Thursday, December 12, 2013

Christmas Muffins, 1900-1938.

In food history, as in life, one thing leads to another, and yesterday’s post set me thinking about muffins specifically made for Christmas. There is a dearth, dear friends, a veritable dearth. Which is surprising, really, given that almost everything else on earth has been turned to the enterprise that is Christmas.

A search for “Christmas Muffins” was not in vain, however. The first find was worth it on account of the title of the source:  The Monitor. Catholic Organ for Great Britain (January 19, 1900.)  The recipe itself, however, is a disappointment. It is singularly uninspiring, and I do not know what is “Christmassy” about it – but perhaps I am missing something.

Christmas Muffins.
One pound of flour, one and a half teaspoonful of baking powder, two ounces of butter, one large tablespoonful of sugar, one egg, sweet milk, enough to make it of a proper consistency, a pinch of salt. Rub flour and butter together, then add sugar and baking powder; beat eggs and add to milk. Mix all together, knead as little as possible, roll out into rounds, cut in flour, brush over with egg or milk, and bake for twenty minutes.
The following muffin recipe is a colourful step in the right direction:

Christmas Muffins.
Use for the making of the muffins, two cups of flour, one-half teaspoon salt, two and one half teaspoon baking powder, four tablespoons granulated sugar,  one egg, one cup of milk, one-fourth cup of melted butter, one-half cup of chopped maraschino cherries, one-half cup of chopped crème de menthe cherries. Sift together the dry ingredients. Add the unbeaten egg, milk and butter. Stir quickly until mixed but do not beat. Fold in the chopped cherries, and drop the mixture by spoonfuls into well-greased muffin tins, filling them to two-thirds full. Bake in a 400 degreee oven for from twenty to thirty minutes.

Freeport Journal Standard (Illinois) of Thursday, December 15, 1938.

And this one would suit the season, although it was intended to assist the wartime wheat-conservation program in the US during WW 1.

Mincemeat Muffins.
1 cupful barley flour
1 ⅓ cupfuls entire-wheat flour
½ teaspoonful soda
½ teaspoonful salt
2 teaspoonfuls baking powder
½ cupful rice or potato water
1 cupful sour milk.
Sift dry ingredients together thoroughly, add milk, water, and mincemeat, and beat well. Bak in a hot oven twenty minutes. If the mincemeat is very dry, work it into the flour as if it were raisins, if very moist, leave out part of the water. Sweet milk may be substituted for the sour, using five teaspoonfuls baking-powder, and omitting the soda.

Good housekeeping: Volume 66, Number 6 (June 1918) 

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