WANT TO MAKE A BATCH OF OLD-FASHIONED COOKIES?

WANT TO MAKE A BATCH OF OLD-FASHIONED COOKIES?

By Lesley Younes

When masses of immigrants starting coming to the US in the 19th century, whether they were seeking sheer survival or escaping religious  or political persecution, all the possessions they had were memories and perhaps a few artifacts from their homeland.  Food was a comfort to them and a simple sweet delight was relatively easy to achieve in harsh conditions of their new country. And they also brought with them recipes that had been handed down from generation to generation. Around the holiday season, that meant that there were cookies coming out of the oven.

There were many Norwegians who settled in Minnesota, with the French arriving in Newfoundland via the St. Lawrence River and also settling in Quebec and Montreal. Some  of them even found their way to Louisiana.  The Brits stayed in the eastern part, hence New England, and they spread up through the northern states as far as Maine.  The Dutch, however, built a settlement called New Amsterdam, but the Brits came in and renamed it New York – as York was, and still is, the grand capital of Yorkshire in northern England.

Contrary to popular belief, it was the Germans who settled in Pennsylvania, not the Dutch as in Pennsylvania Dutch.  German immigrants sailed to the US from Dutch ports, which caused some of this confusion. They also made their way to Milwaukee and due to the large number of intellectuals that decided to settle there, it became known as The German Athens of the West.  There is also a large population of German descendants in the Texas Hill Country where they have a flourishing wine growing region.

The Spanish were smart: they decided Florida would be a good place to settle — sun, beach, ocean, what’s not to like!   Wouldn’t you have thought the Italians would have settled in a similar place?  They seemed to have dotted themselves across the country as every large city seems to have a Little Italy.  These communities got that tag because the Italians would usually settle next to the Irish and terrible problems would arise, especially on the subject of religion, so there were wild clashes between the two ethnic groups and because the Italians stuck together like sticky rice, the name Little Italy stuck with them.

In any case at this time of year, you will find the descendants of these ethnic enclaves celebrating Christmas with batches of cookies from their ancestral past.  Here are a few simple but delicious recipes to try.  Most of the dough can be rolled and frozen as in ice box cookies.

Pebber Nodder from Denmark

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. ground cardamom
1 tsp. ground cinnamon, or to taste
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350.
In a large bowl, mix together butter and sugar until very smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, stirring until fluffy. Combine the flour and spices with the salt, stir into the sugar mixture, just until blended. This can be frozen at this stage.
Separate into six balls and roll each ball into a rope as big around as your finger.
On a lightly floured board, cut them into 1/2” pieces and place them on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Don’t overbake. Cool and enjoy fresh with coffee.

Pepparkakor from Sweden

2 sticks butter
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 Tbs. light corn syrup or light treacle (molasses)
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 tsp. orange zest
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. ground ginger
2 tsp. ground cloves
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 400.  Cream butter and sugar, stir in egg, add corn syrup or treacle, orange juice and zest.  In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, soda, cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Then stir into the creamed butter mixture until combined. Dough can be frozen at this stage. Roll dough out to 1/8″ and cut into shapes with cookie cutters. Bake for 8-to-10 minutes and cool on a wire rack until crisp.

Pfeffernusse from Germany

Preheat oven to 300.

2 sticks butter
1 cup sugar
2 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup walnuts ground in a nut grinder or food processor (be careful not to make a paste)
1/2 cup candied orange peel
grated rind of one lemon, plus the juice
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 tsp. cardamom

Mix all ingredients together. Roll into 3/4″ balls or drop by teaspoons onto a silpat sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes, then roll in powdered sugar while still warm. Store at room temperature in cookie tins.  Better not to freeze this dough. They keep well and gather flavor as they age after about one week).

Parkin from Northern England
(The British don’t really eat cookies (biscuits) at this time of year. They bake special cakes or slices.
Here are two favorites.

Parkin
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbs. mixed spice
1 Tbs. ground ginger
1 tsp. baking soda
2 1/2 cup oatmeal (not instant)
8 Tbs. black treacle
1 cup unsalted butter
6 Tbs. brown sugar
1 cup milk
2 eggs

Mix together the flour, spices and baking soda. Add the oatmeal. Put the treacle, butter, sugar and milk into a small pan and heat gently until all have melted and mix together. Allow this to cool then stir in the flour mixture. Add eggs, beating until smooth. Turn out into a well greased baking tin, about 11 X 9 X 2 and bake at 325 for about 50 minutes.  The cake should be firm to the touch. Remove and cool, before cutting into small squares.
Keep in a tin in a cool dark place and this will seem to stay fresh for a very long time.
In the north of England there is a saying for someone who never seems to age: ”He’s just like parkin!”

