It's that time of year again. And I've been trying to figure out what Christmas cookies I'm going to make this year. This made me wonder what kinds of cookie recipes were available in the 19th century. Note the oldest recipe I found of a "Christmas Cookie" was 1845. Another tidbit is that in a fictional story I found cookie spelled cookey. Another fictional story ©1866 mentioned the character looking up from her Christmas Cookies. I found a reference to an article written in 1994 saying that Christmas cookies made there way to America with the Dutch in the 1600's. This may be the case, I just haven't found any reference to that authentic that information.
Below you will find some recipes of various Christmas cookies.
Another source: The New England economical housekeeper, and family receipt book By Esther Allen Howland ©1845
Christmas Cookies, No. 3.
* Take one pound and a half of flour, three quarters of a pound of sugar, half a pound of butter, half a cup of milk, and two spoonfuls of caraway seeds; melt the butter before you put it in. It is rather difficult to knead, but it can be done. Roll it out and cut it in hearts and diamonds, and bake it on buttered tins.
Another source: Mrs. Owens' cook book and useful household hints: ©1884
Mrs. W. F. Van Bergen, Oak Park, Illinois.
Four eggs and I pound sugar stirred together for one hour. Add \ teaspoon pulverized hartshorn; then enough flour to make a stiff dough. Roll out and cut. Keep in a warm room all night. Then bake in a slow oven. Sprinkle the pans with anise seed before putting cookies in. Make as stiff as you can roll out. There is no butter used in them.
Another set of recipes comes from: The new practical housekeeping: A compilation of new, choice and carefully tested recipes. ©1890
North German Christmas Cookies.—Six pounds flour, two each of'sugar, butter, and molasses, one teaspoon saleratus dissolved in rose water, arrack, or spirits, a few cloves and cinnamon pounded together, one pound raisins pounded in a mortar, half pound citron chopped fine. Warm molasses, sugar and butter slightly, and gradually stir in the flour; knead well and roll out, and cut in various ' c«,k shapes. One-half the dough may be flavored with anise or cardamon, omitting the raisins. This recipe will make a large quantity, and they are pretty to hang upon the tree during Christmas week, and to pass in baskets to holiday callers. This is the bona fide Christmas cookie.
Another Source: The Home-maker: an illustrated monthly magazine ..., Volume 3 ©1890
These cookies should be mixed two or three weeks before Christmas.
Boil five pounds molasses, one pound butter, and one-half pound lard together (the molasses is weighed,instead of measured, because, in winter, a measure is not exact). Boil 10 minutes.
When cold, dissolve five cents' worth of cooking potash in a little warm water, and add to the syrup. Add flour to make a very stiff dough. Add
1 Ib. of citron, chopped fine.
1 Ib. blanched almonds, ditto.
1 Ib. sugared or dried lemon peel.
3 teaspoonfuls cinnamon.
3 teaspoonfuls cloves.
3 teaspoonfuls cardamun seed.
Another source: The Ann Arbor cookbook © 1899
One gal. molasses, y2 pt. sour milk or cream, 2 cups lard, 2 lbs. brown sugar, 5 tablespoons Wyandotte soda, 3 tablespoons of cinnamon, 2 grated nutmegs; add citron, nuts, lemon and orange peel. Stir in flour until no more can be added, and let it stand over night. Mrs. Schlotterbeck.
CHRISTMAS FRUIT COOKIES.
One qt. sour cream, 1 qt. molasses, 2 lbs. brown sugar, 1 lb. each of orange, lemon and citron (sliced quite fine), cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg to suit taste, a handful of salt, 3 teaspoons of Wyandotte soda dissolved in cream, 1 pt. hickory nut meats and 2 lbs. seeded raisins. Mix thoroughly, add flour to make a stiff dough; let stand over night. Miss I. J. Braun.