When I cook I remember those times given by others that came before me. It is a history lesson of sorts to keep for a lifetime, in particular for the younger generations to know where they came from and to know the struggle of getting here today – Mrs. Shecky
Let’s face it, cookbooks were written for women. Men didn’t touch them back when unless he was a Chef, then it was ‘his kitchen” with her work. Women did the culinary work in the kitchen and among other household “duties” if not all of them. This is not said to degrade anyone, this is said because it was life at that time. Out of that lifestyle books were the internet and cookbooks told a story of life surrounding the mannerisms of food. With information of specific times and methods from serving to the lifestyle led with revealing details of preparations, table etiquette and when to serve and who to serve first, a cookbook was in almost all households. This history of life is one of my favorites to read, to reflect on and I love reading them as well as cooking from those history books with modern day givings in our kitchen.
“The recipes appearing in this volume are a compilation of those contributed by readers of The Household Magazine, those developed by its food specialists, and those submitted by manufacturers…”Forward from The Household Searchlight Recipe Book 1937
This is certainly an interesting book and the recipes tell the tale of a country eating various foods by not only the post depression era budget conscious, but for those who had a bit more to spend on meals, and for those that only had their backyard to eat from.
I will be cooking some recipes from this book for the wonderment of it all and sharing them in future posts along with my own mother’s, and great grandmother’s recipe books.
This book, being so perfectly written and indexed with tabs, it wasn’t hard to go straight to the “cookies” category to see if I could find a lemon something to use up lemons from my tree and, of course there was one.
- Cookie Sheet
Beat and Cream Together:
- 3/4 C Butter Softened
- 3/4 C Sugar
- 1 Egg Well Beaten
- 3 Tbs Lemon Juice
- Zest From One Lemon Grated
Sift and Add To Beaten Egg/Butter Mixture:
- 1 1/2 C Cake Flour Add more if the batter is thin *See Step 3*
- 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
- 1/4 tsp Baking Soda
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 1/2 Raisins-chopped Optional
- Cream butter & sugar. Add egg, then add lemon juice and zest.
- Sift flour with baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add to the sugar/butter mixture and mix until blended. Add raisins (optional).
- If batter is thin, add ¼ C more flour or more to thicken it to a cookie dough consistency.
- With an ice-cream scoop, scoop even portions out on to a lined baking sheet. You can use baking spray.
- Lightly press cookies down with powdered sugar fingertips and shake additional powdered sugar on them.
- Bake at 425° Timing: Will vary! Check after 10 minutes. If done take them out. Mine took approximately 15 minutes. Turn the cookies halfway through for an even bake at 7 minutes then cooked them for an additional 8 minutes to get the timing down. The batter’s consistency will have everything to do with the timing. They will be a light golden colored on the edges with little cracks on the tops.
- Cool completely and shake more powdered sugar on top if desired.
- These should be slightly crisp on the bottom and have a medium dense cake-like texture inside. So Good they melt in your mouth! Great for coffee or tea.
- Store in an air tight containter. Best when eaten in a day or so.
- *Note: This recipe is from an old cookbook and revised a bit for our modern ovens. The flour portion may vary with your oven temperature. Adding an additional ¼ c flour thickened the batter up enough for this bake. It was not rolled out as the original recipe states as the batter was still thin. It is rather a slightly cake-like batter and better suited to use a scoop.
Recipe adapted from:
The Household Searchlight Recipe Book dated 1937.
Babble How To’s:
After mixing, I found the batter was a little thin so adding about 1/4 C flour did the trick. I am going to assume the design and temperatures of the ovens varied and that thought has to be taken into consideration for today’s appliances. There was nothing tastier than my Great Grandmothers cookies coming out of an old gas oven. In fact, when I left home at 17 my first apartment had a Wedgewood oven and it rocked my pancakes like no other.
Anyway, this was more of a cake batter than a cookie. So experimenting with the flour ratio worked for this batch beautifully. I also did not add the raisins.
The mix is also a bit sticky. Pressing the cookie down with powdered sugared fingers seemed to work with the shape of the cookie. I then sprinkled more powder sugar before the bake. That, of course, is optional and your decision.
Being that I think cookies should be turned half way through the bake, I did that also. Just to make an even golden color on all sides.
When done let cool completely and sprinkle with powder sugar is so desired.
And as simple as that, these turned out to probably be one of the best lemon cookie recipes I have made. A simple, cake-like cookie with crisp edges that melts in your mouth is perfect for tea or coffee. A little dab of strawberry jam or a teaspoon of cinnamon or chopped nuts added to the batter puts it on my basic list of cookies to expand upon per occasion.
It is a great cookie! If you try it and do other renditions on it, I would love to hear what you did and how it turned out.
This book was given to me years ago by my husband’s Aunt. She was a brilliant woman and a librarian and we connected with so many book subjects. I was lucky to have known her and her name is written in the front along with another signature and I am assuming that since there is no library card holder in the front placket, that it was given to her by Hazel Pring instead of never being returned to the library. *it happens, eh?*
I wonder what Ms. Elizabeth Shaffer from Albuquerque, N.M. would have thought of her recipe still being baked in the year 2020…
I am happy to share it.
Enjoy the bake 🙂