Stollen

Let’s put this one in the “holiday food” category, because stollen is made similarly to fruitcake and has some similar ingredients. However, that’s about all the similarities between stollen and fruitcake unless you consider “traditional” and “long history” to be similarities. Stollen is a yeast risen cake, and if you have watched even one season of GBBS, you will know this is not a typical type of cake, and definitely not in America.

Stollen has a long history – and depending on who you ask, it originated in the 14th century or the 16th century. Before Germany as we know it was formed, there were smaller regions and kingdoms, including Bavaria and Saxony. In these regions, Christmas was celebrated during Advent, which was the 12 days of Christmas and included fasting. In regions that were Catholic, the Pope prohibited the use of butter during Advent, and so Catholic stollen was made with turnip oil, flour, oats, and blah. Everyone agrees it didn’t taste very good. Sometime in the mid 1400s, the Saxon rulers wrote to the Pope in Rome and asked for special permission to use butter. How scandalous! The Pope in power at the time of their letter declined their request and it wasn’t until 1490 and five Popes later that their request was granted – but with conditions, of course. Only the royal family could use butter.

In the mid 1500s in Dresden, the bakers there offered the Saxon rulers a giant stollen (36 pounds!) and this was not the first stollen baked by the bakers guild. So, sometime between 1490 and 1560, the public was given permission to use butter and therefore stollen improved for the better. There has been a stollen festival in Dresden ever since, and there are some obnoxiously large stollen in recent history, including one that was 237 feet long, and a giant 5 foot stollen knife used to cut these super-stollen. Take a look at the links below the recipe for more stollen history and information.

Stollen

1 qt milk

1 lb butter

1/4 lb citron

1/2 lb almonds

1/2 lb raisins

3 ¢ yeast

1 lb sugar

4 eggs

flour to make stiff

 

Additional Reading

Who Invented Stollen? via Speigel Online

A Brief History of Stollen via Dresden Stollen Bakers

A History of the Christ Stollen via BackereiGnauck

Stollen via Wikipedia

Peanut Squares

Smashed in between two other recipes on the page, I originally thought this was part of one of the others. But no, this is a recipe for Peanut Squares that includes powdered sugar and lemon flower. I’m not sure how that would taste, honestly. I couldn’t find any kind of lemon flour, so I’m guessing it is an actual lemon flower. Also, this recipe calls for 1/2 a bottle of milk. This calls to mind the glass bottles that the milkman used to deliver to the doorstep, and those bottles were usually a quart. So how much is a quart, you ask? A quart (a quarter of a gallon) is two pints, so this recipe calls for one pint, which is two cups liquid.

Next, there are a lot of notations for butter here, and I don’t think they are all correct. Maybe. I don’t know. 1 tsp butter, 1/4 butter, and hot butter. Any ideas, friends? There is also no discernible method, as per usual, but a notation for time, so I imagine the time is how long to bake them.

Peanut Squares

2 eggs

1 cup sugar

1/2 bottle milk (2 cups)

Hot butter

1 tsp butter

1/4 butter

1 lb powdered sugar

Lemon flower

Chopped peanuts

20-26 minutes

Broken Date Torte

The edge of this page was just destroyed and my scanner couldn’t detect it, unfortunately. I apologize for the left side being cut off. A quick search revealed many date torte recipes, but none that quite matched. Originally I thought this was a recipe for tarts, but the use of baking powder suggests a rise is needed in the baking. A torte makes much more sense than my original thought of tarts, honestly. Why would you bake tarts in two layers? Of course you wouldn’t, but a torte you would, and then layer the two cakes with whipped cream in between and on top. I am sometimes frustrated by the lack of descriptions in this recipe book, but more often fascinated by the mysteries and impressed by the cooks knowledge and confidence. She jotted this down knowing that at some point in her future – a year or twenty? – she would know how to make this just by the few notes. It is a talent and confidence we modern cooks often lack.

Broken Date Torte

3 eggs

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

pinch salt

1 package dates, cut up

10¢ walnuts, chopped (try a cup)

Bake in two layers

Break and put whipped cream over

Butter Horns

This recipe for Butterhorns is a classic yeast cookie. They have a Danish or Swedish origin and look a bit like a crescent roll, but much smaller. If you are not confident about using yeast, I understand. I only this year have started making my pizza dough by hand and allowing it to rise – I used to use my bread machine.

