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Rusk Crackers, &Baker's Ammonia

Jan 13, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose

HOPSTER QUESTION

Feedback: 2 questions:{1} What could I use in place of Rusk Crackers in a piecrust? as I can't find Holland Rusk. I have a recipe for a custard Rusk pie thats really good,, do they still make them? #2 what is a replacement for baking ammonia? I have a very old recipe for Drop cookies that calls for 3lbs flour 1/2 oz. baking soda, and 1/2 oz. baking ammonia,ect, also what would 1/2 oz. equal in teaspoons? Thank You

ROSE REPLY

can't help with the rusk crackers as i don't remember what they are. maybe someone else on the blog can.
for the baker's ammonia: i used it to make melting moment cookies and got it from sweet celebrations. not sure if there is a replacement for it but i believe it predated modern day baking powder. if they still carry it, 1/2 ounce would be about 2-1/2 teaspoons.

Comments

I live near NY Cakes in New York City and got the ammonium carbonate there this morning, also known as ammonium bicarbonate as well as bicarbonate salt of ammonium. Here's the web site info again, they also have lemon oil and many other pure flavor oils and can ship anywhere if you find these items hard to find.
http://www.nycake.com/flavorings.aspx

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I used to buy the bakers ammonia from our druggist, I have now found a source that is a local Italian bakery, they use it in several recipes. Warning it must be kept air tight or else it gets lumpy, but can be pulverized .

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Here are two recipes for comparison that use ammonium carbonate. NY Cakes will mail it to you, here's the link:
http://www.nycake.com/oils.aspx?page=2

I found the following recipe in this regional cookbook and became interested in the idea of the ammonium carbonate making sweet crackers more crispy. I also love anything lemony.

Lemon Crackers - Scotland County(NC)Cotton Pickin' Recipes, regional cookbook

½ oz (2 T) Ammonium carbonate
1 C milk
½ C shortening
1 ¼ C sugar
1 egg well beaten
1 T lemon oil
2 T lemon extract
5 C flour

Pulverize ammonium carbonate with rolling pin, add milk, let stand ½ hour or until dissolved, stir often. Cream shortening and sugar; add egg, lemon flavoring, add milk mixture. Stir in flour and chill. Roll ¼ inch thick of floured surface. Cut into 3 inch squares. Prick with floured fork. Bake on greased sheets in middle of oven @ 375° for 15 minutes until lightly browned. Makes 3 ½ dozen.

Lemon Sweet Crackers - Recipes from a German Grandma

Fragile, light, tender lemon cookies
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. Bakers' Ammonia
1/2 cup shortening 1 cup sugar
1 egg white
1/2 cup milk
2 1/4 tsp. lemon extract
Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare baking sheet(s) by greasing or by lining with Kitchen Parchment (#64858). Thoroughly combine the flour, salt and Bakers' Ammonia. Set aside. Cream shortening and sugar well. Add egg white and beat until light. Add flour mixture to shortening mixture alternately with milk. Add lemon extract. Roll out and cut into 3" squares. Bake about 8 minutes. Yield: 6 dozen thin cookies.

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german delicatessen stores..called '' hirshhornsaltz '' good luck

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Would you be able or willing to share the custard rusk pie recipe? That sounds delicious!

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My comment was about the baker's ammonia. Sorry I wasn't clear. I stopped by yesterday and found out their hours have changed - they are open Tues. - Sat. You may want to call before you go.

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Several fruit and vegetable markets in and near Chicago carry baker's ammonia and something similar to Holland Rusk

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They used to carry it at Everything for the Kitchen in East Hartford (Glastonbury line).

I know for a fact that they carry it at
Harriet Amanda Chapman Inc
38 Beverly Hts
Middletown, CT 06457-3042

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Libby Jensen
Libby Jensen
11/21/2009 04:07 PM

Holland rusks can be found in Rainbow and some Cub Foods in Minnesota! Also try Byerlys. I use mine in a Swedish cookie recipe that my grandma made. Good luck!

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I got to thinking about the Holland Rusk after my post and they are for sale at Amazon. I thought that was very interesting. I didn't realize Amazon has a grocery catagory!

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I have found Holland Rusk at Kroger. I live in Seabrook, Texas, but surely other Kroger's in other areas would carry them.

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I live in Oak Lawn, IL and, until recently, I've been able to buy Holland Rusk at Jewel and Dominicks. Neither store carries it any longer. Any thoughts?

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Online, the King Arthur Catalog sells it, I think it's KingArthurFlour.com.

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No baking soda is sodium bicarbonate.

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isn't this baking soda?

