Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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Whipped shortbread

From a class I took at the local recreation centre when I was a preschooler.

1 lbbutter
1 Cicing sugar
1/2 Ccornstarch
3 Cflour
1/2 tvanilla extract

Whip together; drop onto cookie sheet. Bake at 350°F for about 15 minutes.

Rum balls (no bake)

Credited to Joan Dalloway, who was a co-worker of my mother's during the 1970s.

1 1/2 CGraham cracker crumbs
1 Cicing sugar
1 Cchopped walnuts
3 Tcorn syrup
1 1/2 tvanilla extract
4 1/2 Trum

Combine in a bowl and mix well with hands. Form into balls, and refrigerate.

18th Century "gingerbread cakes No. 1"

Adapted from American Cookery by Amelia Simmons, published 1796; as seen in the Townsends YouTube video The Last Meal of Ichabod Crane.

1 lb (≈4 C)flour
3/4 Csugar
2 Tground ginger
1 tground nutmeg
1 tpearlash (see note below)
1 Ccream
2/3 Cbutter

Entirety of the 18th Century instructions: "knead it stiff, shape it to your fancy, bake 15 minutes."

21st Century instructions: Mix together the flour, sugar, ginger, and nutmeg. Start the pearlash dissolving into the cream. Your butter should be chilled. Cut it into little pieces and rub them into the flour mixture. Stir up the cream to make sure the pearlash is fully dissolved, and then mix it and the eggs into the flour mixture. Roll out the dough on a floured surface. Cut with cookie cutter. Put on a baking sheet wtih some space between them for expansion. Bake at 325°F until done - which will be about 15 minutes, but keep watch on them and avoid overcooking.

Note: "pearlash" is potassium carbonate, a primitive leavening agent. You can still obtain this from well-stocked baking-ingredient suppliers, but it may not be easy to find. You can substitute the same quantity of modern baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), which will give fluffier results and will probably taste better (though less authentic) to the present-day palate.

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