A Christmas Cookey

Amelia Simmons’ 1796 cookbook American Cookery, the first cookbook written by an American to be published in the United States, was also one of the first English-language cookbooks to use the word “cookie.” While British cookbooks used the terms “small cakes” or “biscuits,” in America the word “cookie,” derived from the Dutch word “koekje,” came to be used instead.

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A Seed Cake

‘”Come along in, and have some tea!” he managed to say after taking a deep breath.

“A little beer would suit me better, if it is all the same to you, my good sir,” said Balin with the white beard. “But I don’t mind some cake — seed cake, if you have any.”

“Lots!” Bilbo found himself answering, to his own surprise; and he found himself scuttling off, too, to the cellar to fill a pint beer-mug, and to the pantry to fetch two beautiful round seed-cakes which he had baked that afternoon for his after-supper morsel.’ – from The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien, 1937.

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Pistachio Cream

“Creams” were a popular 18th century dessert, similar to a custard or flummery. Nearly every 18th century cookbook I’ve seen contains at least a few recipes for different flavors of cream. This pistachio-flavored version comes from the cookbook of John Farley, who was the head cook at the London Tavern, a popular tavern and meeting place during the 18th and 19th centuries.

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Heart Cakes

These 18th century heart cakes are a variation on queen cakes, which were also often baked in heart-shaped tins. This recipe, from Charlotte Mason’s 1777 book The Lady’s Assistant, spruces up a basic queen cake recipe with the addition of candied orange peel and citron. You could certainly bake them in regular muffin tins, too – but as hearts, they are perfect for Valentine’s Day!

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