Friday, December 16, 2005

Weekend Cookbook Challenge: Grandmother's Spritz

I was reading My Adventures in the Breadbox and found out about the Weekend Cookbook Challenge over at Something So Clever. I think it is too late to enter my post but what the heck, I'll take a chance and post for this anyways.

Here is the Challenge (abridged version, see the full challenge at the link above): Cook/make something out of your oldest cookbook in your collection. The oldest cookbook in my collection is my Grandmother's copy of the "The Victory Binding of the American Woman's Cook Book: The Wartime Edition"(copyright 1942). I remember my grandmother cooking from this book when I was little and letting me help her stir cakes, cookies, and bring her ingredients from her pantry. I would sit at the table on a stool and look through this book for hours; reading how to set a table, what wines a good hostess would serve with fish and how the true sign of a good wife was the rise in her biscuits. She died when I was 15 and the only thing I wanted was this cookbook. Even today, it still has the little cut out recipes from various ladies magazines and newspapers my Grandmother clipped out and stuck in her favourite cookbook. I am still surprised from time to time when I look at the book and find another recipe with the word "tried" written in her small spiderlike script next to the title.

This edition of the cookbook has a beautiful front piece of petit fours in full colour that I always wanted to bake and a dedication to General MacArthur. My favourite part of the cookbook however is the special section in the back for the Wartime Kitchen with ideas and plans for the women on the homefront to use the most of their food (save every little bit of fat, use the juice from canned vegetables as a pre-dinner cocktail, etc.), recipes for cakes using the syrup from canned fruit for sweetening vs sugar, and a menu plan to feed a family of six on two ration books. I've never been brave enough to try that cake recipe. But, every Christmas, I make the Spritz Cookies from this book(not out of the Wartime section), just like my Grandmother did every Christmas and so, here is "our" recipe from the "Victory" Cookbook.

Spritz Cookies

2 1/2 Cups sifted flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 Cup butter
3/4 Cup sugar
Dash salt
1 egg, unbeaten
1 teaspoon vanilla

Sift flour with baking powder. Cream butter, sugar, and salt. Add egg and vanilla and mix well. Add sifted ingredients in small amounts. Mold with cookie press on cold ungreased baking sheet. Bake in 375 degree or Moderate oven 12 to 15 minutes. Makes 45.

Note: today's ovens cook more efficently. You want to keep an eye on these cookies and when they just start to brown remove them. I find 10 minutes in my oven is normally long enough.