Saturday, May 18, 2013

Tea Room Recipe #20 - The Old Vanity Fair Tea Room (Los Angeles, Calif.)

This week I decided to try a new cookie recipe I came across in a very old cookbook. It calls for dates and nuts and nutmeg, and the result was a most complex — and luscious tasting! — cookie flavor. It's rare to come across a cookie that strikes the tastebuds as truly new and different, but these sure did.

I found the recipe for these Brighton Rock Cookies in this delightful 1927 cookbook, "The Old Vanity Fair Tea Room — Recipes gathered from far and near." Written by a Caro F. Chamberlain (not Carol, but Caro), the book notes that "these recipes are used in the Dining Room of the Women's Athletic Club of Los Angeles, Calif." The introduction notes that "in compiling this little book, it has not been our object to introduce a comprehensive cook book, but to pass on to our many friends these recipes which we have tried and liked and found most satisfactory."

Here is what the recipe looks like in the book. The directions, what there are of them, are quite easy. Notice anything missing? I sure did! I've noticed in a lot of old recipes they seem to assume the reader knows that the foods must be cooked and for how long. So I had to guess about these things!

For those of you who don't like to guess, here's how I made these cookies. It must be said that I tried and liked them and found them most satisfactory!

Brighton Rock Cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 heaping cup of chopped dates (I used dried dates)
1/2 cup melted butter
2 eggs, beaten
1 scant teaspoon baking soda
1 cup of chopped nuts (I used a mix of almonds and pecans)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir just until combined. Drop by teaspoons onto cookie sheets prepared with cooking spray and bake for 8-10 minutes, until tops are no longer shiny and edges are just starting to brown. Yields approximately 4 dozen cookies.


  1. They look yummy.... If I could pluck one off the screen, I would! Love the cover of the cookbook.

  2. Another yummy Tea Room recipe, and another great vintage tea room recipe book! You have an awesome collection!

  3. I have a feeling it is because there were SUCH different temperatures when baking back them - it really depended on your "oven." It was standardized at all back then.

    Funny how things have changed.

    We recently bought a large flat screen and last night watched a little bit of Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring.....and it looked so odd on high Peter Jackson's creative team had the best of the best back a decate ago, and now it looks funny and chintzy like a daytime soap opera on these new tvs.

    Yes, times are always changing, huh?

    Have a great weekend, hugs.

  4. Oh, and thank you very much for sharing the recipe- I would love to try these, my husband loves dates in things....and they're good for us!!

  5. That is amazing - not oven temp or time. Wow- I imagine women were abit more skilled without all the convenience foods today.

  6. Yum! Old recipes make me smile with their directions or lack there of.

  7. They do look yummy! Love dates in anything.

  8. My grandmother preferred her wood stove at the cottage to the electric one my grandfather bought for her. I think back and wonder how on earth she knew what the temperature of the oven was for baking and roasting. Some very good roasts of beef came out that old thing.
    For me, it is the 'scant' measuring aspect that I don't get. :-)
    The cookies sound delicious, I like dates in anything.

  9. Iwill try that one for sure !!!!! As always THANK YOU for sharing.

  10. This looks like an interesting book, Hollywood in the 1920's - too neat! I like your photo Angela, a good recipe to try.
    Thanks for sharing, Joanie


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