Monday, February 21, 2011
A President's Day Cookie!
As I have said you probably gathered, I like to cook. I love cookbooks and found this fun cookbook called: "Presidential Cookies" by Bev Young. It is a colorful cookbook, which appeals to me, and it gives the favorite cookie of each president and the background of why each of our presidents liked a certain cookie plus tidbits info about each president.
I thought in honor of President's Day I would post President George Washington's favorite cookie. He actually has two listed: Shrewsbury Cakes* and Jumbals. Both sounded really good but Shrewsbury are more like a scone and that is my vice. :)
*The origins of the Shrewsbury Cakes dates back to English recipe more than 400 years old. Also called: Shrowsbury Cakes.
For starters, I will focus on the cookie and for those who want a behind the scenes of George Washington's favorite cookie, you can read on!
1/2 cup soft butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup sugar (I used raw sugar)
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg (beaten)
2 Tbs. milk
2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour (I used pastry flour: click here)
About 1 cup dried fruit (tart dried cherries, apricots, or currants) chopped.
Preheat oven 350 degrees. Cream butter with sugar. Add vanilla, salt, egg, and milk. Blend. Add flour. Mix in dried fruit. Chill dough about one hour. Use a small cookie scoop to form small rounds. Place rounds on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for about 12 minutes. Cool on rack. Makes 3 dozen cakes.
They are called cakes but really it is a small cookie like scone.
So what is the story behind the cookie?
George Washington and his wife, Martha, known as Lady Washington, established the first presidential entertainment traditions with their teas, receptions, and banquets
In 1790, New Year's Day fell on Friday, the day of Lady Washington's weekly receptions. To celebrate the holiday, the Washingtons combined two receptions that week, holding them both on New Year's Day from twelve o'clock to three in the afternoon.
At this first New Year's Day celebration, the Washingtons served cookie and cakes. It was thought these special cookies were served because Martha Washington's "receipt" (the word used for recipe during her era)was found with her personal artifacts and known for as her favorite.
A touching story behind Martha Washington: Lady Washington traveled in bitter weather during the Revolutionary War to be with her husband each winter. This doesn't sound too big of a deal until you remember how hard it was to travel especially as a woman in the harsh winters. I don't think I would do well in a unheated buggy traveling over rough roads. Burrr. She demonstrated true love.
Since Abraham Lincoln is always featured during President Day, I thought I would pass on his favorite cookie: Ginger Bread Men Cookies and a Macaroon Cookie covered with dried fruit.