17th Century Cookies

Ask people about what's happening in 1658 England and you'll likely get a blank stare.

It's way past Tudor and Elizabethan England, just past a civil war that not many people talk about, and in the midst of an identity crisis when the British monarchy is M.I.A. In fact, on this year, a "Lord Protector" is governing the empire during the aptly named "Protectorate Period" - a failed attempt to convert England into a republic. 

But enough with the boring history lesson. Lucky for us, it was during this time that the first recipe and cookbooks were being published, thanks to Mr. Guttenberg and his printing press.

Published in 1658, "The Compleat Cook" is one of the earliest of its kind, sharing a series of recipes in a most elementary, unscientific fashion, leaving amateur cooks with the opportunity to take inspired adventures in the kitchen, replicating 17th century recipes that do not call for measuring cups or any degree of accuracy of any kind.

One example that seemed easy enough to try to recreate (and not nausea inducing like 'Sheep's Feet'), is a Almond Jumball (cookie) recipe. Check it out below and adapt at will. 1658 will thank you.

To make Almond Jumballs.

Take a pound of Almonds to halfe a pound of double refined Sugar beaten and Searced, lay your Almonds in water a day before you blanch them, and beat them small with your Sugar; and when it is beat very small, put in a handfull of Gum-dragon, it being before over night steeped in Rose-water, and halfe a white of an Egge beaten to froth, and halfe a spoonfull of Coriander-seed as many Fennell and Ani-seeds, mingle these together very well, set them upon a soft fire till it grow pretty thick, then take it off the fire, and lay it upon a clean Paper, and beat it well with a rowling pin till it work like a soft past, and so make them up, and lay them upon Papers oyld with Oyle of Almonds, then put them in your Oven, and so soon as they be throughly risen, take them out before they grow hard.