Hard-Boiled Egg Cookies

My grandmother, mother, father,step-grandfather, and IMy grandmother used to bake a multitude of different cookies. I remember that she would make hard-boiled-egg cookies and insist that they were from an old German recipe and would make the best crumbs of any cookie (which she would use for the crust of cheesecake). I was young and never really thought much about this until I came across a recipe from the Second Edition of the Neighborhood Cookbook, published by the Council of Jewish Women, Portland, Oregon (1914).  The recipe was named simply German Cookies.

(Which makes sense to me, as my Grandmother was a stout, stern German woman.)  However, the concept of using hard-boiled eggs in cookies has an unclear origin. I am still looking for the history on it.

German Cookies (Council of German Women Recipe)

Yolks of one dozen hard-boiled eggs, one and one-half pounds butter, one-half pound granulated sugar. Enough flour to make a nice soft dough, two teaspoons of baking powder (mix with flour), one teaspoon lemon extract. Cream the butter and sugar; then add the grated yolks of the eggs; then two raw eggs, and lastly, flour, and flavoring. Roll out quite thin. Cut into different forms, and bake in moderate oven until golden brown.

I’ve run across other hard-boiled-egg cookie recipes in European cookbooks. The Polish have cookie recipes that use hard-boiled-egg yolks. The kruche ciasto Polskie (Polish crumbly dough) is used for cookies and tart shells. There are also numerous Italian cookie recipes that use hard-boiled eggs.

They only sound weird.

Cookbooks from the 1940s had a great variety of hard-boiled-egg cookies. They seem to have evolved into something of a dinosaur in recent editions of standard cookbooks. I’m not sure why. Hard-boiled-egg cookies are delicious.

Hard-Boiled-Egg Spritz Cookies

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 hard-boiled-egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon milk
  • 2 cups flour

Cut cold butter into small pieces with knife. Work into sugar until crumb-like. Mash egg yolks with fork, and work into crumbs. Add vanilla and small amount of milk. Mix in flour. This dough will be dry but will hold together when squeezed. It should not be crumbly. (If it does not hold together, add few more drops of milk.) Press or shape as desired. Bake in 400-degree oven 6 to 9 minutes or until set but not overly browned.

Berliner Kranser

  • 2 egg yolks, raw
  • 2 hard-boiled-egg yolks
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • ½ pound unsalted butter
  • 1½ cups flour
  • 2 egg whites
  • decorator’s sugar

Mash hard-boiled-egg yolk with fork. Add raw yolks to hard-boiled yolks. Add sugar and almond extract, and mix together. Blend in butter, and add flour. Dough will be dry and firm. If it does not hold together and is too crumbly, add another raw yolk (although that might require more flour for the right consistency). Refrigerate dough several hours to chill thoroughly. Roll dough into thin ropes about 7 inches long. Twist ends together to form circle with ends overlapping. Brush with egg white, and sprinkle on decorator’s sugar. Bake in 350-degree oven 6 to 8 minutes or until just set but not browned.

Dessert Hard-Boiled Eggs

old-easter-cards-505They might sound strange, but a sweetened hard-boiled egg dates back to Roman times. Egg yolks were sweetened with honey and mixed with raisins to create a dessert egg dish.  A bit shocking to some, but so obvious.  We are so used to the savory deviled (stuffed, dressed) hard-boiled eggs it never occurred to me that I could go sweet, too.  A friend mentioned a dessert egg recipe that their grandmother would make every Easter.  I’ve tried them.  They are delicious.

Another way to get kids to eat all those hard-boiled eggs they were so keen on coloring..

Maple Pecan Deviled Eggs

  • 12 hard-boiled eggs, peeled
  • ¼ cup cream cheese
  • ¼ cup ricotta cheese
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons (scant) maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • salt, to taste
  • ¼ cup chopped toasted pecans (topping)

Chocolate Deviled Eggs (Sweet)

  • 12 hard-boiled eggs, peeled
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • ¼ cup cream cheese
  • ¼ cup superfine sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • several drops vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup whipping cream
  • cocoa powder for garnish

Butter and cream cheese are easier to work with if at room temperature. Blend. Add sugar and chocolate, add vanilla extract. Top with sweetened whipped cream, and sprinkle with cocoa powder.

 

Deviled, Stuffed, and Dressed Hard-Boiled Eggs… YUM.

easterbunny-egg-1820-20110414-1022It’s that time of year, where we dye a bunch of hard-boiled eggs, and then we have to figure out how to use them up over the next few days.

