The Art of Scrap Cookies

Whew, I’ve been a busy girl.  Not busy enough that I’m not making new things each week, but just busy enough to let updates and posts slip off the to-do list.  I’ll be better about it.

This time, I have a cookie to write about and a lovely, little cookie to boot.  It’s a mix of period recipe and my own little tweaking and I’m quite proud of the result.  It tastes like a little vanilla wafer, smooth and not overly sweet, so that means you can eat a couple without sugar overload.  At least in taste.

These little wafers are so light and sharp that they'll probably be my go-to 'sugar' cookie

These little wafers are so light and sharp that they’ll probably be my go-to ‘sugar’ cookie

Technically, they are called “Scrap-Art” Cookies but I played around and added lemon juice and a very good drop of honey into the mix since the note in the recipe said that it could be dry, the dough.  My solution was to add a hint more liquid and it worked beautifully.  They rolled out nicely and baked up beautifully.

So here’s the recipe:  (note: with period recipes, standardization of measuring is a later invention, so pick a cup that’s going to represent your cup and use that as a base… something on the smaller size because I guarantee these recipes make A LOT)

1 cup butter
1.5 cups powdered sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
2.5 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Large drop of honey.

You’ll cream the butter, egg, vanilla, sugar, lemon juice and honey together.  Then add your dry ingredients.  Chill in the frig like you would for sugar cookies.  I chilled them for about an hour.  Roll thin and cut into shapes or circles with a cup.  For fun, I added one chocolate chip to the middle.

It’s a Pupton of Apples!

Usually I bring home victorian era recipes.  Not this time.  We’re going back to the 18th century for this one, and probably a little older.  I’m not really sure on the true age of this particular recipe but I do know that it is good.

Doesn't it look so lovely and bread like?

Doesn’t it look so lovely and bread like?

It’s called a ‘Pupton of Apples.’  Now, what’s a pupton?  I have no idea and I did do some searching and even the presenters at the house I worked in who have been there and are in charge, don’t really know.  It’s a mystery but I have found a great blog entry about the pupton to share and it does mention the Hannah Glass book that this one was taken from, so it’s a great resource if you’re interested.

smell up your home with some apples and cinnamon!

smell up your home with some apples and cinnamon!

Basically how it goes is this:  You chop up at least 3 cups of apples (more if you’re an apple fiend like me) and fry them up with a cup and a half of sugar and only two tablespoons of water.  Trust me, that’s all you need to make a marmalade with your goodies.  Toss in as much cinnamon as you like and viola, something you can just gobble up with a spoon if you’re so inclined.  I almost did.

Rustic and homey feeling, right?

Rustic and homey feeling, right?

Next you take about two cups of bread crumbs.  I didn’t have any ‘modern’ ones who I toasted some bread and crumbled.  Homemade bread that’s been baked a bit in the oven tastes the best but no matter how you do it, it still works.  One to two eggs; I found that doing it either didn’t change it much taste and consistency-wise.  Then there’s a 1/4 lbs butter or one stick of butter, however you want to think of it.  Mix that all together and then add in your marmalade.  It’s a thick heavy mix but if it isn’t ‘mold-able’ add in some flour to help it out.

The more apples you cut, the more you get to enjoy.

The more apples you cut, the more you get to enjoy.

But it in a bake dish at about 325-350 and bake.  Mine took about 30-40 minutes but I’m always checking it since this comes from a time when bake kettles are in fashion and you’re using coals.  What you end up with is a lovely, ‘rustic’ looking cake that tastes delicious fresh from the oven with a bit of ice cream.  If it was fall, oh man, I’d be making this weekly.

On a side note: dried apples work just as well, just remember that they soak up the water when frying them and you may have to add a bit more.  You end up with a more ‘candied’ mix than marmalade but just as tasty.

Period Little Biscuits

Short and sweet, just like this biscuits…

So what happens is this:  I work at Greenfield Village and therefore, work the farm life and living histories areas where we cook (and much, much more) but that means that many of us take home these recipes and make for ourselves and for our families…because they are just so yummy.  Therefore, all the trial and error happens there and less at home, though converting from a coal stove to a modern stove does have some whoopsie moments.

Look at those discs!  Perfect for soup bowls.

Look at those discs! Perfect for soup bowls.

These South Carolina Biscuits are found in the Buckeye Cookery which I’ve referenced before and since it’s still being printed, I can’t really give out the recipe like I want, but look this book up.  It’s glorious and has so much info in it besides period recipes.  These biscuits are described as good biscuits for a lunch (taken away from the house) but they are also good for a quick bread for dinner.

Now, I should say that they are not super fluffy biscuits but have some nice layers to it.  This lack of fluffiness made my family shrink back from them, which is sad because there’s just a hint of sweetness to this little goodies.  I adore them.  They’re easy to make and easy to eat.  You don’t need jelly, jam or butter on these babies.  So I was somewhat sad to know that I was the one eating them up.

You win some, you lose some I guess.  I’ll try another biscuit recipe later on and fool them…but check out this cookbook.  I swear, you’ll love it!

