James B White

Honored Fallen Comrade
Dec 4, 2011
Jumbles were cookies baked in the shape of a ring, with dozens of recipes. The following is from Mrs. A. L. Webster, who had three different recipes in her 1855 The Improved Housewife alone.

Rub to a cream a pound of sugar and half a pound of butter; add eight well-beaten eggs, essence of lemon or rose-water to the taste, and flour to make the jumbles stiff enough for rolling out. Roll out, in powdered sugar, about half an inch wide and four inches long, and form them into rings, by joining the ends. Lay them on flat buttered tins, and bake in a quick oven.

"Rub to a cream" is of course the same direction as our "cream," meaning mixing till they're smooth, no actual cream involved. Ingredients measured by weight were common in period recipes. Beat the eggs well by hand, but don't go crazy with an electric mixer.

Modern lemon extract will do for essence of lemon, but rosewater is just rosewater. It's available in specialty shops. The modern rosewater I bought seemed incredibly strong in recipes that specified an amount, just overpowering, so adding to taste is a good idea, if you choose rosewater, or either one, actually. Other jumble recipes have nutmeg and/or cinnamon.

The problem with modern flour is discussed in the Buttermilk Bread recipe. Powdered sugar would most likely be loaf sugar pounded into a powder, more like granulated sugar.

Jumbles can be formed into rings by hand, as in this recipe, or there were tin jumble cutters, shaped like donut cutters. Buttered cookie sheets should do, with a hot oven of maybe 400 or 425 degrees. Take them out when very light brown.

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Northern Light

Lt. Colonel
Forum Host
Jul 21, 2014
This is interesting! the jumbles I grew up with were more like Hermits, a drop cookie with a "jumble" of fruit and nuts in them. Will have to do some research on this!

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