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I would like to know in Connecticut, Middletown, more specifically, where I can purchase bakers ammonia or ammonium bicarbonate. I use it in my Danish cookie recipies. I was able to buy it in Walbaums before it became A&P and now can't find it anywhere. Pelase help.
Joan

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I emailed King Arthur about this question and was sent this information:

"Traditional Springerle cookies are pure white and crisp. They are made
with no fat. The dough is typically rolled out as a sheet with a
specially carved rolling pin. The cookies are then cut apart.

Traditional Spekulas cookies are richly spiced and chewy/crispy. It is
related to gingerbread. Cookies are made individually by pressing the
dough into a carved wooded mold, then unmolding onto a baking sheet."

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It's funny you asked this question as I wondered myself if they are the same moulds for both cookies. I plan to make some speculaas soon and don't have the moulds but have seen the ones in Rose's Christmas Cookies book for the springerle cookies and wondered if they could be used for speculaas too. I will be interested to see if anyone can enlighten us.

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Try Beryl's website. Here's the link:

http://www.beryls.com/

I learned about her while taking a gumpaste class with Jaci Salisbury in D.C. years ago, and have yet to need something cake-decorating-related that Beryl cannot supply. Good luck!

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That is awful news... I always loved browsing through their catalogues and have had stuff shipped in from them many a time. Does anyone have recommendations on an alternative online store that has just as comprehensive a range of items? I know there are lots of online baking stores, but Sweet C was just about the most thorough, you could count on getting just about anything you need there!

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Does anyone know the difference between springerle and speculaas, and between the molds designed to be used for one or the other?

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Hi Gina, I can't find the source now as I read this a long time ago but I recall it said that when some old recipes called for 10 cents or 5 cents worth of some ingredients it was referring to measured quantity not a value (e.g. enough of ingredient X to cover a 10 cent coin not the amount 10 cents could buy). I seem to recall the reason for this was that as the amounts were small and coin sizes common people could more easily understand the small measurement.... wonder if there's a food anthropologist out there who can shed some light on this?

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Gina Gangnier
Gina Gangnier
11/13/2008 07:29 AM

I have a recipe from my great, great grandfather that requires 10 cents worth of hartshorn. I don't know how much that is? Do you have any idea? I would love to buy some of your ammonia carbonate or hartshorn for this recipe, however, I need to know what 10 cents worth converts to?

Gina

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i'm deeply saddened by this news but thank you for telling us beth. it's still in time to change it in the sources for my upcoming book.

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I am so sad to report that Sweet Celebrations, aka, Maid of Scandinavia, has just gone out of business (10/2008)! I live in the Twin Cities' area, and received a notice from them to this effect.

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A lot of Middle Eastern, Greek, or Mediterannean grocery stores carry ammonium carbonate/baker's ammonia. Check in the aisles where they carry puddings, nuts, or spices. Hopefully your town/community has one these ethnic stores.

They sell them in tiny 1 oz jars for a dollar or two but that should be more than enough ammonium carbonate for most bakers to have on hand.

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not to worry--ammonia dissipates completely on baking just as does chlorine as in the chlorine bleaching of flour.

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suzanne roebuck
suzanne roebuck
12/22/2007 11:53 AM

My mother-in-law bakes what her family has always called "Ammonia cookies" every year at Christmas. My daughters are helping her today and they asked me to find out more about baking ammonia. Their friends were
afraid they were being poisoned....

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The place I got my Baking Ammonia was at Rafal Spice Company in Detroit Michigan. It is a business that been around for awhile and is a whole seller that sells to the public. Been dealing with them since the early 80's. The web site is:
http://www.rafalspicecompany.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?

Sorry that I did not find this site sooner for you.

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try sweet celebrations in MN (they have an 800 #) or king arthur.

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Jan McConnell
Jan McConnell
12/ 3/2007 12:48 PM

I have a old family Christmas cookie recipe that calls for baking ammonia. I have not been able to find it anywhere this year. Is there anyone who can help me out?

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We had rusks all the time when I was a kid. My mom's family had immigrated from Sweden, where they are still common. I think you can get Swedish ones at Ikea. They are great with coffee.

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the only place I have found HOLLAND rusk is at KROGER GRO.

