It’s a cookie kind of day so I’m making Boston Cookies from a recipe contributed by Mrs. J. Cook to the 1906 Berlin Cook Book.
Mrs. Cook’s directions are quite clear. The only missing direction is when to add the baking soda dissolved in hot water. I chose to add it after the eggs were mixed into the batter and before the flour was added. I greased the cookie sheet before dropping teaspoons of dough. They baked for about 15 minutes in an oven preheated to 350 degrees F.
There are several possibilities for Mrs. J. Cook. The 1901 census lists Jacob E. (age 37) and his wife Mary Elizabeth nee Grader (age 35) and their two school age children plus a lodger. At 42 John Cook isn’t married and lives with his widowed mother Louisa and his two sisters. Another possibility is Jonathan (50) and his wife Ellen nee Smith (60). This couple also has their two young adult children living at home. This family’s religion is Anglican and heritage is listed as English. By 1911 Jacob and Mary still have their children at home too. The situation remains the same for Jonathan and Ellen although he is now governor of the jail. The governor’s house can still be seen on Queen street! Their son is a gate man for the Grand Trunk Railway. Jacob and Mary live on Church street and are German Lutherans. Jacob is the fire chief and a building inspector. The daughter is a stenographer in a leather factory and the son is a clerk at the Bank of Toronto. I’m leaning towards Mary Elizabeth Grader as the woman who submitted this recipe simply because her age, religion and heritage matches more closely with many of the contributors.
Mrs. J. Cook’s Boston Cookies are good. This type of cookie seems to have many names. Some people call them hermits and they resemble the rocks and drop cookies previously made this year. This is a good basic recipe if you want to try this style of cookie … and it has a slightly more unusual name. Otherwise, stick with your familiar recipe.
1 cup butter, 1 1/2 cups sugar, 3 eggs, 1 teaspoon soda, dissolved in 1 1/2 tablespoons hot water, 3 1/4 cups flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 cup walnuts, 1/2 cup currants, 1/2 cup raisins. Cream butter and sugar together, add egg well beaten. Sift in flour, salt, cinnamon.Then add, walnuts, raisins and currants chopped fine. Beat well, drop by spoon and bake in moderate oven.