Old-fashioned Oat Macaroons

oat macaroons on baking sheet

I’m always looking for cookie recipes that are both easy to make and tasty, so when I saw a recipe for Oat Macaroons in a hundred-year-old cookbook, I decided to give it a try.

The Oat Macaroons contain oatmeal and coconut. They are light and tasty with just the right amount of sweetness. An added bonus is that they are gluten free. This recipe is a winner and I plan to make it again. The would be a wonderful addition to a holiday cookie tray.

Recipe for Oat Macaroons
Good Housekeeping’s Book of Menus, Recipes, and Household Discoveries (1922)

I used butter instead of melted shortening when I made this recipe, and I used quick minute (oatmeal) for the rolled oats.  I also did not mix in order given. I thought that it would be difficult to get the salt, vanilla, cornstarch, and baking powder evenly distributed in the cookie dough if added at the end, so I stirred those ingredients in prior to adding the oatmeal and coconut.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Oat Macaroons

  • Servings: about 30 cookies
  • Difficulty: moderate
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2 eggs

3/4 cup sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon butter, melted

2 cups quick (1 minute) oatmeal

1 cup flake coconut

Preheat oven to 350° F.  Put the eggs, sugar, cornstarch, baking powder, salt, and vanilla  in a mixing bowl; stir. Add melted butter and stir until smooth. Add oatmeal and coconut; stir until combined. Drop heaping teaspoons of the dough on greased baking sheet. As needed, gently press the dough together to create a firm dropped cookie. Place in oven and bake for 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven, wait minute and then remove from baking sheet to wire rack for further cooling.

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Old-fashioned Brussels Sprouts with Cream Sauce

Brussels Sprouts with Cream Sauce in Dish

I often hear friends say that they hated the boiled Brussels sprouts their mother made, but that they now love roasted Brussels sprouts. But I must admit that personally I liked those Brussels sprouts of lore, so was intrigued when I saw a hundred-year-old recipe for Brussels Sprouts with Cream Sauce.

I was pleased with how the recipe turned out. The recipe called for cooking the Brussels Sprouts for 15 minutes, so they were more tender and less crunchy than roasted ones – but I liked them. And, they were lovely when served in a cream sauce.

An aside: One reason Brussels sprouts taste different now than in the past is because of changed cooking methods. Another reason is that plant breeders have developed modern varieties of Brussels sprouts that are less bitter than the old-time varieties.

Here’s the original recipe:

Brussels Sprouts with Cream

Recipe for Brussels Sprouts with Cream
Source: American Cookery (December, 1922)

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Brussels Sprouts

  • Servings: 5 - 7
  • Difficulty: moderate
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1 quart (about 2 pounds) Brussels sprouts

2 quarts water

1 teaspoon salt +1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 cup half and half (or use milk for a lighter sauce)

Wash Brussels sprouts, cut off stems, and remove any wilted leaves. Put into a large saucepan. Cover with the water; add 1 teaspoon salt.  Bring to a boil using high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until the Brussels sprouts are tender, then drain.

In the meantime, in another saucepan, using medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter; stir in the flour, pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Gradually, add the half and half while stirring constantly. Continue stirring until the Cream Sauce thickens. Remove from heat.

To serve: Pour the Cream Sauce over the cooked Brussels sprouts; stir gently to coat the Brussels sprouts with the sauce. Put in bowl and serve.

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Old-fashioned Celery Dressing

Celery Dressing in Bowl

Dressing (or stuffing as I often call it) is one of my favorite parts of the Thanksgiving meal, so when I came across a hundred-year-old recipe for Celery Dressing I decided to give it a try. This recipe makes a bread dressing that is embedded with lots of celery, and is nicely seasoned with sage.

Here’s the original recipe:

Source: Mrs. DeGraf’s Cook Book (1922)

Most times when I make hundred-year-old recipes, I try to follow the recipe as closely as I can, but with this recipe I ended up making several adaptations. When I updated the recipe, I quadrupled it.  The original recipe didn’t make much stuffing.

I used 1-inch soft bread pieces rather than dried bread crumbs.  This recipe called for an awfully lot of butter (3/4 cup of butter for every 2 cups of bread crumbs), so I reduced the amount when updating the recipe. Maybe the very large amount of butter would work if I’d used dried bread crumbs – but even then it seems like it would be too much.

Finally, I didn’t have any onion juice, so instead of using the juice, I used finely chopped onions.

This dressing can be stuffed into a turkey. Addiitonal adaptations may need to be made (such as addiing both or other liquid) if cooked in a casserole dish.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Celery Dressing

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: moderate
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This recipe makes enough for a 9-10 pound turkey.

8 cups 1-inch pieces of bread or bread cubes (I tore bread into small pieces.)

1 cup butter

4 cups chopped celery

4 teaspoons onion juice or 1/2 cup finely chopped onions

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 teaspoons ground sage

Melt butter in a skillet, stir in the celery (and chopped onions, if used). Sauté for 5 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Stir in the salt, pepper, and sage (and onion juice, if used). Pour over the bread pieces and stir to combine. Stuff turkey with the dressing, then roast turkey.

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A “Dry” World?

Advertisement for Hearst's Internation Magazine
Source: Good Housekeeping (Nov. 1922)

Some ideas that seemed promising in 1922 just never happened. The November, 1922 issue of Good Housekeeping had an advertisement for the current issue of another magazine called Hearst’s International Magazine. The ad listed the feature articles, including one article titled “A ‘Dry’ World?”.

Part of advertisement for Hearst's International Magazine
Source: Good Housekeeping (Nov. 1922)

Old-fashioned Coconut Pumpkin Pie

Slice of Coconut Pumpkin Pie

When it comes to planning my Thanksgiving menu I always struggle with getting the right balance between traditional foods and new recipes. New recipes that are variations of traditional foods can be a nice way to strike that balance. I recently came across a new recipe (well, actually a hundred-year-old recipe – but it was new to me) for Coconut Pumpkin Pie, and decided to give it a try.

The coconut gave the pie a lovely milky sweetness that blended nicely with the pumpkin. The recipe called for two spices – nutmeg and cinnamon. My standard pumpkin pie recipe does not use nutmeg, so the flavor was noticeably different from many typical pumpkin pies, but it was lovely. The verdict – this recipe is a keeper and I may make it again for the big day.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Coconut Pumpking Pie
Source: Cement City Cook Book Compiled by the First Baptist Church Alpena, Michigan (1922)

What is the correct way to spell “coconut:”? The old recipe spells it “cocoanut” though I usually see it spelled “coconut,” so I went with the latter spelling when I updated the recipe.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Coconut Pumpkin Pie

  • Servings: 6 - 7
  • Difficulty: moderate
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4 eggs, beaten

1 cup pumpkin puree

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons white sugar

1 tablespoon butter, melted

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 cup shredded coconut

1 9-inch pie shell

Preheat oven to 425° F.  Put the eggs in a mixing bowl; beat until smooth and lemon colored. Add pumpkin, brown sugar, white sugar, butter, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg: beat until combined. Stir in the coconut, and pour into the pie shell. Put into oven and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350° F and continue baking until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

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