Grandmum’s Christmas Cake
Traditionally served for Christmas Tea

1/2 cup currants
2 cups raisins
1 1/2 cup sultanas (white raisins)
1/2 cup almonds
3/4 cup mixed peel
1/2 cup glazed cherries
grated rind of half  a lemon and the juice of a whole lemon
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups moist brown sugar
6 eggs
3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. mixed spice
1 Tbs. black treacle
2 Tbs. brandy or rum and more to ‘feed’ the cake when baked

Pre-heat the oven to 325.

Grease a 9” by 10″ cake tin with a removable base, lined with grease proof paper three inches above the rim to allow the cake to rise above the tin’s rim.  This is important as it allows the cake to crack in the centre.
Cream the butter, sugar and lemon rind until light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs, one at a time, and then add the dry ingredients. Add treacle, combine thoroughly. Mix in your choice of alcohol and lemon juice and add a little extra alcohol if the mixture seems too stiff. Form a dropping consistency. Turn out into the lined cake tin and to make sure there are no pockets of air, so bang it on the counter top a couple of times, and rotate it once.  Make sure the surface is smooth.  Bake for two hours in the pre-heated oven and then reduce it to 300 for a further 90 minutes to two hours or until a cake tester comes out clean.  Once removed from the oven, the cake should be allowed to cool completely in the tin. When completely cold, remove the paper and turn the cake upside down.  Make holes in it with a steel knitting needle or similar object. Pour extra alcohol of your choice, brandy or dark rum, into the holes and leave the cake upside down until the spirit has been absorbed.  Wrap the cake in fresh grease-proof paper and leave for 48 hours before icing it.  This cake can be stored for at least two months in an airtight container.  You can ‘feed’ the cake with more alcohol if you wish, until you are ready to put on almond paste and royal icing.

This type of cake is usually prepared in October and is eaten in December.

Here are a few translations for cookie from various countries.
biscoito (Portugal), cookie (US), biscuit (UK), keks (Germany),kex (Sweden), biscotto (Italy), galleta (Spain), kaakje (Holland), bun (Scotland)

 

 

 

WANT TO MAKE A BATCH OF OLD-FASHIONED COOKIES?

By Lesley Younes

When masses of immigrants starting coming to the US in the 19th century, whether they were seeking sheer survival or escaping religious  or political persecution, all the possessions they had were memories and perhaps a few artifacts from their homeland.  Food was a comfort to them and a simple sweet delight was relatively easy to achieve in harsh conditions of their new country. And they also brought with them recipes that had been handed down from generation to generation. Around the holiday season, that meant that there were cookies coming out of the oven.

There were many Norwegians who settled in Minnesota, with the French arriving in Newfoundland via the St. Lawrence River and also settling in Quebec and Montreal. Some  of them even found their way to Louisiana.  The Brits stayed in the eastern part, hence New England, and they spread up through the northern states as far as Maine.  The Dutch, however, built a settlement called New Amsterdam, but the Brits came in and renamed it New York – as York was, and still is, the grand capital of Yorkshire in northern England.

Contrary to popular belief, it was the Germans who settled in Pennsylvania, not the Dutch as in Pennsylvania Dutch.  German immigrants sailed to the US from Dutch ports, which caused some of this confusion. They also made their way to Milwaukee and due to the large number of intellectuals that decided to settle there, it became known as The German Athens of the West.  There is also a large population of German descendants in the Texas Hill Country where they have a flourishing wine growing region.

The Spanish were smart: they decided Florida would be a good place to settle — sun, beach, ocean, what’s not to like!   Wouldn’t you have thought the Italians would have settled in a similar place?  They seemed to have dotted themselves across the country as every large city seems to have a Little Italy.  These communities got that tag because the Italians would usually settle next to the Irish and terrible problems would arise, especially on the subject of religion, so there were wild clashes between the two ethnic groups and because the Italians stuck together like sticky rice, the name Little Italy stuck with them.

In any case at this time of year, you will find the descendants of these ethnic enclaves celebrating Christmas with batches of cookies from their ancestral past.  Here are a few simple but delicious recipes to try.  Most of the dough can be rolled and frozen as in ice box cookies.

