I don’t about you, but I love yard sales and estate sales. They’re a bit of a crap shoot, since some are hits and some are misses, but that’s part of the fun. It’s exciting to walk in and find a good deal.
In particular, I have found a few old cookbooks at yard sales. I love old cookbooks. They’re always full of interesting recipes, sometimes interspersed with personal notes or stains that let me know the previous owner made many recipes from within the pages. They all have a story to tell.
I found one such recipe book recently at an estate sale. Entitled Recipe Promenade, it’s a collection of recipes from “Southern Square Dancers” and was sold at the “Night Train” 29th National Square Dance Convention that took place in Memphis, Tennessee is 1978. I didn’t actually realize it was a recipe book by-and-for square dancers until I got it home, but that makes me love it even more! The content sections are given titles such as “Spin the Top Appetizers” and “Do-Si-Do Breads.”
I’ve never square danced a day in my life, but this cookbook kind of makes me want to.
Browsing through the recipes, I stumbled upon one for Laplands. I had never heard of Laplands, so I paused to take note. With only four ingredients, it seemed like an easy enough recipe. The contributor, Jean Lewis, proudly proclaimed that “they melt in your mouth” and that they are a “four-yum rating on a scale of one to four. Maybe 4.99.” I decided to give it a try.
The recipe is simple, it uses basic ingredients including eggs, you get to use your hands, and it’s an old recipe that you don’t see around much anymore. Heck, I couldn’t even find any results when searching the internet for pictures to know what exactly they should look like when done! The few recipes I did find didn’t share any pictures.
Laplands are a soft quick bread biscuit, and to me they have an almost cornbread-y taste despite the fact that cornmeal has never even looked sideways at them. According to Food.com, President James Polk favored the dish. Another recipe site says that George Washington loved Laplands as well. I couldn’t find any additional historical information on the little biscuits (or verify the lofty presidential claims), but I think it is a safe bet to assume that this is an old recipe, likely from back in the days prior to about 1850 when baking powder was not available. Up until that time beaten egg whites were used to add air to dough and make a light baked bread without using yeast. These are known as “quick breads” because they don’t require the long rising times of yeast breads.
I have to admit, Laplands rate a little lower on the yum scale for me. Don’t get me wrong — they’re pretty good, and they’re fun to make. But I’ll take classic southern biscuits over these babies any day. Still, I think the recipe is worth sharing if for no reason other than its fascinating history and the scarcity of information about them. And since former presidents loved them, maybe my tastes just aren’t sophisticated enough to fully appreciate them? 😉
Here’s the Recipe:
Recipe Adapted from Jean Lewis. Makes 12.
– mixing bowls
– muffin tin
– 1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
– 3 eggs, separated
– 1/4 teaspoon salt
– 1 cup heavy cream
– palm shortening or lard to grease muffin tin
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Grease your muffin tin thoroughly using your fat of choice, such as lard or palm shortening.
Sift the flour and salt together. Separate the eggs and whisk the egg yolks until they are thick and creamy. Try not to get any yolk in your egg whites like I did. Oops!
Next, pour the cream into the stand mixer and beat with the whisk attachment until it holds its shape when the whisk is lifted out.
Use the spatula to gently fold the flour and whipped cream to the egg yolk mixture, alternating between the two. Start and end with flour. The mixture will have a fluffy texture.
Clean out the stand mixer and whisk attachment and dry thoroughly. Add the egg whites and beat until they form stiff peaks. Now dump the egg yolk mixture onto the egg whites and mix gently with your hands until the white patches disappear. Work quickly and do not over mix.
Spoon the batter into the muffin tin, filling half full, and bake for 20-25 minutes. They will be golden brown and a toothpick inserted will come out clean when they are done.
Serve while warm with butter and jam. Will it surprise you that I ate mine with peach butter? No? I didn’t think so.