Ann Reardon

200 Year Old Confectionary Recipes

Reading old cookbooks gives us an insight into the lives of women who lived long ago. Preparing desserts was a cumbersome and time consuming process. Imagine hand peeling and grating a pound of almonds to get almond meal. Or pounding sugar in a mortar and pestle to make icing sugar. There were no electric mixers in sight so I can only conclude that they must of had very strong arm muscles.

Today we are baking from ‘The Compleat Confectioner’ by Hannah Glasse 1770.

To make Coffee Cream Bomboons

yummy homemade caramel recipe
Original Recipe
Take about a pint of coffee made with water put in it a pound of loaf sugar set it on the fire and boil it to a high degree then add a full pint of double cream and let it boil again keeping continually stirring till it comes to caramel height to know when it is come to that point you must have a bason of water by you dip your finger in it and put it quickly in your sugar then in the water again to remove the sugar which will have stuck to it take a bit of it in your teeth if it is hard in its crackling take it tin plate and proceed as directed for the lemon bomboons when it is warm you may cut it in little squares lozenges or any other shaped pastiles and draw a few strokes over them with a knife.

Modern Rewrite:
475mL (16.06 fluid ounces) black coffee
450g (15.87 ounces) white sugar
450g (15.87 ounces) cream
Place the coffee and sugar in a pan a stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Wash down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush. Leave unstirred over high heat until the mixture thickens slightly, the bubbles will pop slightly slower. Add in the cream, careful not the get burns from steam. Stir continuously until a spoonful of mixture dropped into a glass of cold water is a stringy consistency. See the video for demonstration.

To make Lemon Pastils

older days candy ann reardon how to cook that
Original Recipe
Take half a pound of pounded loaf sugar sifted as fine as possible put it in a plate take three or four lemons which squeeze over your sugar mix it well with a spoon till you see it makes what is called a royal paste a little thickish that you may take it upon a knife then take half a sheet of paper and cover it with little round and flat drops which we call pastils of the size of a farthing place it in the stove with a slow fire till it is quite dry and take it off from the paper you may add to it if you choose some of the skin of the lemon rasped or grated but not chipped for as it is a melting pastil some of the bits would remain in the mouth which is not quite so well.

Modern Rewrite:
225g (7.94 ounces) icing sugar
Juice of three lemons
Mix some of the juice into the icing sugar. Add a little at a time until it is a thick consistency as shown in the video. Place drops onto a tray lined with baking paper. Bake at 110C (230 degrees Fahrenheit) for 90 minutes.

To make Nut Bomboons

almond candy ann reardon how to cook that
Original Recipe
Take a pound of Spanish nuts and boil them in an iron pan when they are well boiled rub off their skin with a napkin if some stick too hard pare it off with a knife take a tin grater grate your nuts very fine on a sheet of paper then take a pound of powdered sugar to a pound of nuts put it in a pan over a slow fire when your sugar is all melted in stirring it perpetually with a wooden spoon put your nuts in and work them well till all is well mixed and pour it upon a tin plate take a wooden rolling pin to spread it which you must be very quick in doing for it cools very fast and when it is cold cut it into what form you please you must take care the sugar should not be too much melted for it is very apt to soften when the nuts arejoined to it

Modern Rewrite:
350g (12.35 ounces) almond meal
450g (15.87 ounces) caster or fine sugar
1/2 cup or 125mL (4.23 fluid ounces) water

Place the water and sugar into a pan and heat over high heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Wash down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush and leave over high heat until it just starts to brown. Add the almonds and stir gently so that it does not crystallise, tip immediately onto a tray lined with baking paper.

My Cookbook

ann reardon crazy sweet creations cookbook
Stores that sell my book listed by country:
All recipe quantities in the book are in grams, ounces and cups.

24 Comments View Comments

  1. Rating: 5

    First How to Cook That recipe I have tried, and I love it! I really enjoy the 200 year old recipe series, and the bomboons were a good way to practice my caramel. They are very sweet (as noted in the video), so I dipped them in a 90% chocolate ganache. Also hard to cut, but I like the little random pieces. They are very addictive!

  2. Rating: 4

    I can’t seem to get the lemon pastils right, and I can’t find a single similar recipe online for clarification of anything. They all melt together and turn golden and taffy-like, nowhere NEAR what is seen in the video. The lowest my oven goes is 200F, but that should be fine considering the recipe says 230F, and they’re not even in there 10 minutes by the time they’re yellow and melted together. What am I doing wrong here? They look absolutely amazing in your video 🙁 I love lemon, and I was planning to put bits of dehydrated lemon on top if they turned out well.
    I don’t want to add a star rating, since I haven’t actually tasted the real result, so I’m giving it 4 for now as to not affect the overall rating.

