Boiled Raisin Cake – a 1940s Recipe

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One of my Christmas gifts in 2011 was a small 4-½ x 6 inch leather bound book engraved “Cooking Recipes”, purchased 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.  There is also a page where a child scrawled – Mama probably wasn’t too happy with that.  

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 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 cake was new to me and since no directions were given with the recipe, I checked out the internet and found it appears to have been a favorite cake of a lot of people.  It’s a rather plain cake – I made half of the recipe and added a glaze which many on the internet remembered their grandma adding to the cake.  I would consider this a lunch or supper cake – satisfying but not too rich.

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BOILED RAISIN CAKE - A 1940s RECIPE

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup hot water
  • ¼ cup shortening
  • ¼ cup oleo (margarine)
  • ½ cup raisins
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1-¾ cups all-purpose flour

GLAZE

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • Approx. 2 Tblsp. Milk

Grease and flour a 9-inch loaf pan
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

In a large saucepan, place sugar, hot water, shortening, margarine, raisins, cinnamon and salt.  Bring to a boil over medium heat and boil for one minute longer.
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Remove from heat and immediately stir in baking soda – it will foam up.  Allow to cool.

When cool, add flour and beat for 2 minutes by hand right in the pan.

Pour into a greased and floured 9-inch loaf pan and bake @ 350 degrees F for approximately 50-55 minutes or until a tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.  Let set in the pan on a rack for 5 minutes.

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Loosen sides and remove from pan to continue cooling on rack.

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Mix together the powdered sugar, cinnamon and milk to make a thick glaze.  When cake is cool, spoon glaze over top and allow to drizzle down the sides of the cake.

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Makes one 9-inch loaf cake

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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.

RAISIN COOKIES - A 1940s RECIPE

  • Servings: 36 small cookies
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  • 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.

https://lillianscupboard.wordpress.com/2012/09/22/look-what-i-just-found-at-the-antique-mall/

Raisin Crisscross Cookies

I found this recipe in a publication I subscribed to in the 1980s called Blue Ribbon Gazette, a collection of prize winners from county and state fairs around the country.

RAISIN CRISSCROSS COOKIES

  • Servings: Approx. 3 doz. cookies
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  • 1/2 cup margarine (Imperial)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. lemon extract
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup raisins

Preheat oven  @ 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, thoroughly mix margarine, sugar, egg and lemon extract.  In a medium bowl, blend flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt.  Add gradually to the margarine mixture.  Stir in raisins.

Roll into 1″ balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet about 2″ apart.  Flatten with a fork dipped in flour, making a crisscross design.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree  F oven for about 8 minutes until cookies are light golden brown on the bottom and at the very edges.  Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Yield:  Approximately 3 dozen cookies 

Notes from my recipe binder:  “7/3/88 – Excellent, very lemony.  Don’t double recipe, don’t overbake.  I entered in Hamilton County Fair (Cincinnati) 1988.  I had a batch made up for the fair in the freezer and after sampling, the two girls wound up eating them all and I had to make some more for the fair.”

I don’t believe the cookies won anything at the fair, but the family likes them.

Wintertime Fruit Drops

My youngest daughter is a busy stay-at-home mom who always finds time to get together with me on Fridays for lunch.  I try to make meals that are tasty, quick and easy, and reduced in fat and calories.  Here is the meal we had this week.

I developed this recipe in the early 1980s to enter in an Archway Cookie contest at the Ohio State Fair.  I didn’t win, but the family liked this soft cookie with all kinds of healthy ingredients and not too bad for a dieter.

WINTERTIME FRUIT DROPS

  • Servings: Approx. 2 doz. cookies
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  • 1/2 water
  • 1/3 cup snipped dried apricots
  • 1/3 cup snipped prunes
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup softened butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small saucepan, heat the water until boiling.  Remove from heat and add apricots, prunes and raisins.  Stir and allow mixture to stand for 15 minutes.  Drain and set aside.

In a large mixer bowl, cream brown sugar and butter, add egg and lemon extract.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.  Add to brown sugar mixture and beat until blended.  Stir in drained dried fruit and chopped nuts.

Drop by a level measuring tablespoon onto ungreased cookie sheets, leaving 2″ between each cookie.

Bake @ 350 degrees F for 8-10 minutes until cookies are golden brown.  Cool on a rack.

Yield:  Approximately 2 dozen cookies 

Nutrition per Diet Power software based on 24 cookies:  One cookie = 88 calories, 3.27 g fat, 15.2 mg cholesterol, 25.1 mg sodium, 85.1 mg potassium, 14.1 g carbohydrate, 0.659 g dietary fiber, 1.4 g protein

Weight Watchers Points based on 24 cookies:  2 points per cookie

For our entree today, we had an old favorite – Mom’s Tuna Melts (see recipe here).

This week, we were joined by my oldest daughter and the three of us enjoyed a reduced calorie/fat lunch with a lot of good flavor.

Spicy Honey Raisin Yeast Bread

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What can you serve for a beautiful weekend morning breakfast that is a little bit different from what is too quickly eaten on weekdays?  How about a slice of this fragrant loaf of bread, studded with plump raisins, and slathered with butter?  After all, we can splurge on the weekends, can’t we?  Take time to really read the newspaper or a good book, have the coffee nice and hot, and relax for just a little while.

SPICY HONEY RAISIN BREAD

  • Servings: One 9-inch or two 7-inch loaves
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1 pkg fast-rising dry yeast

1 tsp. salt

4 to 5 cups all-purpose flour, divided

1 cup milk, heated to 110 degrees F

1 egg, room temperature

1/2 cup honey

2-1/4 tsp. ground coriander

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp. ground cloves

1/4 cup melted butter or margarine

1 cup raisins

In large bowl of electric mixer, with regular beater, place yeast, salt and two cups of flour.  Add heated milk and beat at medium speed for 3 minutes.  Add egg, honey, spices and butter/margarine – beat to mix.  Insert dough hook and add remaining flour, a half-cup or so at a time, beating for a total of 6 minutes.  Enough flour should be added as you beat to keep dough from being sticky.  Put dough on floured surface and hand-knead raisins in, about 1/4 cup at a time.  Place in greased bowl and cover – let rise in warm place for 30 minutes.

Punch down dough and divide between two 7 inch, greased bread pans.  Cover and let rise 30 minutes.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Bake @ 375 degrees F for approximately 45 minutes.  Remove from pans and cool on rack.

Note:  Can also be baked in one 9 inch greased loaf pan for approximately 45 minutes.

Yield:  One 9 inch or two 7 inch loaves