The Ladies' Tea Guild

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

"How To Keep Warm In Winter": Bake Cinnamon Biscuits.

image from Grandma's Graphics.
I have been wanting to experiment with some Italian cookie recipes -- using wine as a flavoring -- and create a cookie in between the hard and crunchy cookies meant for dunking in coffee (as Italian cookies tend to be), and spicy gingerbread. A cookie that is slightly spicy and firm enough to roll and cut into shapes, but not tooth-breakingly hard and dry. Below is a vintage recipe that I found in the May or June 1860 issues of Godey's Lady's book, that I will be working with.

Cinnamon Biscuits
"Half a pound of dry flour, one pound of lump sugar finely sifted, one pound of butter, powdered cinnamon to taste; the whole to be mixed with a glass of brandy or rum, then rolled very thin, and baked in a quick oven." Original wording from Godey’s.

2 cups white flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1 lb. butter
powdered cinnamon to taste
¼ to ½ cup brandy or rum
Mix all ingredients except brandy or rum; add liquor gradually to make a stiff dough. Roll the dough thinly, then bake at around 450 degrees F.
-- from Godey’s Lady’s Book, June or May 1860.

I will be using honey for half of the sweetening, and hopefully it will help soften the texture. I will also be dividing the spices between cinnamon, ground anise seed, and orange zest, and I'll be using marsala wine and orange flower water for the liquid. I hope it works!

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Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,
Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round,
And, while the bubbling and loud-hissing urn
Throws up a steamy column, and the cups
That cheer but not inebriate, wait on each,
So let us welcome peaceful evening in.
-- William Cowper (1731-1800)
"The Winter Evening" (Book Four), _The Task_ (1784)