Queen's Drops

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You'll find this recipe in:
The Cook Not Mad
Kingston, Ontario
1831

Original Recipe:

No. 162. Queen's Drops
One pound of sifted sugar, one pound flour, one of butter, quarter of a pound of currants, any agreeable spice, put drops on a tin about as large as a dollar, sift on sugar, to be baked quickly.

My Recipe:

2 cups softened butter (1 lb) - 450 g
2 cups sugar (I used brown) – 450 g
2 ¾ cups flour – 450 g
¾ cup dried currants – 225 g
white sugar to sift on top

Spices:
I've used 2 tsp cinnamon & 1 tsp nutmeg in the past and loved it!
This time, I tried this very delicious spice combo:
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp nutmeg
a few shakes of allspice

1) Preheat your oven to 350F/175C. Cream the sugar and softened butter together, then add in the currants & spice, and once mixed, stir in the flour.

2) Form the dough into balls and place onto cookie sheets. The cookies will spread a fair bit while they're being baked, so be sure to give them space. For kicks, I followed the historic recipe's direction to make these balls "about as large as a dollar". Our Canadian $1 coin, the "Loonie", is about 2.5 cm/1" in diameter, so that's what I aimed for. I ended up with nicely sized cookies!

3) Before you pop your cookie sheet into the oven, sprinkle some white sugar on top of each cookie. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the cookies are golden on the bottom and will move easily when shifted with a lifter. This recipe makes about 5 – 6 dozen cookies.

 The "LOONIE: if my childhood memory is accurate, the name came from a) the obvious fact that the bird depicted is a Loon, but also b) that many people thought replacing the dollar bill with a coin was ludicrous!

The "LOONIE: if my childhood memory is accurate, the name came from a) the obvious fact that the bird depicted is a Loon, but also b) that many people thought replacing the dollar bill with a coin was ludicrous!

Queen's Drops is my favourite historic cookie, so of course I've picked Queen's Drops as the inaugural cookie recipe on my blog! I've brought the recipe with me as I moved from historic house museum to historic house museum. The first time I made this recipe in my new historic kitchen, word spread to the Curator's office. Our Curator would never try the food, but would venture into the kitchen sometimes to critique how we were displaying the dishes. This day, when he came to kitchen, he said: "I hear you're making Queen's Drops" and after he ate one, gave the cookie a glowing review of being "Not bad".

Queen's Drops are found in The Cook Not Mad (possibly the best cookbook title ever), and the author of this cookbook remains anonymous to this day. It was first published in 1830 in Watertown, NY, and was reprinted the following year as well by the same publisher. The Cook Not Mad was also published across the border in 1831 in Kingston, Upper Canada (Ontario), giving it the distinction of being the first English-language cookbook to be published in Canada! The content in the Canadian version of The Cook Not Mad is identical to the original, with only the word "American" changed to "Canadian".

Queen's Drops are a basic sugar & spice cookie with a hint of dried currants. They are delicious with both white or brown sugar, but I prefer the extra flavour that comes with using brown. The dried currants provide little intense sweet flavour pops, and our recipe suggests using "any agreeable spice", so feel free to customize and add your favourite baking spices.

If you're wondering why Queen's Drops feature dried currants instead of chocolate chips, that's because our Queen's Drops recipe was published in the 1830s, and Chocolate Chip Cookies didn't come into being until the 1930s! In the 1830s, if you told someone that you were serving "Chocolate", they would probably automatically know that you were serving a hot chocolate beverage. The origin story of the Chocolate Chip Cookie is an interesting one, so I'm sure I'll do a post about it someday.

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Read the Cookbook:

1931 Canadian The Cook Not Mad:

A more readable scan of the 1831 American The Cook Not Mad: