Lady Baltimore. This romantic tome was highly popular among the ladies of Charleston and inspired two to open a tea room called "The Lady Baltimore Tea Room." This tea room became quite famous in its own right serving such delicious treats as the famous Lady Baltimore Cake - a delicious concoction of fruit, nuts, spices, meringue and layers of delicious cake. By the time Charleston Receipts was printed at mid-century it had been adapted into a cookie recipe. While the cookie is a much simpler version, it remains delicious with its heaping assortment of spices, walnuts (or pecans), and raisins.
I decided to give this old recipe shared by Mrs. Gladys Hay Walker in Receipts a go. For added flavor, soaking the raisins in rum makes a nice variation (something not done in the original). The cookie has something of the delicate crispness of shortbread but the use of vegetable shortening in place of butter allows the nut and spice flavors to shine through. It also produces a wonderfully "plump" little cookie instead of a flat blob! The original recipe calls for all-purpose flour, but I found substituting self-rising flour gave these gems a little more oomph! so they could rise a bit and produce a nice texture reminiscent of holiday nut cookies. If you use this option, just delete the salt (but keep the soda for the extra rising power!) A sprinkle of powdered sugar finishes them off or for a more elegant finish drizzle with chocolate or royal icing.