Raisin Cookies – a 1940s Recipe

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.

This recipe was marked by the author, “My own”.  It’s a very good cookie – lemony and chock-full of raisins – there are a lot of raisins in this cookie.  The outside is crispy and the inside soft.  I liked this cookie very much.


  • Servings: 36 small cookies
  • Print

  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tblsp. milk
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. grated lemon peel
  • 1-½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 2 cups raisins

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
Grease baking sheets

In large mixer bowl, place butter, sugar, egg, milk, lemon juice and lemon peel.  Beat at medium speed for 2 minutes.

In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt.  Add gradually to the butter mixture, beating just enough to blend.

Stir in raisins by hand.

Drop by a level measuring tablespoon onto greased cookie sheets 2 inches apart.

Bake @ 375 degrees F for approximately 10 minutes.  Bottoms should be golden brown and tops light brown.  Remove to a rack to cool.

Makes 36 small cookies. 

Here is how I found the cute 1930s-40s era doll table and chairs.


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Lillian Applegate Westfelt was a mother of 4, grandmother of 6, and great-grandmother of 3. She was an 86-year-old widow living in a nice little bungalow with her oldest daughter and a beagle-dachsund named Addie. She passed away in November, 2018.

7 thoughts on “Raisin Cookies – a 1940s Recipe”

  1. Oh, those look so good! Especially on that adorable table. Another one I need to try. That is such a wonderful book.

  2. Thanks for sharing this recipe! I must try it! Looks like you found a treasure trove of vintage recipes. 😀 Samantha @ foodflavorfascination.wordpress.com

  3. What a beautiful find that little book was, and what a privilege to have that glimpse into another families life. I couldn’t resist spending a bit of time before work, reading a couple of the recipes you recreated. Thank you Lillian.

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