One of my Christmas gifts this year was a small 4-½ x 6 inch leather bound book engraved “Cooking Recipes”, purchased at an antique mall in Sugar Creek, Ohio.  The pages are edged in gold and there are 10 index tabs for food categories.  

The real gold in this book, though, is the collection of handwritten recipes.  There aren’t a lot of recipes – just 25, 22 of which are desserts.  The book itself could have been from the 1930s, but I believe the recipes are from the 1945-1950 era.  This is based on a lot of recipes calling for shortening, for using the word “oleo” rather than margarine in most recipes and the attention given to oven temperatures.  I believe it’s post-World War II because of all of the sugar-laden desserts.  

The handwriting is clear and ingredients are listed correctly, although most of the recipes give no idea of how the item is to be prepared, what kind of pan to use or how long to bake.  That’s why I’ve decided to make each of the recipes, using the products specified, and adding my own instructions.  I like to think that the woman from the 1940s kitchen (who would have been about my mother’s age) would enjoy having someone fuss around with these recipes again and turn out some delicious food for the family.

These are big, old-fashioned 3-½ inch diameter filled cookies – perfect for the lunchbox – and one is enough.

I was surprised at how good this cookie is.  It is crunchy, lemon-flavored and delicious with that surprise bite or two of raisin filling in the center.  This cookie was a big hit with my two taster-daughters.

FILLED COOKIES - A 1940s RECIPE

  • Servings: 14 large cookies
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Cookie Dough:

  • ½ cup shortening
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2-¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • ¼ cup milk
  • ½ tsp. lemon flavoring or extract

Filling:

  • ¾ cup raisins
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2-½ tsp. all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup water

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
Lightly grease two cookie sheets

First, prepare the filling:  In a saucepan over medium heat, mix together the raisins, sugar and flour; add water.  Stir until mixture comes to a boil and continue stirring for about 8 minutes until mixture has thickened.  The mixture should look like thick jam.  Let mixture cool while preparing cookies.

To make the cookies:

In a large mixer bowl, cream shortening, sugar and egg.

In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.  Add half of the flour mixture to the creamed mixture and beat to incorporate dry ingredients.  Add the milk, beat to incorporate the milk, then add the remaining flour mixture and lemon flavoring.  Beat until mixed.

On a lightly floured board, roll dough to ¼ inch thickness and cut out with floured 2-½ inch cookie cutter.

Place half of the rounds on a lightly greased cookie sheet, leaving about 2 inches between rounds.  Place 1 teaspoon of raisin filling in the center of the cookie round.

Place another cookie round on top and press edges with a fork to seal and press tines into top of cookie to make 4 small holes..

Repeat with remaining dough/filling.

Bake for approximately 12-14 minutes @ 375 degrees F until the cookies are golden on brown on top and bottom.  Remove cookies to a rack to cool.

Yield about 14 large cookies (3-½ inches diameter).

A 1953 Birthday Gift