Everything I have read about Butterhorns suggests they are easy and delicious, so perhaps make this your first foray into yeasted cookies. I’ll put some links to additional sites under the recipe, as they have some history and methods to explore. Also, I’m going to try to translate the method described into something that is more understandable. There’s still a lot of gaps, such as no information about how to bake them and I don’t know how much 2 cents worth of yeast is. Maybe a teaspoon? That’s a total guess.

Butterhorns

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup lard

1/2 cup suger

1/2 cup milk – use half to dissolve yeast 2 cents worth

3 eggs

4 cups flour, a little nutmeg and vanilla

Let raise to 4 to 5 hours, and then take a small ???? roll the size of dinner plate, cut 4 pieces, take roll end so point on top, butter sugar and cinnamon, put powder sugar frosting on top

Combine ingredients and allow to rise 4 to 5 hours. Take a small amount and roll thin to the size of a dinner plate. Cut it into 4 wedges. Sprinkle with butter, sugar and cinnamon. Roll it from the wide end to the point. Repeat until all dough gone. After baking top with powdered sugar frosting.

 

 

Additional Links

Grandma’s Butterhorns – via Pinch of Yum

My Favorite Butterhorns – via Cookies & Cups

Hermits

Here’s another interesting cookie with a fascinating history. I had never heard of Hermits before, but Mr. Google tells me there is a long and storied mystery & history behind them. Hermits may have been popularized in the American Colonial period as a bar cake that would last for a long time. They have the sugar and spice of fruit cake, which of course was one of Martha Washington’s famous “great cakes,” and so, the durability to be stored with little negative effects, apparently. The Deseret News once speculated that they are much older, and the name Hermits came from the ancient hermitages (monasteries) and that the ingredients would have been commonly available. They also suggested that the cookies (called tea cakes or just cakes) would have been made last, with whatever was left over after the day’s meals had been prepared. Bon Apetit magazine and many other online sources cite the second half of the 19th century as the time when Hermits became much more popular. Recipes were published in community cookbooks all the way to the famous Fannie Farmer. The treat was popular due to not needing refrigeration and being quite portable. Their popularity waned in the mid 20th century. Perhaps we can fashion a resurgence, friends?

Hermits

2/3 cups butter

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

2 eggs

1 cup seeded raisins

2 1/2 cups flour

1 up nuts

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp cloves

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp soda

3 tablespoons sour milk

 

 

Additional Links

New England Recipes – a summary of various recipes for Hermits

Cooks Info – Explains differences between versions of Hermits

 

Ginger Cookies

This page of the Girl’s Trade School book fell apart as I was handling it, much to my dismay. You can see the bottom edge lost a big chunk out of it. The way the recipe starts out is so charming to me. “You take 1 cup…” sounds a lot like a lady I used to know and how she would speak. I can imagine her dictating this recipe to a daughter-in-law while the two of them were in the kitchen and cooking at the holidays.

Ginger Cookies

You take 1 cup sugar

1 cup molasses

1 cup fat

2/3 cup boiling water

1 egg

1 tsp cream of tartar

1 tbsp ginger

1 tbsp soda & 1 tbsp salt

Ethel’s Fruit Cakes

For the best fruit cakes you need to make them around Thanksgiving (4th Thursday of November for everyone else), and then baste them well with alcohol of some kind. I have always made my great-grandmother’s fruit cake recipe, but the Jackson’s Vanilla Wafer recipe is a very popular one on this site. Add to the rolls of fruit cake recipes, this one from Irene Bartz’s friend Ethel. This recipe looks like it will make several cakes, as was tradition. Make several fruit cakes and give them as gifts, serve at holiday gatherings, etc. I suggest reading a couple of the other recipes for reference before making this one because there is no method here.

A few notes about fruit cake ingredients. One, buy it when you see it. The candied fruit doesn’t really spoil, but it is only around in October/November and usually sells out quickly. Two, if you don’t like one of these fruits, skip it. This particular recipe has a lot of fruit, but I think I wouldn’t use this much. Three, cook the raisins & dates otherwise they will be rock hard in the finished cake.

Ethel’s Fruit Cakes

3 cups brown sugar

1 cup shortening

1 cup sour milk, a teaspoon soda

5 eggs beaten hard

a teaspoon salt

strong cup of coffee

spices to taste – nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, and all spice

1/2 glass wine

1/2 glass brandy

1/2 lb chopped walnuts

2 lbs raisins

5 ¢ citron (you can purchase candied citron usually in the produce department of your local grocery store)

5 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 lb cherries, pineapple, dates, figs, lemon, orange (If you purchase the citron above, you don’t need the additional lemon & orange listed here)

Bake about 1 1/2 hours