Pebber Nodder from Denmark

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. ground cardamom
1 tsp. ground cinnamon, or to taste
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350.
In a large bowl, mix together butter and sugar until very smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, stirring until fluffy. Combine the flour and spices with the salt, stir into the sugar mixture, just until blended. This can be frozen at this stage.
Separate into six balls and roll each ball into a rope as big around as your finger.
On a lightly floured board, cut them into 1/2” pieces and place them on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Don’t overbake. Cool and enjoy fresh with coffee.

Pepparkakor from Sweden

2 sticks butter
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 Tbs. light corn syrup or light treacle (molasses)
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 tsp. orange zest
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. ground ginger
2 tsp. ground cloves
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 400.  Cream butter and sugar, stir in egg, add corn syrup or treacle, orange juice and zest.  In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, soda, cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Then stir into the creamed butter mixture until combined. Dough can be frozen at this stage. Roll dough out to 1/8″ and cut into shapes with cookie cutters. Bake for 8-to-10 minutes and cool on a wire rack until crisp.

Pfeffernusse from Germany

Preheat oven to 300.

2 sticks butter
1 cup sugar
2 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup walnuts ground in a nut grinder or food processor (be careful not to make a paste)
1/2 cup candied orange peel
grated rind of one lemon, plus the juice
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 tsp. cardamom

Mix all ingredients together. Roll into 3/4″ balls or drop by teaspoons onto a silpat sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes, then roll in powdered sugar while still warm. Store at room temperature in cookie tins.  Better not to freeze this dough. They keep well and gather flavor as they age after about one week).

Parkin from Northern England
(The British don’t really eat cookies (biscuits) at this time of year. They bake special cakes or slices.
Here are two favorites.

Parkin
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbs. mixed spice
1 Tbs. ground ginger
1 tsp. baking soda
2 1/2 cup oatmeal (not instant)
8 Tbs. black treacle
1 cup unsalted butter
6 Tbs. brown sugar
1 cup milk
2 eggs

Mix together the flour, spices and baking soda. Add the oatmeal. Put the treacle, butter, sugar and milk into a small pan and heat gently until all have melted and mix together. Allow this to cool then stir in the flour mixture. Add eggs, beating until smooth. Turn out into a well greased baking tin, about 11 X 9 X 2 and bake at 325 for about 50 minutes.  The cake should be firm to the touch. Remove and cool, before cutting into small squares.
Keep in a tin in a cool dark place and this will seem to stay fresh for a very long time.
In the north of England there is a saying for someone who never seems to age: ”He’s just like parkin!”

Grandmum’s Christmas Cake
Traditionally served for Christmas Tea

1/2 cup currants
2 cups raisins
1 1/2 cup sultanas (white raisins)
1/2 cup almonds
3/4 cup mixed peel
1/2 cup glazed cherries
grated rind of half  a lemon and the juice of a whole lemon
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups moist brown sugar
6 eggs
3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. mixed spice
1 Tbs. black treacle
2 Tbs. brandy or rum and more to ‘feed’ the cake when baked

Pre-heat the oven to 325.

Grease a 9” by 10″ cake tin with a removable base, lined with grease proof paper three inches above the rim to allow the cake to rise above the tin’s rim.  This is important as it allows the cake to crack in the centre.
Cream the butter, sugar and lemon rind until light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs, one at a time, and then add the dry ingredients. Add treacle, combine thoroughly. Mix in your choice of alcohol and lemon juice and add a little extra alcohol if the mixture seems too stiff. Form a dropping consistency. Turn out into the lined cake tin and to make sure there are no pockets of air, so bang it on the counter top a couple of times, and rotate it once.  Make sure the surface is smooth.  Bake for two hours in the pre-heated oven and then reduce it to 300 for a further 90 minutes to two hours or until a cake tester comes out clean.  Once removed from the oven, the cake should be allowed to cool completely in the tin. When completely cold, remove the paper and turn the cake upside down.  Make holes in it with a steel knitting needle or similar object. Pour extra alcohol of your choice, brandy or dark rum, into the holes and leave the cake upside down until the spirit has been absorbed.  Wrap the cake in fresh grease-proof paper and leave for 48 hours before icing it.  This cake can be stored for at least two months in an airtight container.  You can ‘feed’ the cake with more alcohol if you wish, until you are ready to put on almond paste and royal icing.

This type of cake is usually prepared in October and is eaten in December.

Here are a few translations for cookie from various countries.
biscoito (Portugal), cookie (US), biscuit (UK), keks (Germany),kex (Sweden), biscotto (Italy), galleta (Spain), kaakje (Holland), bun (Scotland)
 

 

 

 

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