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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