Something-For-Everyone Cake

This is the second dessert I made for the family.  Everyone seems to like a different type of cake so I set out to please everyone and came up with this.  It’s a decadent dessert and no where near as healthy as my latest attempts at dessert but now and then, you just need to blow all that healthy eating out of the  water, am I right?  It isn’t for everyday so that’s okay.  Plus, I did substitute eggs for egg whites, that’s something, right?

from what I remember for the midnight cake: 2c brown sugar, 1/2c butter, 2 eggs, 2 oz chocolate, 1c coffee, 2 c flour, vanilla... I think...

from what I remember for the midnight cake: 2c brown sugar, 1/2c butter, 2 eggs, 2 oz chocolate, 1c coffee, 2 c flour, vanilla, 1/2c milk with soda dissolved in it… I think…

It’s a layer cake, one white and one chocolate.  It’s also a cake of something old and something new.  The white cake is the recipe from a previous post, so nothing new there.  The bottom layer is a cake recipe from one of the period cookbooks we use on the farm at Greenfield Village called Midnight Cake.  I can’t remember if it is from the Buckeye or Mrs. Owen’s, but both are free on Google Playbooks, and I recommend adding them to your library.  It’s a dense, rich farm cake, so beware of that and I usually use it as a ‘brownie’ when at home (since I get the dense/heavy complaint when I mention it’s a cake).  I’d post the recipe but I worry about copyright, so I’m just going to point you in the direction of those two books and if you MUST have it, let me know and I’ll try to privately message you about it.  It is, basically at its heart, a chocolate cake.

I did put quite the layer of frosting on this puppy

I did put quite the layer of frosting on this puppy

Now the center, I used my pudding/cool whip mix and made it up in the sugar free white chocolate style to use in the center of both of these cakes.  Next time I might use it for the whole of the cake as well since I’m liking it better than buttercream these days…which is what the rest of the cake is frosted in.  Good news is that a whole recipe of buttercream frosting is more than enough to cover a two layer, round cake.

You can see the density of the two types of cake: the modern verse the victorian

You can see the density of the two types of cake: the modern verse the victorian

It’s definitely a cake you only need a small slice of but it does hit everyone’s sweet spot.

A Trip to King’s Landing

Yes, I am a Game of Thrones fan and really?  Who isn’t?  If you haven’t seen it or read the books, I highly recommend.  I also highly recommend the official cookbook even if you aren’t inclined to take my previous advice.  It isn’t just for fans but fans of period cooking in general.  The writers of the book have painstakingly searched for period recipes matched in the book’s feasts and translated them for us, even made up modern equivalent for those less inclined to try an ancient roman recipe.

They're petite and just ready for some tea

They’re petite and just ready for some tea

This recipe comes from 1690 for little lemon cake style cookies that are mentioned in the book.  I do like the fact that they provide the original text of the recipe, a translated version (for our modern cooking measurements) and instructions, that way you know for sure you are doing something quite old world.  It’s a pretty straight forward recipe but what I noticed as I made it up was how dry it became.  Maybe it’s a user error but I didn’t form a dough following the exact instructions and measurements, therefore, I added a bit of buttermilk, barely even 1/8 cup to help bring it all together.  Next time I might just cut down the flour and a bit of the sugar.

The end result?  Oh, these are sweet little things, almost candy like in their sweetness so I didn’t add the glaze to it but very lemony.  It’s the zest that does it and bonus?  The house smells deliciously like lemon as you make these up and you really will want to consume vast amounts of them.

While I can’t share the recipe with you, since it’s a book and all that jazz, I will suggest you pick it up.  There’s all sorts of recipes from duck, to salads, to drink recipes (not all alcoholic) to breads.  All meals are represented and almost all seasons so grab it up.  I think it’s a must have for those ‘rustic’ type days.

Homemade and Fluffy Cinnamon Rolls.

I stayed out of the kitchen for a few days because, like most of America, I wasn’t feeling well.  Luckily, I did not have the plague/flu but at the same time, I did not want to pass it along to my family.  It all means that I was itching to do something.  When you live at home, you want to contribute in some way, you know?  So when my mother suggested breakfast for dinner (she wanted to make homemade pancakes), I figured homemade cinnamon rolls was a nice companion.

The perks of working at a living history site means historical recipes.  I recommend checking out the Buckeye Cookery and Mrs. Owen’s, both are on Google Play Books for free and are easy to use with some fabulously lovely yummies.  We are given a little ‘house’ cookbook when we are hired on with basic historical recipes and the cinnamon rolls was one of them.  It comes from the Detroit Free Press in 1881.

Homemade cinnamon rolls.  They really expanded in the oven.

Homemade cinnamon rolls. They really expanded in the oven.

It starts off by saying to make a light dough, as if for bread… which means some dry, active yeast (a must in any kitchen in my opinion), milk, water and a sugar for the yeast to love.  I used just honey since later the recipe calls for more sugar and I have to watch my sugar intake.  Typically, with bread, I mix sugar and honey in the beginning and it’s really nice.  Let that foam up (if you use sugar and honey, it foams up a little better for some reason).

Then mix in some shortening (it doesn’t say how much, so I put about 3-4 tablespoons), one egg and some sugar (I ended up with about 1/6 cup when all said and done) and because I’m a little hesitant with shortening (can’t even say why), I put 2 tablespoons of butter.  Mix that with enough flour to make the dough (don’t knead it too much), then roll it out like for a jelly roll.  The recipe calls for you to spread butter and then sprinkle cinnamon and sugar.  Roll it all up, then slice and put into pans like you do for rolls.

They turned into muffins in the cupcake tin

They turned into muffins in the cupcake tin

Now, it makes a lot of dough, which I forgot, so I ran out of room in my little dish, so I was pressed and ended up using cupcake tins.  The rolls were too big for those, so they kinda collapsed on themselves and when you let them rise, they made little muffin shapes which was kinda a nice surprise.

So you let them rise in a warm place and before baking, the recipe says to put a lump of butter on each one, and sprinkle more cinnamon and sugar.  I baked them for about 20 minutes on a medium hot oven.  Just watch them… and note that they really puff up, hence my cupcake ones turning into muffins.

To top them off, I made a simple icing and then ate them.  It’s a nice, fluffy roll instead of the more pastry style that comes from a can.  True be told, I rather like this fluffy, bread-like ones.  They’re more filling and a little less sugary, perfect breakfast muffin.