I was able to make today’s recipe for Sugar Cookies because my friend Roberta loaned me her kitchen and the supplies in her 1906 home. We’ve been friends for many years and I suspect that the women who initiated the 1906 Berlin Cook Book were friends too. This recipe was submitted by Mrs. Ed. Heller.
This is a different sort of sugar cookie as it uses sour cream instead of eggs and is flavoured with caraway seed. I creamed the butter and sugar and then added the sour cream. I used modern commercial sour cream. I think Mrs. Heller would have been using cream that had gone sour, something that doesn’t happen in the same way today with pasteurization. I added the caraway seed and baking soda. I used 2 1/2 cups of flour. I rolled out the cookie dough and used a juice glass to cut out the cookies. I decided to keep the cookies a little thick but they could be rolled out thinner for a crisp cookie. I baked them on a greased cookie sheet for 10 minutes at 350 degrees F.
Mrs. Ed. Heller’s daughter Edna contributed another cookie recipe. The mother’s name is Ottilie and father is Edward. The couple is in their thirties in 1901. They have a 21-year-old female lodger too. By the 1911 census Mrs. Ed Heller’s first name is listed as Ottulia G. Daughter Edna is still living with them just up the street from where I will sleep tonight! Although I didn’t know this when I picked the recipe, the Hellers lived at 57 Ellen Street and I am staying at the Claddagh House B & B at 22 Ellen Street. Mr. Heller was a grocer/merchant while daughter Edna was a saleslady in a store. The family was German Lutheran. Ottilie had emigrated from Germany in her late 20s.
My taster decided she needed another cookie “just to be sure”. A teen taster declared them good and he’s a picky eater. There is a slight hint of soda. They go nicely with tea and would be a good place to start for a modern cook. Caraway seed is one of the ingredients we don’t seem to use much any more but should be revived. It is a basic cookie but not too sweet and the sour cream and caraway make them a little different then the usual sugar cookie. Caraway is found in some German foods so perhaps these cookies are an adaptation Mrs. Heller created herself? Give these cookies a try if you are adventurous or like caraway.
1 cup sugar, 1 cup butter, 1 cup sour cream, 1 teaspoon soda, 1 teaspoon carraway [sic] and flour to suit. Roll out and bake.