Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Those Were The Days...

When I was a child, I loved the illustrations of Beatrix Potter. I loved her stories, her animal characters and best of all, I loved the clothes she dressed them in. I think I received this cook book from Val, although I could be mistaken. (I'll have to check with her as her memory is so much better than mine.)I must have been about nine or ten years old when I baked "Littletown Farm Carrot Cookies" for a party in my elementary school classroom and "Little Black Rabbit's Orange-Honey Carrots" for a special family dinner Val was preparing. It surprises me as I thumb through it that this is not necessarily a cook book for a child although the illustrations would lead one to think this at first glance. However, it is a cook book for a beginner cook as the explicit directions in the recipes indicate. Even so, my mother must have had a lot of trust in me to allow me to boil water and bake at such a young age. Of course, she was always there to supervise but still allowed me to do everything from measuring, mixing, placing the dough in the oven and giving me the responsibility of properly timing as not to burn the results! Opening this slightly musty and stained cook book reminds me of the brick red colored stove and the white Formica counter top in our sunny kitchen. Mixing the stiff cookie dough by hand with an old wooden spoon and licking the bowl are memories of a simple pleasure.

5 carrots
3/4 cup water (more if carrots go dry)
1 cup unbleached white flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup soft vegetable shortening
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup golden raisins
extra shortening

Wash the carrots, scrape them with a vegetable peeler, rinse and cut them into 1/4 inch slices with a sharp knife. Measure 1 1/2 cup carrot slices and put them into a small saucepan. Add the water and a pinch of salt, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes over medium heat or until the carrots are tender when you test them with the tip of a knife. Drain the cooking water and save to use in soups.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
While the carrots are cooking, put the white flour, whole-wheat flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a mixing bowl. Stir them lightly with a fork until they are thoroughly mixed. Put the cooked carrots in another mixing bowl and mash them with fork. Add the soft shortening, butter or margarine and brown sugar and mix well. Beat in the 2 eggs.
Add the dry ingredients to the carrot mixture and stir until they are completely blended. Stir in the raisins.
Grease 2 cookie sheets with the extra shortening. Use a spoon to drop the cookie mixture onto the sheets about 2 inches apart. Bake for 10 minutes. Use pot holders to take the cookie sheets from the oven. Remove the cookies from the cookie sheets with a spatula and put them on wire racks to cool.
Makes 4 dozen 3-inch cookies.