Authentic New Year's Cookies

Eleanor Rose

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We can thank our colonial era Dutch settlers for introducing New Year's Cookies to America. Sometimes called New Year's Cakes, these thin crisp sugar cookies were traditionally flavored with caraway, lemon and sometimes cider. Recipes for New Year's Cookies were very popular in the 1840s -1850s, but by the late 1880s, they begin to disappear from the pages of "modern" cookbooks.


"New Year's Cookies"

"Three quarters of a pound of butter and a pound of sugar beat to a cream. Add three eggs, one teacupful of sour milk, one teaspoonful of saleratus, half a cup of caraway seed, a little mace, and flour to make it stiff enough to roll thin; cut in rounds. Roll this cake with a little fine sugar instead of flour, and bake about fifteen minutes." (p. 171)


"New Year's Cookies"

"Take half a pound of butter and one of white sugar; beat them to a cream; add one cup of sour milk, one teaspoonful of saleratus, a little mace, the juice and grated rind of one lemon, and flour enough to roll; sift a little sugar on to roll it; cut them the size you like; bake about twenty minutes." (p. 195-196)


--- Mrs. Putnam's Receipt Book and Young Housekeeper's Assistant, Mrs. Putnam [Blakeman & Mason:New York] new and enlarged edition, 1862.
 
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Jimklag

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We can thank our colonial era Dutch settlers for introducing New Year's Cookies to America. Sometimes called New Year's Cakes, these thin crisp sugar cookies were traditionally flavored with caraway, lemon and sometimes cider. Recipes for New Year's Cookies were very popular in the 1840s -1850s, but by the late 1880s, they begin to disappear from the pages of "modern" cookbooks.


"New Year's Cookies"

"Three quarters of a pound of butter and a pound of sugar beat to a cream. Add three eggs, one teacupful of sour milk, one teaspoonful of saleratus, half a cup of caraway seed, a little mace, and flour to make it stiff enough to roll thin; cut in rounds. Roll this cake with a little fine sugar instead of flour, and bake about fifteen minutes." (p. 171)



"New Year's Cookies"

"Take half a pound of butter and one of white sugar; beat them to a cream; add one cup of sour milk, one teaspoonful of saleratus, a little mace, the juice and grated rind of one lemon, and flour enough to roll; sift a little sugar on to roll it; cut them the size you like; bake about twenty minutes." (p. 195-196)


--- Mrs. Putnam's Receipt Book and Young Housekeeper's Assistant, Mrs. Putnam [Blakeman & Mason:New York] new and enlarged edition, 1862.
Methinks saleratus is baking powder - good old bicarbonate.
 

Eleanor Rose

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"No. 1. New Year's Cake"

"Beat to a cream three quarters of a pound of butter, and one pound of sugar; add three eggs well beaten, a grated nutmeg, and a pint of sifted flour;when these are well mixed, add half a tea-cup of cider, in which a tea-spoonful of supercarbonate of soda is dissolved, and flour enough to make a stiff dough; roll the dough very think cut it into fanciful forms, as of men, beasts, birds, &c., and bake on buttered tins."


"No. 2. New Year's Cake"

"Rub a pound of butter into a pint of sifted flour, and add three eggs well beaten; then stir in a pint of honey, a grated nutmeg, two table-spoonsfuls of caraway seeds, a teacup of cider in which is dcilloved a tea-spoonful of supercarbonate of soda and a small bit of alum, and sifted flour enough to make a stiff dough; roll it, cut it, andbake it as above."


--- The Practical Cook Book, Mrs. Bliss [Lippincott, Grambo & Co. Philadelphia] 1850 (p. 187).
 
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#5
New Year's Cookies look nifty! Caraway and lemon sound good together.

Methinks saleratus is baking powder - good old bicarbonate.
Just read up on that in one of my Christmas presents, Wagon Wheel Kitchens (which I recommend). You're right that it's a bicarbonate, but it's closer to baking soda than baking powder. It was made of pearlash with added carbonic acid, and I believe she said switching over to it saved forests (pearlash was made from wood ashes). Different brands of saleratus had different formulations, but supposedly all of them were stronger than modern-day baking soda. I've seen suggestions that you substitute 1 1/4 tsps baking soda for 1 tsp saleratus, but I'm sure it's one of those things you have to fiddle with.

https://www.amazon.com/Wagon-Wheel-Kitchens-Oregon-Trail/dp/0700606106
 



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