I’ve been away all day today and on the way back home I was trying decide what I would make tonight. I mentioned it in the car and my god-daughter (just back from university) suggested cookies. She confirmed something I’d been thinking about already … sugar cookies. I’d washed up the cutters yesterday just in case they were needed.
I think sugar cookies were probably the first Christmas cookie I ever ate and they were certainly the first ones I ever helped make as a child. They provide so much scope for a child’s (and adult’s) imagination with the cutting and decorating. Plus the taste is just plain enough to appeal to a child. The 1906 Berlin Cook Book has two sugar cookie recipes and I made one early in April. Today I’m making Mrs. Chas. Adloff’s Sugar Cookie recipe.
I creamed the butter and sugar and added the eggs. I didn’t have any milk so I replaced the sour milk with buttermilk. I added the baking soda and used four cups of flour to get a reasonable cookie dough. I still had to flour everything before rolling out the dough. I only used a small amount of dough since in the rotation of my kitchens I seem to have misplaced my rolling-pin. I had to use a little toy pin instead of climbing two flights of stairs to search for my regular rolling-pin in the other kitchen. I’ll add more flour before I bake the rest of the cookies.
I used three different cutters, a tree – very traditional, a heart – traditional, and a pig! You might not expect a pig but animal shaped cookies were common as Christmas tree decorations in the late 19th century. Does anyone know why the pig is associated with Christmas for some Germans? I see a lot of marzipan pigs at Christmas time in the German stores here.
I put the cookies on a greased cookie sheet and decorated one tree with some silver balls and sprinkled red sugar on the heart. I baked them at 350 F. for 7 minutes. At least I intended to bake them for 7 minutes but I got distracted and the cookies baked a little too brown. They should be a bit paler than illustrated but they still looked good enough to eat.
Sophia Hopp was the second wife for Charles Adloff and she became a step mother to his 15-year-old daughter at the same time. Sophia also ended up with her mother in law in their home.
These are the basic type of sugar cookie. My shapes are a bit blobby since they expanded more as they baked than I expected. They taste fine, not exciting, but fine. I like adding lemon zest to sugar cookies or even vanilla or another flavour. Of course, if you cover them in colourful icing then the cookie base doesn’t matter much to children … except as a vehicle for getting the most icing and decorations into their mouths.
Mrs. Chas. Adloff
1 1/2 cups sugar, 2 eggs, 1 teaspoon soda, 1 cup butter, 1/2 cup sour milk. Mix with flour just so you can roll. Then sprinkle with sugar and bake.