory Foods

Happy New Year!

Historical Food Fortnightly emblem.

The Challenge: Celebrate! With food!

The Receipt: New Year's Cookies, from Miss Beecher's Domestic Receipt Book by Catharine Beecher

Year/Region: 1846 (50), American

How Did You Make It: Creamed 2 cups butter with 3.5 cups sugar; dissolved 2.5 tsp baking soda (substitute for saleratus) in 16 oz skim milk.   Incorporate milk and 3 eggs; add 1 grated nutmeg and a generous tablespoon of caraway seed.  Added 8 cups flour to form dough (at which point my mixer bowl reached capacity; additional flour added by hand; probably needs 10-12 cups for a full batch).  Roll and cut out.  Bake at 350F for approximately 10 minutes.

Time to Complete: About 15 minutes to mix, plus rolling and 10 minutes baking per pan.

How Successful Was It: Tasty--primarily like nutmeg, with a hint of caraway (not too strong on either).  Took it to a New Year's Eve party, but there were few takers.  Will probably make this one as half-batches in the future.

How Accurate Was It:  I interpreted "roll" as "roll and cut out", and I doubt Miss Beecher ever imagined Ninja-shaped cookie cutters (we're also about 12 years too early for Minnesota to be a state). Aside from that, converting weight into volume measurements, and the baking soda (substituted for saleratus), it's all p.c.

Rolling out dough for Miss Beecher's New Years cookies.
Cutting the Cookies

New Year's cakes from Victorian (1846/1850) recipe.

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