Old-fashioned Baking: Basic Cookie Recipes

In the olden days baking was not a fancy activity, nor it was anyone’s hobby. Baking was a part of everyday family life, a necessity, via what they created food for the table. Children learnt to bake from the matriarchs of the families, mothers, grandmothers, aunties and so on…Baking knowledge was given by allowing children to watch, smell, taste, simply be around, and play with a piece of dropped or leftover dough. This type of knowledge, being based on a naturally multi-sensory approach, became engraved in people’s soul.
In the preparation for significant festive events and family celebrations like Halloween or Christmas, baking creates a relaxed, happy environment. It is creative, it is social and it provides the greatest opportunities to learn for children of different ages. One of the old-fashioned kitchen secrets to successful baking is to have a basic cookie recipe that is quick, simple, can be adjusted with many different additional ingredients. Great- grandmothers of today’s young generation still own those recipes that almost never fail to deliver tasty and healthy treats. Sharing together (memories and cookies) as a final outcome is the best, most rewarding part of the activity.

“[Kids] don’t remember what you try to teach them. They remember what you are.” Jim Henson


“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” William Arthur Ward


“I never teach my pupils, I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.”  Albert Einstein

Basic Cookie Recipe

115 g butter
60 g caster sugar
140 g plain flour
ground mixed spices/finely grated zest of orange or lemon/dried edible flower petals (optional)

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C. Cream the butter in a large bowl or in a food mixer until soft and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat until the mixture is pale. Sift in the flour and spices or grated zest (if using) and bring the mixture together to form a firm dough. Using hands, roll the dough into walnut-sized balls and place them slightly apart on a lined baking tray. Flatten them slightly with the back of a damp fork (chill at this point for perfect result) and bake in the oven for 13-15 minutes, or until they are light golden brown and slightly firm on top. Cool the cookies to a wire rack to cool.

My Mummy’s 3-2-1 Linzer Cookie

Mix 300 g flour (hence the ‘3’), 200 g butter (meaning ‘2’) and 100 g sugar (there is the ‘1’) with 1 egg yolk (and another ‘1’) and the zest of 1 lemon (and ‘1’ more). Chill for an hour (last ‘1’), then roll and cut is as desired. Bake in 170 dgerees C oven for about 10-15 minutes (should be white and soft when leaving the oven).. Let it cool (it firms up) ..creates the perfect Jammy Dodger base!!!

“There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.”  Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

8 thoughts on “Old-fashioned Baking: Basic Cookie Recipes

  1. One of the best memories that replayed itself every holiday season was my Mom baking…and how good it smelled all the time. The quotes you have are great, especially: “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” Continue with your inspiration 🙂

    • Dear Randall, I am always really happy when I happen to trigger your memories to reach the forefront of you thinking! The remembrance you mention is my most beloved childhood Christmas image too. Luckily, I still experience it at every holiday season, with my mum, auntie, sisters and nieces (when we are literally baking for 3 days and 3 nights)…and I live it every day with the children whose lives I am lucky to touch upon. My best ever conversation with a four-years-old child started with the following sentences: “I just want to bite you…(pause). You smell like cake.”…I guess, I do! J. XXX

    • Thank you very much for your kind word 😉 I believe the recipe is originally German/Austrian and it is called Linzer biscuit in Hungary.The Linzer Torte is an Austrian cake with a lattice design on top of the pastry. It is named after the city of Linz, Austria.It is a very short, crumbly pastry covered with a filling of redcurrant jam or, alternatively, plum butter, thick raspberry, or apricot jam. The dough is rolled out in very thin strips of pastry and arranged to form a criss-cross design on top of the preserves. The pastry is brushed with lightly beaten egg whites, baked, and sometimes decorated with sliced almonds. Linzer Torte is a holiday classic in the Austrian, Hungarian, Swiss, German, and Tirolean traditions, often eaten at Christmas. Linzer sablés (German: Linzer Augen, “Linzer eyes”) are a cookie-sized version, made by cutting a circle of a similar dough, covering it with jam, placing a donut-like circle with a hole in the center piece of dough on top, and dusting with confectioner’s sugar. My recipe came from my mum, ultimately her mother, her mother and so on… My grandmother and grandfather were Austrian farmers who were moved to Hungary during the regime of the Monarchy after the Hungarian freedom fight in 1848.
      It would be interested to find out what is the link to Denmark…I absolutely LOVE Denmark, I visited the Forest Schools in 2010 and spent a week in Odense which was my best trip ever. And I truly adore Andersen! J. XXX

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