almond macaroons

How to Make Macaroons

Back in the 1800s, there were no oven thermometers, so cooks gauged the temperature by placing their hand in the oven and counting the seconds they could hold it there before burning. And some old recipes didn’t even tell you how long to cook a dish. You were just supposed to know through experience. From 1800s Cookbooks: Macaroons must be exempted from the charge of being tedious; they are so easily and quickly made. Take one […]

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Molded Blanc-mange on plate

How to Make Blanc-Mange (Blancmange)

Blancmange is a sweet dessert usually made with milk or cream, sugar, and thickened with gelatin, cornstarch, Irish moss, or isinglass. It’s usually set in a mold, cups, or wine glasses and chilled before serving. In old cookbooks, blancmange was spelled using two words and sometimes with a hyphen in between. Before commercial gelatin was produced, isinglass was used in certain desserts. Isinglass is a form of collagen made from the dried fish bladders of fish. […]

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making rice pudding, recipes

Rice Pudding Recipes

I’ve never eaten rice pudding, although I’ve seen it for sale in grocery stores. Some of these recipes are quite elaborate and time-consuming. INFORMATION BELOW FROM 1800s COOKBOOKS A PLAIN RICE PUDDING
 Swell the rice with a little milk over a fire, then put in acid apples pared and cut in thin slices, or gooseberries and currants. Add a couple of eggs and a teaspoon of salt. Fill your pudding bag half full and boil […]

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gelatine dessert, jello dessert, 1800s recipes

Gelatine Desserts

In 1894, Charles Knox saw all the work his wife had to go through to make gelatin, and decided to find an easier way. Through experimentation, he created a gelatin superior to any others on the market. His gelatin was made into dried sheets and Knox hired salesmen to show women how to use them. In 1896, Rose Knox published Dainty Desserts, a recipe book using Knox gelatin. Then in 1897, Pearle Bixby Wait trademarked […]

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molasses poured from a spoon

Making Candy With Molasses

Molasses (treacle in the U.K.) is a sweetener made from refining sugar cane or sugar beets. I’ve always loved the taste of molasses.  When I was young, my mother sometimes let me taste a spoonful of it.  It was good just like that, but of course, I like it when baked into cookies, too. GLOSSARY: angelica – a plant of the parsley family syrup spins a thread – syrup will form a brittle liquid thread when dropped into […]

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walnut fudge

Making Fudge by Hand

Fudge is expensive when you buy it in candy stores, but it’s easy to make. The hard part is beating the mixture because it gets so thick.  Electric mixers make the job easy for people today, but years ago, fudge was mixed by hand. Candy thermometers became available to household cooks in the early 1900s, but they were expensive.  Prior to that, people determined the temperature of their candy mixtures by dropping a bit of […]

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Christmas / Plum Pudding

How to Make Christmas Plum Pudding

Christmas pudding is sometimes known as plum pudding, although recipes don’t call for plums. In pre-Victorian times, raisins were called plums, and later other dried fruits. Christmas puddings with high alcohol content were often aged for weeks or even months. A sauce was usually poured over the pudding prior to serving. INFORMATION BELOW FROM 1800s COOKBOOKS: CHRISTMAS PLUM PUDDING • 2 cups ground suet • 2 cups bread crumbs • 2 cups flour • 2 […]

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dark fruitcake

Old Fashioned Fruitcake Recipes

Most commercially made fruitcakes are alcohol-free, but traditional fruitcakes usually contained alcohol, both for the flavor and to preserve the cakes for months.  Some people feel fruitcakes improve with age. Back in the 1800s, wood burning stoves didn’t have temperature gauges, and oven temperatures varied based on the type and size wood used. You were supposed to learn how to determine the heat through experience.  Some recipes ignored the oven temperature and others used terms […]

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