How to Make: New Year’s Cookies

five cookies on a white plate, carraway seeds prominent in each cookie

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Welcome back to another historical recipe post! It’s been a while since I’ve made one of these, but I love them because they are so fun to do. And given that we’re still new in the year, I thought New Year’s Cookies would be a great way to start off. This recipe is one that I’ve been sitting on for a few years, mainly because the original recipe is SO large (quantity-wise). I had to step back and figure out either A) how on earth I was going to mix all the ingredients in a tiny kitchen or B) how to reduce the recipe to a more manageable size.

In the end, it ended up being a little bit of both – I have a larger kitchen now than I did two/three years ago AND I figured out how to reduce the recipe by 1/3.

Even so, the reduced recipe ended up making about three dozen drop cookies. That said, I brought the treats to my coworkers at my day job and the general consensus was positive. One mentioned that they tasted like a sweet rye bread, which reminded her of her childhood and family growing up. Another said they were great with coffee and tea. So, if you’re willing to try something new old… try this recipe and I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

Original New Year’s Cookies Recipe:

1 pound of butter

1 3/4 pounds of sugar

2 teaspoonfuls of saleratus

1 pint of milk

3 eggs

1 grated nutmeg

3 heaping tablespoonfuls of caraway seed

3 pounds of flour

Mix one pound of butter, a pound and three-quarters of sugar, dissolve a couple teaspoonsful of saleratus, in a pint of milk, and turn it on to the butter and sugar when well mixed, beat three eggs to a froth and stir them into the cake, with a grated nutmeg, and three heaping tablespoonsful of caraway seed. Sift three pounds of flour and work into the cake with the hand. Roll them half an inch thick, and bake them immediately in a quick oven.

My version of New Year’s Cookies

2 cups of butter (1/3 portion = 2/3 cup)

3.5 cups of sugar (1/3 portion = 1 cup, 3 tbsps)

2 teaspoons baking soda (1/3 portion = 2/3 tsp)

2 cups milk (1/3 portion = 2/3 cup)

3 eggs (1/3 portion = 1 egg)

3 teaspoons ground nutmeg (1/3 portion = 1 tsp)

3 heaping tablespoons caraway seeds (1/3 portion = 1 heaping tbsp)

11 cups flour (1/3 portion = 3 & 2/3 cups)

Ingredients for New Year's Cookies (clockwise): baking soda, milk, caraway seeds, nutmeg, butter, egg, sugar, flour
Obligatory ingredients picture
  1. Preheat the oven to between 375 degrees Fahrenheit and 400 degrees Fahrenheit. (I preheated my oven to 390 degrees.)
  2. Mix the sugar and butter together thoroughly. (I chopped the butter beforehand to help it mix better.)
  3. Mix the milk (I used 2%) and baking soda together thoroughly.
  4. Once the sugar and butter are blended, add the milk mixture and blend together.
  5. Whisk an egg thoroughly and add to the sugar, butter, milk, and baking soda.
  6. Add the nutmeg and caraway seeds, mixing them thoroughly into the batter.
  7. Add the flour slowly as the dough thickens up.
  8. Scoop the dough onto a silicone mat on a cookie tray.
  9. Cook for 10 minutes or until the edges are slightly brown.
butter and sugar being mixed in a Kitchenaid bowl
Blending the sugar and butter. I don’t know what my ancestors did before KitchenAids were inventing. This thing is worth its weight in gold and it’s heavy.
cookie dough before adding flour. light brownish with darker caraway seeds popping through.
Batter prior to adding the flour. It looks like banana bread dough. Alas, it is not banana bread dough.
cookie dough after flour is added. thicker consistency and paler color.
Batter after the flour was added. More liquidy than I expected, but still solid enough to scoop.

Overall, this wasn’t that hard of a recipe to make, especially after reducing it by 1/3. I tweaked a few things, like making drop cookies as opposed to adding more flour and rolling out the dough. But that made it easier and it was still fun talking to people about the taste, their expectations, and sometimes finding out tidbits about their family history. So I definitely plan on making this again in the future.

Questions? Comments?

Do you have any New Year’s recipes that you like to make? Any favorite recipes involving caraway seeds? Any fun family recipes that are funky or unique? Let me know in the comments! And if you like what you’ve been seeing on Tenacious Genealogy – please subscribe to our email list. Not only will you stay up to date with the latest blog posts, but you’ll also get freebies such as ‘10 Tips For Starting your Genealogy’ and other fun ‘subscriber-only’ items.

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