This recipe is provided by Debbie Lawton, a volunteer who is in charge of Colonial-style heart cooking at George Washington’s Birthplace. It is from Mary Randolph’s classic 1824 cookbook, The Virginia House-wife. Lawton says: “These would have been served with wine or coffee, tea or hot chocolate. Since biscuits (we call them cookies today) did not have to be served hot, the cooks could prepare them well before the actual events of the Christmas season, which may have made cookies the cook’s favorite!”
To one pound of flour, add half a pound of sugar, half a pound of butter, some mace and nutmeg powdered, and a glass of brandy or wine; wet it with milk, and when well kneaded, roll it thin, cut it in shapes, and bake it quickly.
Translated to modern cooking terms: Preheat oven to 375 degrees
3 ½ cups flour
1 cups sugar
2 sticks butter
½ teaspoon each ground mace and nutmeg
¼ cup brandy or white wine
Place the flour, sugar and spices in a bowl. Cut in the butter until it looks like cornmeal. Stir in the brandy, and enough milk to make a stiff dough. Roll out on a floured surface about ½ inch thick, cut with a glass or cookie cutters. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown.