Don't Be The Last To Know About The Latest Anagram Cookie Craze!

Oh my word, I’m so in love with these things it’s almost unbearable.  My quest to find relatively simple, deliciously obscure holiday treats is over.  It’s a versatile cookie!  It’s an anagram!  YES, it’s a Jumble cookie!

A what?

A Jumble cookie.  They’re delightful and historical.  You almost feel as if you’re biting into an educated snack when you rip in to these puppies.

Still, a what?

If they’re such an iconic cookie, why haven’t they usurped the number one cookie spot from the Oreo?  Why isn’t there a Jumble season?  Well drag up a chair and get comfortable, and I’ll give you the extended history of the Jumble cookie.

Jumbles, believe it or not, are a simple cookie that dates to the Middle Ages.  Its speculated that the cookie originated in Italy, but they were fairly popular in the Middle East as far back as the 17th century.  Supposedly the cookies came over with the Jamestown settlers in the early 17th century and its also probable that the pilgrims brought the Jumble over on the Mayflower as well.  Even the first first lady of the United States, Mizz Martha Washington herself, had her own recipe.

The recipe is basically flour, sugar, eggs, butter, and a few flavorings such as caraway, coriander or anise and the end result is similar in texture to a sugar cookie today.  Modern Jumbles are more like a light, tender cookie with nuts and junk in it, but the traditional version of the cookie was boiled and then baked more like how you would a bagel.  This would probably explain the reason why the cookie came over with early settlers as they could make one batch and store them for up to a year.  (Gross.)  The shape of the old style cookies were in rings or pretzel shapes, whereas now they seem to appear more as drop cookies.

Jumbles appeared to be fairly popular here in the United States until the early part of the 20th century.  You know what else was invented in the early part of the 20th century?  Oreos.  I’m just saying…

Also, entertainingly enough, the cookie has a myriad of names.  Jambals, jemmeltoes, gemels, jumbolds to name a few.  They’re living up to their name and their implied meanings.

I made these cookies with fruit and nuts that I had on hand, but the spice, nut and fruit options are open to whatever suits your fancy. Evah unf amnikg ethse!  I mean, have fun making these!  And rcsew uoy reoos!

Modern Jumbles


-1 cup butter, softened

-2/3 cup sugar

-2 eggs

-1/2 tablespoon baking powder

-1 teaspoon vanilla

-2 cups (or so) fresh squeezed orange juice

-Grated zest from one orange

-1 cup raisins

-2 cups chopped walnuts

-1-2 tablespoons ground caraway seed

-1 tablespoon cinnamon

-3 finger pinch of kosher salt


1. Soak those raisins in the orange juice.  If you can, let them go overnight.  If not, just start those first before doing anything else on this recipe.

How To:

1. Preheat the oven to 350.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

2. Cream the butter and sugar together until its fluffy.

3. Add in both eggs, beat until smooth and light.

4. Add in spices, salt, baking powder and flour.  Beat everything really well, the dough will be fairly light.

5. Add in the raisins (drained!!), the nuts and the zest.  Beat everything until well incorporated.

6. drop by SMALL spoonfuls (think a tablespoon size) onto the parchment lined baking sheets.  Leave a little room between each cookie.

7. Bake 10-12 minutes.  The cookie will be soft when it is finished, but look for a slightly browned edge.

8. Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack, where they will harden.

Makes about 5 dozen.


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