Hartshorn Cookies

Adeline Sanoy, e-mail message to Michael Miller.

My Grandmother's and some of my Aunt's baked these cookies. (I have also, and I was wondering whether they are a German-Russian or European recipe. Or was Baking Ammonia was the leavening used, before baking powder.

Hartshorn* Cookies (Makes 60-75 cookies depending on cut size)

1/2 C shortening
1-1/2 C sugar
2 Eggs
2-3/4 to 3-1/4 C all purpose flour
1/2 C milk
1 med lemon juiced
1/2 tsp hartshorn
pinch salt
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Cream shortening, sugar, and vanilla. Stir in eggs and beat well. Dissolve hartshorn in milk and lemon juice (be careful this bubbles and expands) then add to shortening mixture. Stir in 2-3/4 c. flour and salt. If sticky, add more flour to handle easily. Roll out 1/4 inch thick on lightly floured board and cut with fancy cutters. Place on baking sheets about 1 inch apart. Bake in preheated oven for 8-12 minutes (until cookies are just turning brown on edges). Remove from oven, and allow to cool for 1-2 minutes. Remove from baking sheet to wire rack to cool. When cool frost with confectioners sugar icing and sprinkle with colored sugar.

"Note: I find Hartshorn at specialty baking stores. Sometimes it comes in powdered form and sometimes in lumps (if lumps, pound it fine and then measure). It has also been found in Drug stores under the name of Baking Ammonia. I have picked it up in a box, including also a recipe and two vials of lemon extract. [for two batches of cookies.] It is better known as baking ammonia or ammonium carbonate. This smells like ammonia, but that does not affect the flavor of the cookies.

Note: Confectioners sugar icing is confectioners sugar with milk, lemon juice, or water. Combine to reach desired consistency (personal preference, I like kind of runny). I use about 3/4 c. confectioner's sugar, 1 tsp. lemon juice, and 3-4 tbs. water.

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