Looking for quick and easy old-fashioned cookbooks for baking (or even giving) this holiday season? The ABC series from Peter Pauper Press may have just you are looking for. Peter Pauper Press recently is releasing several of its older titles from the 50s and 60s and I had a chance to read and review these two books perfect for Old School Pastry readers.
The concept for each of the ‘ABC’ cookbooks is simple: provide an alphabetical list of tried-and-true recipes on various topics. The ABC of Desserts and ABC of Cookies each contain many different recipes that were popular at the time of printing. What I enjoyed about reading each of the books is that none of the recipes in the series have been altered or adapted to modern times. Even though the printing is (only) 50 to 60 years ago, some ingredients and procedures called for either aren’t in production or aren’t used used. I’m a food safety stickler, as any parent would be when recreating old recipes, so ensure all raw products are cooked thoroughly before serving them to the youngsters.
Read on for a recipe for Gingersnaps, too.
The ABC of Desserts
Originally published in 1958, there are 64 different recipes covering classics such as Vienna Sacher Torte to recipes that seem modern even today like the Strawberries a la Tsarina. The table of contents list each recipe by name rather than by grouping the recipes into like categories. Just about every recipe was familiar to me, and going through the list of ingredients made me realize modern recipes contain far too many at times. The Pears in Wine recipe contains just a handful of ingredients, and makes the simple dessert seem so elegant because of it; no strange ingredients, just the clove-spiced port wine poaching liquid and the pears. Along with the ingredients, the procedures are straight forward. Ideal book for anyone looking for a recipe that an aunt or a grandmother made when you were a kid, and couldn’t find the recipe anywhere else.
The ABC of Cookies
This fun little cookie book starts out with a poem about enjoying your time baking and ends with one about burning them (XYZut! Chut! and Flut! While my poor head was turned, the oven grew hot, and my cookies were burned!). As with The ABC of Desserts, recipes are listed alphabetically and range from piped cookies using a cookie press to drop cookies. Favorites of mine include the Pecan-Orange Cookies and the spicy Easy Chocolate Bars.
Gingersnap cookies are a household favorite, and I enjoyed this version very much. The recipe is below.
- 2 cups flour, sifted
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ginger
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup molasses
- 1/2 cup bran
- Sift together dry ingredients.
- Mix butter, sugar, molasses, until creamy. Add flour mixture, then bran; mix well.
- Shape into a roll, wrap, chill overnight.
- To bake: Slice dough 1/8 inch thick; place on un-greased cookie sheet. Bake in 375 degree F. oven 10 minutes.
- Yields 5 dozen.
Reprinted with permission from ABC of Cookies, published in 1961 by Peter Pauper Press, Inc., White Plains, New York. www.peterpauper.com. Available as a Kindle edition.
- The ABC of Desserts (Peter Pauper Press Vintage Editions)
- The ABC of Cookies (Peter Pauper Press Vintage Editions)
Disclosure: Both books were provided by the publisher and any opinions are my own.
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