Munchie Monday: Mrs. Macculloch’s Barbados Jumballs

In Macculloch Hall’s 18th-century kitchen, pictured to the right, with its large hearth and beehive oven, Louisa Macculloch’s recipes from her handwritten cookbook would have been baked, boiled, and steamed. Today we have to use our imaginations to think about the delicious aromas from the gingerbread to apple puddings baked in this kitchen.

7 recipes in Louisa Macculloch’s 19th-century cookbook were for jumballs. In the 18th century, jumballs were shaped into a ring, knot, or pretzel. The word “jumbal” was used for many different types of what we know as cookies. Jumballs included various spices, seeds, and flavorings. The jumbal recipe below is the only one from Mrs. Macculloch’s cookbook that does not list butter as an ingredient. It lists rosewater and bitter almonds as flavorings.

Rosewater was an ingredient frequently used in the first half of the nineteenth century. Mid-century vanilla replaced rosewater as a favored flavoring. Today, bitter almonds are prohibited for sale in the United States because of the toxicity of the compound amygdalin which, when eaten, breaks down into a cyanide, a deadly poison. Our adapted recipe for today’s kitchen lists sliced almonds, which are readily available as an ingredient.

Louisa Macculloch’s recipe for Barbados Jumballs is just one of 40 recipes that have been adapted for today’s kitchen and available on MHHM’s website. Search “Munchie Monday” on this page to find them all.

Original Recipe: Barbados Jumballs   Feb. 2d 1849

Beat very light the yolks of four eggs and the whites of eight. Add a spoonful of rose water, a hand full of bitter almonds pounded with it.

1 lb. of white sugar,

¾ lb. of fine flour,

Drop them from a teaspoon on greased tin sheets.

“This makes a quantity, Enough for company.”


Adapted Recipe: Barbados Jumballs

4 egg yolks

8 egg whites

1 ½ teaspoons of rosewater

¾ cup of sliced almonds (not salted)

2 cups of sugar

3 cups of cake flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a food processor blend ¾ cup of sliced almonds with 1 ½ cups of sugar. In a large bowl stir sifted cake flour, eggs yolks, rosewater.  Add the blended almond and sugar. In another bowl whip the egg whites for at least a minute or two (until the egg whites appear foamy) and then add the remaining ½ cup of sugar and continue to whip. Fold the egg white mixture into the rest of the ingredients.  Use a teaspoon to place cookie dough on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 12 minutes until light brown on edges. Let cool.


Learn more about almonds and their interesting history here:

Brick fireplace and cooking hearth with several metal tools including Dutch oven, tin roasting oven, and long-handled tools for cooking.

Topic: Munchie Monday
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