11 April 2011

365 Cakes and Cookies

Marion Harland was a prolific cookbook author and recipe writer at the turn of the twentieth century. She had the kind of name recognition that lent itself to selling books, so featuring some of her recipes and adding her name to a cookbook was a good way to give a book a leg up on sales. We have often written about cookbook trends and the “recipe of the day” style was popular during this era.

365 Cakes and Cookies was published in 1904. It is a testament to the bakers who used books like these that they were able to get edible cakes and cookies form the scant instructions. Of course, at the time the book was compiled, there were few commercial bakeries, so baking was a task that most cooks knew how to accomplish.

Here is today’s recipe:

April 11 – Pistachio Biscuits

Make a batter with 3 eggs, 1/2 cupful of powdered sugar, 1/2 cupful of flour and the grated rind of 1 lemon. Put the mixture by teaspoonfuls on the baking sheet, upon which has been spread a greased paper. Dust with granulated sugar, and when baked, cover the tops with white frosting and sprinkle with chopped pistachio nuts.

It’s funny that this type of book is explicit in there being 365 recipes. What happens during a leap year? Alas, it is the one day of the year when there are no cakes or cookies. So if your Birthday is April 29th there will be no cake. Sorry.

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