February 2, 2015

Historic Recipes for an Historic Event!

by Natalie Waterman, Photo Archivist, MHS Photo Archives

In honor of the Montana Historical Society’s 150th birthday, MHS staff decided to bake four different types of cookies from recipes found within our collection of historic cookbooks; ginger, scotch, spiced and chocolate. We selected recipes from Billings (1914), Butte (1923), and Miles City (1974), Montana. These cookies were available for the public attending the 150th birthday party held Monday, February 2, 2015, in the Capitol rotunda.

In addition to owning over 500 cookbooks in the library, the Society also houses over 19,500 books, pamphlets, and state and federal documents; 2,700 maps; 35,000 linear feet of manuscript materials and over 500,000 vintage photographs. Search our catalog for your topic of interest.

Below are adapted versions of each recipe for the modern baker. Enjoy!




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Ginger Drops
"Methodist Episcopal Church, Ladies Aid Society: Tested Recipes"
Billings, Montana, ca. 1914


Ingredients: 
1 cup molasses
1/2 cup softened butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 cup boiling water
2 eggs
4 cups flour


Directions:
Preheat oven to 350.


Cream together the molasses, butter, brown sugar, and eggs until smooth. Sift together flour, ginger, cloves, and baking soda. Mix together the flour and creamed mixture with wooden spoon until smooth. Add boiling water to the mixture until water has been absorbed into the batter (it will get slightly 'runny' before it comes together).

Drop spoonfuls of the mixture onto a greased cookie sheet, about a half an inch apart.

Bake for 8-10 minutes.
 
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Scotch Cookies
"St. John’s Guild Cook Book"
Butte, Montana, 1923
                                      
Ingredients:                                  
1/2 cup softened butter                  
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
4 tablespoons cinnamon
2 cups flour

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375. 
 

Cream together the butter, eggs and sugar until smooth. Sift together the cinnamon and flour.

Add the flour mixture to the cream mixture; mix with wooden spoon. Place batter in the refrigerator for two hours.

Roll out dough on a floured surface until 1/4 inch thick. Cut out cookies.

Bake in oven for 8-10 minutes or until the cookies have lightened to a golden color and are softer at the center and crisper towards the edges.

 
 
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Spiced Cookies
"St. John’s Guild Cook Book"
Butte, Montana, 1923

 
Ingredients:
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour milk
1 3/4 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1 cup raisins
1 cup oatmeal
 
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350.

Cream together the butter, sugar, and eggs until smooth. Sift dry ingredients together; add chopped raisins and oatmeal. Add dry ingredients to the creamed mixture and mix with a wooden spoon; pour sour milk into batter and stir until smooth.

Drop small spoonfuls of batter onto a greased cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes, or until cookies turn light brown.

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Aunt Sally’s Cocoa Drops
"Grandma’s Favorite Recipes: Early Ways in Early Days of Preserving Food"
Miles City, Montana, 1974
 
                                          

                                    
Ingredients: 
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup buttermilk or sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cocoa
*1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
       *not added for the public event



Directions:
Mix thoroughly butter, sugar, eggs; stir in buttermilk or sour cream and vanilla. Sift dry ingredients together and stir. Add nuts, if desired. Chill 1 hour.

Heat oven to 400. Drop with teaspoon, 2" apart onto lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes. Cool and frost with your favorite icing.



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