|Sales ad, 1931.|
I mentioned before how much I love Newspapers.com for searching recipes, but I didn't mention that it doesn't always work out the way you'd expect. Take searching for vanilla wafer recipes. My search, unless I wanted to page through thousands of hits, yielded not a single recipe. All were ads. I tried looking for some recipes in the 1800s, but to no avail. Clearly Newspapers.com was unable to handle the request. They really need to improve their search abilities, but that's another post.
Instead, this time, I had to take to public domain books, namely cookbooks. The problem with Project Gutenberg is that it doesn't search well for the contents of the book. Google does okay searches in its Books product, but it doesn't search as well as it could. I specify public domain free books and it gives me something written last year, which is copyrighted. Seriously Google?
In any case, I found one recipe that amused me tremendously. It's in the Large Families chapter of Mrs. Owens' New Cookbook, pg. 72 (or Google's pg. 78; from here on out, the number in parenthesis after a pg. number will be Google's pg. number). She must be talking a tremendously large family because her recipe calls for a whopping 3 lbs. of flour! Then the very next recipe is also vanilla wafers, but adds "large recipe". Wow. I'd hate to think what 3 lbs. of flour is if it isn't large. The "large" recipe called for 6 lbs.
Well, obviously I don't need to make that many. Jiminy, that's a lot of cookies. Even if I divide that recipe, it's still huge. I decided to continue my search. I then found a really good book, from 1902, that actually had photos of her recipe for rolled wafers, which are not exactly the right kind of cookie. Still, it was excellent sounding recipe with an enormous amount of variations.
That recipe came from Mrs. Rorer's New Cook Book: A Manual of Housekeeping, pg. 622 (698). It has your basic rolled butter wafer, but additions such as the vanilla wafer, chocolate wafer, rose wafer, orange wafer and many others. The photo is on pg. 620.5 (695).
I found a mess of other books too, but finally came to one that had the smaller quantity needed, that sounded reasonable and was not rolled; I was surprised by the number of rolled cookies. The one I liked best was published in 1921 and titled The Boston Cooking-school Cook Book, by none other than our beloved Fannie Farmer. It's found on pg., 487 (531). It refers to using instructions from a ginger snap recipe on pg. 485 (529).
I guess that's the one I'll go with. Off to bake and bake! :)
| 1/3 c. butter
1/3 c. lard (or shortening)
1 c. sugar
1 egg, well beaten
1/4 c. milk
|2 c. flour
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
2 t. vanilla extract
Well I hope you enjoy them. I'm fairly certain I will. Have a great day everyone!
- Images graciously provided by Newspapers.com, and used by permission.