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21 February, 2018

Boston Cookies

Posted in : antique, baking, cookies, dessert, easy, food, History, snack, vintage on by : Jeanette Schramm Tags: , , , , , ,

There’s a local antique shop in town that has a variety of items, from world war relics and period clothing to old dolls and kitchenwares. They also occasionally have some incredible finds, such as newspapers from the day of the first moonwalk or the day Pearl Harbor was bombed, or 105 year-old home medical and cooking texts. I have two old books from 1912 and 1913 that both contain a wide variety of topics, from medical remedies (which include chemicals like arsenic and formaldehyde —  but don’t worry, there’s a glossary of antidotes in the back), to how to build your own house (with indoor plumbing!), to a veterinary manual, to recipes.

My 1912 book’s recipe section leave a lot to be desired when it comes to the recipes, and by that I mean the recipes are pretty much just ingredient lists. Not all of them have cook times or oven temperatures, and when you do get oven temperatures, they’re for wood-burning ovens and aren’t really “temperatures.” Instead, they tell you the intensity of the oven, from slow to moderate, to fast. (By the way, if you’ve never seen a 1910s kitchen, here are a couple to give you an idea.) Both books are pretty sparing on their instructions, though my 1913 book does have more written when it comes to process, so I started there.

I couldn’t find any history on why they’re called Boston cookies, and I couldn’t find a date of origin, either. The cookies turned out quite yummy, with a soft, flaky-around-the-edges texture. If you like your cookies less 2-dimensional, I suggest using shortening instead of butter, but the recipe as follows is taken directly from the book (I mean, I had to figure out the oven temperature from the “moderate oven” instruction and guess the cook time through trial and error). I’ve included a picture of the recipe up here in the description. Stay tuned for more recipes from these old books, including Welsh Rarebit and Molasses Pie.

Ingredients
1 cup Butter, softened
1 1/2 cups Sugar
3 Eggs
1 tsp Baking soda
1 1/2 tsp Hot water
3 1/4 cups Flour
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Ground cinnamon
1 cup Walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup Currants
1/2 cup Raisins

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Add in the eggs one at a time. Dissolve the baking soda in hot water and add it to the mix. Sift together the flour, salt, and cinnamon and add half of it to the butter mixture. Stir in the walnuts, currants, and raisins before adding in the remainder of the flour. Scoop out onto a greased or silicone baking sheet and bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. Let cool before transferring to a cooling rack or plate. Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

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