Merrill is an excellent cook. With her German cooking heritage, she treats her family to a whole variety of delicious meals, be it cinnamon rolls, meatballs with gravy, mashed potatoes and sauerkraut, green beans and spaetzle, and bierocks.
"She hurried to pull out a tray of golden brown bierocks. The aroma of fresh bread dough, cabbage and meat filled the air".
I looked up the quark-tasche, and this is something I'm going to try baking one day. "What is that?" "Oh, it's a delicious cheese pastry, Our mother used to make it for special occasions, and it's one of my favourites"
Merrill's famous apple strudel makes appearance more than once.It's not only the German recipes which pop up through the book, there is also a mention of kladdkaka, Swedish sticky chocolate cake, which also sounds tempting.
Yet the recipe I fancied recreating the most from the book is carrot cookies.
"I have some delicious cookies"
Granny shook her head. "Carrot cookies? Doesn't sound too appetizing to me. 'Course, I've never been overly fond of 'em. But if you're the one doing the baking, I'm glad to try"... Granny and Corabeth each picked one of the frosted cookies and sampled it. Merrill waited as the women considered the offering. Their smiles were her answer.
"You say these are made with carrots?" Granny asked.
"Carrots?" Corabeth looked at the partially eaten cookie. "I can't taste any carrot. I taste orange".
Merrill nodded. "Remember the oranges we got at church for Christmas? I saved them and used the juice and zest for frosting".
"They're wonderful", Granny said, reaching for another... Merrill, you have a real prize here..."
I have looked online for carrot cookies, and found an interesting recipe for carrot cake oatmeal cookies on Amy's Healthy Baking blog (follow the link to check out Amy's delicious recipe).
I have adapted it and changed some of the ingredients. As the coconut oil wouldn't have been available in Minnesota of 1896, I substituted it for margarine, as that was already available in America in the 2nd half of the 19C.
zest of 1 orange
70g carrots, grated
1 medium egg
40g dark demerara sugar
a pinch of salt
170g whole wheat flour (+ more for dusting the working surface)
1tsp baking powder
1tsp ground cinnamon
100ml maple syrup
Peel and grate carrots in a big mixing bowl. Grate the orange zest and add to the carrots. Beat in the egg, add the sugar, margarine, a pinch of salt, oats and mix well. Add the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and maple syrup and mix well. The cookie batter will be still a bit sticky, you will need to dust the working surface with flour quite well. Roll the cookie dough on the surface up to 2cm in height, cut out circles with a cookie cutter and place on the trays lined with foil (or parchement paper). Bake at 180C for about minutes.
The cookies will still be soft when you take them out of the oven.
I thought about icing them with the icing sugar and orange juice, but they were sweet enough.
They will keep well in a tin for a couple of days.