Type to search

Mrs. Lefferts’ New Year’s cakes

Serves about 12 dozen, depending on size


  • 1 pound light brown sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten with a fork
  • 2 tablespoons caraway seeds
  • finely grated zest of 2 oranges
  • 8 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup milk


Preheat the oven to 350º F.

  1. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, baking soda, salt and egg; stir to dissolve the sugar, making sure no brown lumps remain. Set aside.
  2. In another bowl, use a dough blender to cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
  3. Slowly stir the milk into the sugar mixture and pour it through a sieve into the flour and butter.
  4. Add the caraway seeds and orange zest.
  5. Let the dough rest for a while before rolling it out.
  6. Roll the dough out as thinly as possible-less than 1/4 -inch thick. Cut with a 4-inch oval cookie cutter, if available, or cut into small diamonds. (Alternative: Divide the dough into 4 pieces and shape each into a square log. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, then cut the logs into paper-thin squares.)
  7. Place cookies on baking sheets and bake 12 to 15 minutes, or until the cookies have a very pale color and are crisp and dry.

Leftover dough freezes well.

Hudson Valley Restaurant Week is back this April 8-21!