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Back to the original question -- Holland Rusk. "Hopster" indicates a Holland Rusk pie crust for a custard pie. Would be interested in his receipt.
My mother made such a pie that we called "Danish Torte pie" We have not quite been able to reproduce it (to our satisfaction - how we remember it.)
Ingredients: 1 box Holand Rusk;
1/2 stick butter; 1/2 cup sugar;1 1/2 tsp cinnamon. this is for pie crust.
Custard: 2 cups milk; 2 tbsp sugar;1 tbsp corn starch; 3 egg yolks;vanilla
Cover with Meringue sweetened with 3 tbsp sugar and top with 1 cup reserved pie crus mix. Slow oven 30 minutes.
"Helen's danish Torte Pie"cc

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Nancy Batchelder
Nancy Batchelder
05/15/2007 11:06 PM

I am looking for help w/a 1907 recipe called "Lemon Crackers". 2 1/2 C. sugar, 1 cup lard, 1 pt. sweet milk, 2 eggs, 5 cents worth of oil of lemon and 1 ounce of baking ammonia, and flour to make a stiff batter. Any substitutes as I don't have any baking ammonia or 5 cents worth of oil of lemon. I've got a deadline for making these.

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The recipe I have makes a crunchy cracker-like cookie. When I tried replacing the ammonium bicarbonate with baking powder the result was less crunch.

It seems like it should be possible to make nice savory crackers using the ammonia, but recipes for savory crackers seem quite rare. I haven't yet tried random experimentation.

Curiously the recipes at King Arthur (Princess meltaways and Vanilla Dreams) are both described as being very light and tender.

I have a small assortment of recipes but they seem mostly like variations of the same thing. One curious observation is that the amount of ammonia called for varies from 0.86 tsp up to 6.5 tsp for one pound of flour.

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Barbara Armstrong
Barbara Armstrong
12/24/2006 02:34 PM

I've come across a few recipes using baker's ammonia but have never actually used it. It's supposed to make the cookies & crackers really crisp and dry. Sounds interesting!

Nick Malgieri's "Cookies Unlimited" has one recipe using it -- "Crisp Coconut Cookies." Check the index for "bicarbonate of ammonia."

I think I remember seeing a few recipes in King Arthur Flour's "Baker's Companion" and "Cookie Companion," but as I don't have my own copy I'm not sure. (They're on the Want to Buy list.)

There are also a couple of recipes in the King Arthur flour recipe area of their web site. Just type "ammonia" into the search box.

Sweet Celebrations has some recipes posted on-line too. Here's a link: http://www.sweetc.com/Recipes/bakeramm.htm

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Melinda Pickworth
Melinda Pickworth
12/22/2006 05:22 PM

Baker's ammonia= Hartshorn. It is used in Scandinavian cookies. Gives authentic crispness/snap. It is used mostly for cookies as it gives off a ammonia odour when cooking and this suits a cookie, as the cookie is not as dense as a cake batter- so this smell escapes easily from a cookie. (There hasn't been any leftover taste noted by me in the cookie.) Hartshorn does not activate till heated and this is an advantage...the smell is not! I only know this as I have recently been making some Christmas Springerle and read all about it; as I had never heard of Hartshorn before. Because Springerle cookies are left to air dry for up to 24 hours other raising agents would probably not be active anymore. Hence, why Hartshorn is ideal.

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wow--i see there are links to weblogs that reference it so that should help. i only know of melting moments. but i'm sure you'll find more uses on the blog listed below.

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I have a big supply of baker's ammonia and only one recipe that calls for it (which I make about once a year). What else can I use it for?

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Rosannew Valentine
Rosannew Valentine
12/21/2006 11:38 AM

I had rusk biskits in South Africa. It was a twice baked hard biskit. Does any one have a recipe? They made them at Sabi Sabi game resort.

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I buy Holland Rusk regularly, 4 boxes at a time. They are never in the same aisle twice. Try baby food, baking, cookies, snacks.

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Rusk crackers were similiar to melba toast. Do they still make teething bixcuits for babies?If so they would be very close to rusk crackers.If not, I would used melba toast, maybe with a couple of plain biscotti thrown in.

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I buy baker's ammonia from a local compounding pharmacist for about $2 per ounce. Some recipes say baking powder can be substituted, but with baking powder, cookies don't have the same crispness.

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Hubby is from Athens, Greece - I eat store-bought rusks all the time while I am there. The closest thing I can think of here would be Melba Toast. It's not sweet at all, but is the texture of biscotti. They come in different ways - plain, wheat, sesame. Anna

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oh yes! i remember that from maida heatter's book. thanks!

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When I read the posting asking about rusks, I remembered a recipe in "Maida Heatter's Book of Great Cookies". I went and checked, and sure enough they were there. A rusk is a twice-baked not to sweet cookie much like a biscotti. Rusks are German cookies according to that book.
Tobey

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Baker's ammonia is still available, from Sweet Celebrations (catalog page 110) or from The Baker's Catalogue.

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