I’ve always been a big fan of deviled, stuffed and dressed eggs.

The difference between deviled, dressed, and stuffed eggs is negligible. (A rose by any other name…)  The ingredients for all are pretty simple: take a whole, peeled hard-boiled egg cut lengthwise. Scoop out the yolk. Mash it. , enhance it, and plop it back into the empty depression on the white half.  Who hasn’t had those?

They are so popular that special plates are sold to cradle the egg halves.

Cookbooks have referenced them since the Romans (although they stuffed their hard-boiled-egg yolks with raisins and honey). In the 1500s in England, instructions appear in cookbooks to “farce” the yolks (meaning mush them up, usually with other ingredients) and re-place them in the egg. The concept is widespread, and popular worldwide.

The term deviled is a description in old cookbooks — that usually meant something  especially hot and spicy.

(Wait, no hard and fast rules here…Devil’s food chocolate cake is not hot and spicy; it was named to contrast with angel food, the exceptionally white, light, and airy sponge cake made with a great many egg whites.)

The first known reference to deviled was in an English cookbook in 1786. In the 1800’s, it was very common to find described as deviled various recipes. This was quite risque, as the usually boring bland food lacked the devilish pinch of cayenne or tiny dollop of minced horseradish.

Oh so tame by today’s chili-pepper-obsessed standards.

At the Oxford Symposium on Food & Cookery in 2006, Nancy R. McArthur related the following item reported in The New York Times (June 13, 1904) entitled “Angel Cake and Deviled Eggs Barred” (page 6):

“The popularity of deviled eggs was not without controversy as erupted in 1904 in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania. The all-male officers of the Reformed Church voted against permitting deviled eggs and angel cake at the June fete. In their view, having deviled eggs would bring profane objects within the sacred edifice while angel cake would be sacrilegious. Women planning the fete cancelled the event in a fit of pique, refusing to bow to the will of the sanctimonious menfolk. Similar issues arose in the southern states, sometimes requiring a change in the dish’s name.”

Because of this controversy, parts of the U.S. still refer to deviled eggs as dressed or stuffed.

For years I thought that deviled eggs were ONLY egg yolk mixed with store-made jar mayonnaise. How wrong I was.

In Northern Europe, it is not uncommon to mix the yolks with stale white bread that has been soaked in milk, along with mustard and parsley. Germany is fond of stuffed eggs with anchovy and capers.  Old recipes use softened butter instead of mayonnaise. Other recipes use substitutes such as dry, Greek-style yogurt; heavy whipping cream; sour cream; cream cheese; hummus; or in the case of a mid-twentieth-century American recipe using a very American cheese-product invention, the neon-orange Cheez Whiz, for a cheesy egg concoction (No comment. I haven’t tried it.)

More-exotic binder ingredients (instead of mayonnaise) are mashed avocado, olive or other oil, and coconut milk. Additions to the egg yolk include pureed artichoke hearts; minced olives; diced sun-dried tomatoes; bits of chicken, fish, or bacon; mashed potato; bread crumbs; and ground nutmeats. In one popular variation, Russian eggs, the eggs are filled with caviar and served with a rémoulade sauce.

A couple of recipes from my collection

Deviled egg recipes all have the same instructions (unless noted): cut peeled hard-boiled eggs lengthwise; remove yolks; mash them; and add enough of a binder such as mayonnaise, butter, or yogurt to make the yolks creamy and hold them together. Mix in with other ingredients and spices. Return the yolk mixture to the center depression in the egg white (with a spoon or a pastry bag). Garnish with a spice (typically paprika) and/or other ingredients such as parsley, cilantro, or caviar

My Mother’s Deviled Eggs

  • 12 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and cut lengthwise
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise (more or less as needed to make yolks creamy)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • ½ teaspoon curry powder
  • paprika for garnish

Yogurt Deviled Eggs

  • 12 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and cut lengthwise
  • 1/3 cup plain Greek-style yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • Dash Tabasco sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • salt, to taste
  • Paprika, for garnish

Old-Fashioned Butter Deviled Eggs

  • 12 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and cut lengthwise
  • 3 tablespoons softened sweet cream butter
  • ½ teaspoon dry mustard
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1-2 teaspoons heavy cream (more or less as needed to make yolks creamy)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Paprika, for garnish

Bean Deviled Eggs

  • 12 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and cut lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons refried beans
  • Tabasco sauce, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced red onion
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced parsley
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced cilantro
  • ½ teaspoon finely minced fresh oregano (or ¼ teaspoon dried)