Weekend Cooking: Cookies From a Pioneer Era

I read My Antonia by Willa Cateher as a member of one of my book clubs. You can see my book review yesterday here. Our custom is that the monthly leader brings a treat that somehow matches the story.

Our leader this month is a Nebraska native and she outdid herself on this one. She brought cookies on a Nebraska commemorative plate. The cookies are typical of what the early settlers would have made for a rare special treat. Sugar was not plentiful, although cornmeal was.

The unusual ingredient here is the onion. I really couldn’t taste it, but I can see why a pioneer farm wife might have used it. Spices weren’t often available. Onions would make a tasty addition and give it a little kick.

Keep an open mind about the onion. The cookie was really an excellent treat and I plan to make it for myself. When I do I’m going to try the chocolate option.

The recipe came from Nebraska Life’s July/August 2012 issue. Our book club leader shared the recipe with us and now I’m sharing it with you.

Pioneer Cornmeal Cookies


  • 3/4 cup of fat (you can substitute crisco or butter)
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup raisins (optional)
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon dried onion

Optional: To make a chocolate version, add

  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup milk


Mix fat and sugar in large bowl. Add egg and beat well. Add rest of the ingredients and mix well. Drop dough from teaspoon on greased baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 15 minutes or until golden brown. Makes 3 dozen cookies.

I’m sharing my opinion of My Antonia and the cookie recipe with bloggers at Weekend Cooking.  Visit Beth Fish Reads for more food posts. Click the icon below.

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9 Responses to Weekend Cooking: Cookies From a Pioneer Era

  1. How interesting that there was onion in the cookie. I think I’d go with the chocolate version as well.

  2. jama says:

    Hmmmm, onion in cookies? Okay, I’ll keep an open mind. Anything for historical accuracy :).

  3. Beth F says:

    I don’t think I’ve heard of onion in a cookie before either. But now I’ve dying of curiosity. I’d make the nonchocolate version, I think.

  4. Chinoiseries says:

    I really like the idea of bringing a book-related treat to bookclub night 🙂 The onion males me wonder though, what does it add to the flavour of the cookie? Wouldn’t a savoury cookie not make more sense? Obviously, I’m curious about the taste. Which means I’ll have to bake a batch 😀

  5. Staci says:

    I think that sounds pretty cool! It’s really eye-opening to see recipes from the past and how the women incorporated what they had and turned it into a tasty treat!

  6. I’m with everyone else; onion in a cookie has intrigued me.

  7. Marg says:

    Onion in a cookie! Very odd! I wonder if you would miss whatever it adds to the recipe if you didn’t include it?

  8. Vasilly says:

    Cornmeal cookies?! This sounds unusual but if you say it’s good, then I’m willing to try it!

  9. amy says:

    Its very different.. Onion in cookies.. hahaha.. i will try this in my home and i will share what was the result.

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