The Vintage Cookie

Saturday, July 31, 2010

What is an authentic vintage recipe?
I made scones today, using the New York Times Cookbook, publication date of 1963. This is the cookbook I grew up with, and this is the scone recipe I grew up with. But I tweaked it -- tried a suggestion I read in Cooks Illustrated for cutting in the butter. I froze the butter and grated it into the flour using a box grater. Worked great. I also used some leftover eggnog instead of milk. Results - a great scone. Tender and almost flaky, with a lovely sweet flavor. But still a traditional scone, not what passes for a scone in Starbucks.

But here's the rub -- was this a "vintage" scone? Probably not. So, if I were directing someone to make a vintage scone, what do I tell them. Okay, I would skip the eggnog. Although eggnog is a very old recipe, with a very old flavor profile. And it was really, really good. But what about the trick with the box grater. It just makes a better scone, better along the lines of what a cook in 1963 would have understood as a good scone, not better in some new, modern way. And it doesn't use anything not available in 1963. On the other hand, I am pretty sure it is not the classic method.

So when does a recipe stop being vintage?

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