Well, I’m finally getting around to blogging about the grand opening of the Lantzville Historical Society‘s new space. As I mentioned in a previous post, I was asked to make a few different kinds of cookies from old recipes to serve at the event. Lantzville is the very small town where I grew up, and my mom is the president of the Hysterical Society (as my dad likes to call it.) The event was fairly well attended for such an event in such a small community, about 2 dozen people, and of course, the cookies were the highlight! I made 4 different kinds; Mr. Millard’s oatmeal cookies, Boston drop cookies, ginger cookies, and bachelor buttons, which I’ve written about in a previous post.
Al and Win Millard were our next door neighbours when I was very small, and I have fond memories of them both. These cookies were a favourite of mine growing up, and since Mr Millard was a long time Lantzville resident, it seemed appropriate to include his cookies. Most times we had them, we either ate them plain, or spread peanut butter on them immediately before eating, but for special occasions, they’d get filled with date filling.
Although there are many similar recipes in my old cookbooks, they all just say to fill with date filling… same as Mom said here. No one gives a clue how to make the date filling. I kind of faked it, based on what I remember from childhood – I broke up part of a block of pitted dates, and since I didn’t have quite enough (enough being a very vague guesstimate) I chopped them up with a handful of raisins added. Then I tossed them in a saucepan with just enough water to prevent burning, and cooked them over medium low heat until they were thick and smooth. Yum! Then I spread them on the cookies while the filling was still warm, and topped each one with a second cookie.
The ginger cookies were interesting because the recipe doesn’t actually contain sugar. They are sweetened with just the molasses. I used just blackstrap molasses, and they would have been sweeter made with table molasses, but they were still pretty darn good! Hubby really liked them dipped in his tea. They came out of my 1917 Purity Flour Cook Book. They were dark, spicy and crisp, and just sweet enough. A few people at the event liked these best.
- 1 cup molasses.
- 2 tablespoons milk or water.
- 1 tablespoon ginger.
- 1/2 cup butter.
- 1 teaspoon soda.
- Purity Flour to mix soft as can be handled on the board.
Mix in order given, dissolving soda in the milk. Shape on a floured board into small balls the size of a hickory nut. Lay on a baking sheet and flatten with a smooth tumbler or tin cup to 1/2 inch thick. Bake in a quick oven.
My balls may have been closer in size to a walnut, since I’m not totally sure how big a hickory nut is, and I baked them at 375° for about 10 minutes.
The last kind of cookies were the Boston Drop Cookies out of my 1915 Five Roses Cook Book. I love the lack of directions, though they do say more than some recipes! The quick oven, again, I set at 375° and checked on them after about 10 minutes. These took a little longer to bake, so I just kept checking on them every couple of minutes until they were done. They looked a lot like chocolate chip cookies, but were more cake-like and very buttery. They had a delightful cinnamon flavour, and tender currants all through them, and these were a favourite with a number of people at the event, and hubby’s favourite of the 4 kinds. I liked these a lot, but I found the texture a bit odd, since I’m not used to cakey cookies. Good though, and I’ll probably make them again at some point.
The bachelor buttons seemed to be the very favourite cookie, and there was only one left after the party. Keep in mind only about 2 dozen people showed up, and I took 3 to 4 dozen of each kind of cookie, as I didn’t want to have heaps leftover. I took home far less than half of the other 3 kinds. All in all, I’d have to say my cookies were a success!
I didn’t read the cookie instructions from Five Roses until after the cookies were made and served, but the point about packing them into a cookie jar while still warm was intriguing. I was taught growing up to always cool them completely before putting them away, but I might try half a batch each way and see which I prefer. I think it might depend on the type of cookie, though, since crisp ones would stay crisp better being cooled on a rack. Here are the instructions given by Five Roses: