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1946 Christmas Cookies Booklet: Wisconsin Electric Power Co.

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Cropped portion of the cover of this 1946 Christmas cookies booklet

Cropped portion of the cover of this 1946 Christmas cookies booklet

In this vintage 1946 Christmas cookies booklet from the Wisconsin Electric Power Company, their home service bureau offered 185 recipes in their 6th edition publication.

Seventeen of those recipes were for fruit cakes and loaves of bread. Six were pudding recipes, and the rest were a preponderance of cookie recipes.

I will share some of the cookie recipes that were baked and shared with our willing panel of taste testers out of this booklet. People will get to view photos of the cookies and notations of mine relative to each of the recipes.

  1. Sour Cream Raisin Drops
  2. Nesselrode Cookies
  3. Chocolate Pecan Wafers
  4. Lemon Snaps
  5. Gold Cookies

Well-Loved Holiday Recipes

From the spattered pages, I can tell that this was a well-used volume of recipes used by my grandmother and kept by my mother. On page one of this vintage booklet are suggestions and general directions for making and baking these recipes. A table of weights and approximate measurements is also helpful for the home cook, as seen in the photos above.

The categories of cookies include drop cookies, rolled, refrigerator, squares and strips, and some under the category titled miscellaneous. Unlike some Christmas cookies decorated with icing, sprinkles, and the like, these cookies are relatively plain.

Only one person on our taste test panel thought these recipes were not sweet enough. Most others thought that this was a plus. Perhaps home cooks used to rationing during the war years got used to using less sugar in their recipes. This comment is mere speculation on my part. The 1940s brought about many changes in the United States. My parents were a part of that "Greatest Generation."

Sour Cream Raisin Drops Cookies

Sour Cream Raisin Drops Cookies

1. Sour Cream Raisin Drops

The cake flour called for in this drop cookie recipe results in a very light and soft texture. This recipe makes about three dozen delicately flavored cookies.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup seedless raisins
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

Instructions

  1. Cream the shortening and sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the egg, vanilla, and raisins.
  3. Sift the dry ingredients.
  4. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the sour cream to the raisin mixture.
  5. Drop by teaspoonfuls on greased cookie sheet.
  6. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit 10 to 12 minutes.

2. Nesselrode Cookies

The word "Nesselrode" sparked my interest. In addition to meaning a mixture of nuts, preserved fruits, etc., used in various desserts, the word origin comes from a Russian diplomat and statesman (Karl Robert Vasilyevich, Count Nesselrode). If interested, you can read more about Nesselrode's part in history by clicking on his name in the sources at the bottom of this page.

Nesselrode drop cookies are soft because of the use of cake flour. The recipe calls for finely cut mixed glazed fruit such as pineapple, citron, and cherries. Not being able to find citron, I utilized dried pineapple and cherries.

Citron is not easily attainable in our Houston grocery stores. According to various sources, citron is a precursor to most other citrus fruits. It has little pulp, primarily possessing a thick, fragrant rind. People use citron rind in fragrances, food, medicine, and even certain religious ceremonies.

You can expect to have about 3 1/2 dozen cookies using this recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tablespoon brandy
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup mixed glazed fruit (pineapple, citron, cherries), finely cut
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Instructions

  1. Cream the butter, add the brown sugar, and blend well.
  2. Add the egg and brandy, beat well.
  3. Soft the dry ingredients and combine with the fruit and nuts. Add to the creamed mixture blending it together.
  4. Drop from teaspoon about 2 inches apart on well greased cookie sheet.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit about 15 to 18 minutes.
Chocolate Pecan Wafers

Chocolate Pecan Wafers

3. Chocolate Pecan Wafers

This rolled cookie recipe says that it makes about seven dozen. Using a small cookie cutter, I made many more than that amount. The size of the cookie cutter makes a difference.

As noted in the recipe, this dough must be very well chilled, as the dough is very soft and otherwise hard to handle. Keep most of the dough refrigerated and only roll out a small amount at a time.

Our chocolate-loving friends on our taste test panel all liked this one.

Ingredients

  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup bread flour
  • 3/4 cup pecans, finely chopped

Instructions

  1. Melt the chocolate and let it cool slightly.
  2. Cream the softened butter, then add the salt, vanilla and sugar blending well.
  3. Add the eggs and beat until light and fluffy.
  4. Add the melted chocolate, flour and nuts to the batter, mixing it well.
  5. Refrigerate the batter until well chilled.
  6. When chilled, roll thin and cut with a cookie cutter.
  7. Place on an oiled cookie sheet and bake at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 12 to 15 minutes.

4. Lemon Snaps

Many of our friends who tasted this cookie thought it was perfect to accompany a cup of tea in the afternoon. It is very firm with a subtle lemony flavor, and the recipe makes about seven dozen cookies.

Before baking this cookie, the printed instructions say to brush the surface with cold water. It supposedly makes a cracked surface. I did not see that result when I baked these lemon snaps, so I have omitted that in the instructions below.

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 additional egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon rind, grated
  • 2 1/4 cups bread flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Cream the butter, add the sugar, and blend well.
  2. Add the egg and egg yolk, lemon juice, and lemon rind. Beat until light and fluffy.
  3. Sift the dry ingredients and add to the creamed mixture and mix thoroughly.
  4. Place in refrigerator to chill.
  5. When well chilled, roll thin and cut with a round cookie cutter. (Work with a small portion of dough at a time.)
  6. Place on an oiled cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for about 12 to 15 minutes.

5. Gold Cookies

What makes these gold cookies a bit unusual is that the chopped nuts and cinnamon are on the cookie exterior. The printed recipe said to expect about five dozen cookies, but I only got three dozen. The name probably originated from the golden yellow color stemming from the use of egg yolks. They are crunchy and delicious.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cups nuts, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Cream the butter, add the sugar, and blend thoroughly.
  2. Add the egg yolks and mix well, then add the vanilla.
  3. Sift the dry ingredients and add to the creamed mixture. Mix well.
  4. Mix the chopped nuts and cinnamon.
  5. Form the dough into small balls about the size of a walnut. Roll in the nut and cinnamon mixture.
  6. Place the balls three inches apart on a greased cookie sheet.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 12 to 15 minutes.

Cookies are known around the world as biscuits, keks, teacakes and biscotti, and everyone has a favorite.

— Jean Pare

Sources

© 2022 Peggy Woods