    • Maybe too much lemon juice? Today’s lemons would be much larger than past ones.

    • if you added 3 full lemon juices it might not work because it might be to liqudy so maybe add 2 lemons or even 1 and a half as said in the video because i have tried this recipe for myself and it took a few tries with different amounts of juice.
      hope this helps 🙂

  3. Rating: 4

    Does the modern rewrite recipe need double cream?I can’t find double cream here in where I lived.

    • just use normal cream. i dont have double cream where i live either but it turned out just fine

  4. Rating: 3.5

    i was trying to boil it it but it kept on boiling over! any suggestions? Ps. i used 35% cream cause im in canada

  5. Rating: 5

    I made the coffee bomboons today! They were amazing but they stuck to the baking paper! To rectify, I placed it in a dish in another dish of boiling water to melt the stuck layer! Then coated each piece in sugar! Absolutely delicious and easy too. My candy thermometer says it was at soft ball so I removed it from the heat and they’re chewy and divine.

    Never made caramel before but these were beautiful! Thanks Ann!

  6. Rating: 5

    Hey Ann: these 200 year old recipes reminds me of a book I just fin8shed called “Consider the Fork” it’s an awesome and well researched read. I bet you would enjoy it.

  7. Rating: 4

    The Almond Bomboons were the most amazing candy I’ve ever tasted. I’m making them a second time now, and I can’t stop eating them; they’re seriously addictive. I tried making the lemon pastils but they melted in the oven, although it was probably just because my oven’s temperature leans too high.

  8. Rating: 5

    These are amazing! Thank you for explaining some of the oddities of old recipe books by giving a visual example of what in ‘tarnation’ (grandma’s favorite curse world) they were explaining.
    My favorite old recipe book is ‘The Williamsburg Art of Cookery’ by Mrs. Helen Bullock. It is a Colonial American compilation of recipes from the 1730s (at least the dated ones) to the 1930s. There is even mutton and cute poems! I would definitely suggest the book! Keep up the amazing work Ann! You are the most legit cook on the internet- not to mention my favorite! Cook Dave some mutton!

    • Sydnie,
      Thank you for the gentle ‘Tarnation’ reminder! I grew up w/great grandmother, that was one of her favorite words! New here and love the recipes! Thank you, Ann Reardon for sharing your knowledge and thoughts! Gail

      • ?

        • Hey Ann,

          Two years late but what the hey: “Tarnation” is an antiquated American minced oath for “damnation”. Assuming that’s what your ? referred to. 😉

    • thanks Sydnie I’ll look the book up

  9. Rating: 5

    Hi Ann, I love your videos. You are a genius.
    I tried to make the coffee bomboons (and I nailed it) but a big part of the mixture crystalized.
    How do I keep my candy from crystallizing? And if he does, what can I do with it?

    • a big part of preventing crystallization is washing the sides of the pot with a wet pastry brush.

  10. Rating: 3

    The same thing happened to me. The bomboons came out lovely but the pastils were burnt and golden and melted. They tasted awful.

  11. Rating: 2.5

    I tried to make the lemon pastils, but I did lime, lemon, grapefruit, and orange flavors. When I took them out of the oven all of them had spread out and turned golden. I don’t know what I did wrong. Can you help?

    • Every oven is different maybe try them at a friends oven to see if they come out differently??

    • I would recommend a lower heat setting? Check to see which temperature sugar starts to urn, and go lower. My guess would be to go at around 150-200 degrees fahrenheit to avoid burning while still drying the pastils.

    • Check on the lemon pastils throughout the 90 minutes and don´t just leave them in there. Wait till they get hard then take them out because you can´t just keep something in the oven that is already cooked.

  12. Rating: 5

    Love watching your videos from old recipes. Thank you for the time and money it takes to make these for us.
    My grannie at the age of 103 years young. Told me life was very hard for her. Everything for her was nothing but work. She could not go to the market to buy her staples, she had to grow and kill everything herself. She tells me that nothing is the same in our kitchens. Now days your desserts are so wonderful and easy and sanitary to prepare,she tells me “If I could die and come back, in this age of woman is where I would want to be, I would bake everyday all day.”

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