I wish I had some clever tagline to express how proud I am to come from a long line of black bakers...I don’t. I can say that from what I’ve seen, there’s always at least one cook in the family who gets tasked with baking each and every confection at the family events.
Somehow, I always ended up underneath the foot of that individual in my family. I was and still am completely fascinated with the ease and knowledge these bakers show as they whip up the most lavish or simple desserts. And most of the time without recipes!
Being the baking nerd that I am ( and combined with the fact that I wanted to find recipes since no one ever wrote a darn thing down) , researching recipes from old black cookbooks is one of my favorite pastimes.
Here are a few I’d like to share with you :
The Southern Cookbook: A Manual of Cooking and List of Menus, Including Recipes Used by Noted Colored Cooks and Prominent Caterers, S. Thomas Bivins, 1912
Rub fine four ounces of butter into eight ounces of flour, mix eight ounces of currants and six of fine Lisbon sugar, two yolks and one white of an egg and a spoonful of brandy. Roll the paste the thickness of an Oliver biscuit, and cut with a wine glass. You may beat the other white and wash over them, and either dust sugar, or not, as you like.
The Blue Grass Cook Book, Minnie C. Fox, 1904
1 pound of flour 1 pound of brown sugar ½ pound of butter 1 cup sweet milk 1 teaspoon soda, sifted with flour 1 pound raisins, stoned ½ pound of currants ½ pound of citron 1 cup of English walnuts, chopped fine 4 eggs, beaten together 1 teaspoon of cinnamon 1 teaspoon of cloves ½ glass of whisky Bake in a 4-quart can, and in a slow oven.
Kentucky Cook Book, Easy and Simple for Any Cook, by a Colored Woman (Mrs. W. T. Hayes), 1912
1 cup butter, 2 cups sugar, 2 cups flour, 1 cup hot mashed potatoes, 1 cup English walnuts, ½ cup milk, ½ cup melted chocolate, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ground cloves, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 4 eggs, yolks and white separated. Cream butter and sugar, add yolks, milk, chocolate, potatoes, spices, flour and a little salt and nuts. Bake in tins and ice with marshmallows.