I have family coming this weekend so I decided to make some cookies using a recipe in the 1906 Berlin Cook Book. I selected Mrs. H. Graber’s recipe for Hermits.
I creamed butter and sugar and then added the eggs. I added the spices next and then the raisins and citron and about two cups of flour.
Modern raisins don’t require as much preparation as those available in 1906. Today our raisins are seedless and well cleaned. Raisins should be chopped to replicate the look of the early 20th century. Citron is another ingredient requiring far less preparation today. We buy a little plastic dish of cubes of citron and perhaps rinse off the syrupy coating. In the past citron came as a candied section of citron — either the citrus fruit called a citron — or the cheaper home-grown variety called the citron melon. Most citron available today is made from the citron melon. This chunk of candied citron had to be chopped into the size needed for baking. I was able to buy citron in this form in an Italian baking supply store in Boston around Christmas.
Once all the ingredients were mixed I dropped the cookie dough on a greased baking sheet. Yes, I know I was supposed to roll and cut the dough but regular readers know that is my least favourite part of cookie making. I baked the cookies for 11 minutes at 350 degrees F.
Mrs. H. Graber is probably 43-year-old Louisa (Elizabeth) Hopp, wife of 47-year-old Henry Graber. There is a remote possibility it is their daughter in law Laura Henrietta Bornhold since she married their son Harvey John Graber at some point. However, I don’t know when they married and they would be quite young (Laura’s 18 and Harvey is 17) to be married by 1906. Mr. Henry Graber is an ironer in a shirt factory. See day 84 (Marble Cake) for even more on the Graber family. Louisa is also connected to other contributors since she was a Hopp before marriage. Soon I will have enough information to start linking more of the women involved with the Berlin Cook Book.
I wasn’t sure what to expect with these cookies. They don’t contain leavening such as baking soda or baking powder. I liked them. They had the crispy edges I like and then a softer centre. I enjoyed the combination of raisins and citron but it won’t appeal to everyone although my in house taster says they are “nice”.
3 eggs, 1 cup butter, 1 1/2 cups sugar, 1 cup of seeded chopped raisins, a very little citron, chopped fine, 1 teaspoon each of cloves, allspice, flour enough to roll. Cut round.