Ammonia Cakes

Ammonia Cakes

Ammonia Cakes: probably the least appetizing cookie name that I’ve ever come across. These cakes use ammonium bicarbonate (baker’s ammonia) as the leavening agent and I assure you that they don’t taste like ammonia, but they will temporarily stink up your kitchen while they bake! Ammonia Cakes fall on the bland side of the cookie spectrum, so I was lucky to find the recipe Icing for Cake in the same recipe book and I iced them the next day.

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Honeycomb, or Roll Gingerbread

Honeycomb, or Roll Gingerbread

I was intrigued by this gingerbread cookie recipe from The Cook's Complete Guide (1810): gingerbread cookies rolled like wafers! The historic recipe instructs us to "bake it gently; when hot cut it in squares, and while warm roll it over a stick, like wafers, till cold". But yet, my gingerbread cookies that I ended up with are flat squares. This is one of those occurrences when a historic recipe doesn't turn out as expected the first time around (they instantly cracked and broke when I tried to bend them). This is a delicious lightly flavoured Lemon Gingersnap, so I recommend it, whether it is rolled or flat.

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Albany Cake

Albany Cake

If a sweet scone and a cookie got married and had a baby, that baby would be Albany Cakes. However you classify Albany Cakes, this sweet bit of bakery with cinnamon and rose water flavours is deelish! This was another recipe that we made at the cooking classes that I taught this autumn at Nelles Manor Museum in Grimsby. Our Albany Cakes recipe comes from The Frugal Housewife's Manual, published in Toronto in 1840, but written by “A.B.”, a mysterious resident of Grimsby who likely would have known the Nelles family.

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Shrewsbury Cake

Shrewsbury Cake

Shrewsbury Cake is one of first recipes that I tested out for the Open Hearth Cooking Classes that I'm teaching at Nelles Manor in Grimsby, Ontario in September. They are crisp & buttery, and the flavour of caraway seeds balances out the sweetness of these cookies. Shrewsbury Cake is from the first English-language cookbook that was both compiled & printed in Canada. The Frugal Housewife's Manual was published in Toronto in 1840, but the cookbook author is credited as “A. B. of Grimsby”. I love this connection to the Nelles family, since they likely would have known the mysterious A. B. who wrote the book.

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Queen's Drops

Queen's Drops

Queen's Drops are a basic sugar & spice cookie with a hint of dried currants. The recipe is found in The Cook Not Mad from 1831, which has the distinction of being the first English-language cookbook to be published in Canada! 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.

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