Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Blueberry Tea

The first time I had Blueberry Tea was pretty much exactly a year ago... give or take two weeks. Haha, really, seriously now - give them back, I could use an extra few weeks. Time goes by too fast as it is :)

Blueberry Tea

So, it was cold (really cold), there was snow everywhere, and we were in a pub in the mountains that didn't feel the need to turn up the heat. All the people in the pub were packed around the tables in front of the fireplace, but any outlying tables were downright breezy, which is where we had to sit. Needless to say a cold and frosty beer just wasn't going to cut it so a friend of mine ordered Blueberry tea.  I held off until the drink came because I don't drink hard alcohol and I don't like tea, but after tasting it, it wasn't all that bad.

It's called Blueberry Tea because the blend of tea and alcohol is supposed to have a subtle blueberry taste to it. That might be true - maybe if I close my eyes and didn't know what I was drinking, but regardless it's a nice 'warm you up' kind of drink.

In perusing my mom's scribblers I came across a recipe for it. Perfect! I had purchased Amaretto for some biscotti I was making and just needed tea and Grand Marnier to make the drink.  I probably wouldn't have purchased the alcohol just for one drink, but it's the Christmas season and it would be nice to have something warm for people to drink.

The recipe is really basic.  I'd have to try the drink with Earl Grey as I've heard it is made with that also. But, I went with Orange Pekoe.

Blueberry Tea
Mom's Scribbler
  • Orange Pekoe Tea, brewed to however strong you like.
  • 1 ounce Amaretto
  • 1 ounce Grand Marnier

Enjoy! And Merry Upcoming Christmas....only 9 more sleeps and 8 more shopping days!

Blueberry Tea

Monday, December 8, 2014

Thimble cookies

I don't know where the time goes, but it goes by pretty darn fast. One day I'm thinking it's Monday...I have the whole week ahead of me and in a blink it's Thursday and I haven't done half of what I want to and even less of what I need to do before Friday because Saturdays are ME days and laundry and all other things wait!  I wish days were longer....yup even Mondays :)

Being all belated on this post, I figure I'd at least explain what has sucked up some of my attention -  besides re-watching Torchwood, that is. I spent some time crocheting a couple headbands, a doggie jacket for my mom's dog, Chico - who is the sweetest little guy, and an owl hat.  I like doing other things while watching tv, it's like it doesn't count if I'm doing stuff since I have something to show for it at the end.

crocheted owl beanie

But on to the cookies - which I forgot to take a picture of when they were completely finished and I had drizzled with melted white chocolate. Sorry!

When I was here, visiting my mom a year ago, I wrote down her recipe for Thimble cookies. Since I had some homemade Blueberry-Cherry jam that I made this summer, I figured I'd put it to good use.  The cookies taste really good and they are easy to make, but I think the recipe is off somewhat in that it seems like the baking time is way too long and the dough isn't firm enough to hold up to longer baking times with the lower cooking temperature - they spread way to much - I even left the rolled dough balls in the fridge to firm up.

Thimble cookie dough balls
I'm going to skip all the gather ingredients and mix up the cookie pictures. The recipe is pretty simple to follow along.  So....wow, that sure made the mixing the dough steps go by quick! ;)

Once you have your dough all nicely mixed up, roll the dough into balls. Mine were 1 level tablespoon.  It's just easier to have them ready.

Gather up some coconut and/or crushed almonds, and beat the egg white. hahah, that was one bad egg!

Thimble cookie prep

Now, I can tell you this and I'm sure for a billion people this is simple, but my brain does not like to play nice with my hands.  The simple basic idea is one wet hand - one dry hand.

Thimble cookie egg bath

With one hand (the wet) you drop the dough into the egg white and then ONTO the coconut or almonds.

Thimble cookie crushed almond

With the other hand (dry hand) you roll the cookies in the coconut or almonds and then put them on the cookie sheet.

See those cookies...yup, that dozen right below...I had to wash my hands 6 times...SIX TIMES so I wouldn't get coconut or almonds in the egg white. Every second freakin cookie I used the wet hand in the dry ingredients or dry in the wet.  Even telling myself 'pay attention' I couldn't do it!

My brain is not connected to my hands!

Thimble cookies ready to indent

I did get them done, as you can see, and then decided I needed therapy to get over my obsessiveness with having coconut or almonds in the egg whites :)

Thimble cookies - indent with extract lid

The first batch I made, I used the top of an extract bottle to make the indent and then following the recipe, I baked the cookies for 15 minutes, pulled them out of the oven to indent again...and I was disappointed :(   The cookies spread - a lot.

I used two spoons and mooshed them back in to shape. Yup, it's a technical cooking term..I've used it before, so it makes it real :)  Indented again, and baked for another 10 minutes...watching them spread the entire time. *sigh* I removed them from the oven and filled them with jam.

It was NOT the picture perfect cute rounded jam filled little cookies I've seen before.  *another sigh*

The second batch had longer fridge time before putting in the oven. For this dozen I used a teaspoon for the indent - definitely my favorite of the two methods.

Thimble cookies - indent with teaspoon

Again, I baked them for 15 minutes, pulled them from the oven,  mooshed them back together and indented again, where needed ..but this time I put the jam in so that it would bake too..and a white chocolate chip. I prefer doing it this way too. The jam thickens a bit and makes it easier for storing.

Thimble cookies mooshed back in to shape

I shortened the cooking time of the second baking bit for this batch. 15 minutes is way too long and I'd probably even say 10 minutes is too much also.

Pulled from the oven, I mooshed them together again.   Sorry, this is where the cookie pictures end...so..here are some lights on my tree - with my favorite heart ornament :)

Merry Christmas

Once the cookies cooled, I drizzled white chocolate over the tops. Yum.  Although I think they were a bit over baked, they were good. They had a bit of a crunch to them with a softer inside.

I would make these again and play around a bit more with the temperature and baking times. I don't think any 'mistakes' would make terrible tasting cookies.

Moms Thimble Cookies
As written

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2/3 cup of coconut or almonds (finely chopped)
  • Jam
  1. Cream butter and sugar together
  2. Beat in egg yolk
  3. Stir in rest of ingredients and mix well.
  4. Shape into balls
  5. Make indent with thimble
  6. Dip in egg white and roll in the coconut or nuts
  7. Bake 325 F for 15 minutes
  8. Indent again
  9. Bake 10 - 15 mins more
  10. Fill with Jam
  11. Let cool

Friday, November 28, 2014

Chicken and Broccoli Impossible Pie

I have a hard time with making non baked goods. It's not that I don't want to make other items, it's just that I rarely eat meat or packaged food, nor do I want to store/freeze extra food each time I want to test out a recipe in a cookbook - baked goods are easy to pawn of.

Impossibly, I pawned this Pie off on my mom for her dinner tonight. :)

Chicken & Broccoli Impossible Pie

Most of the things I eat are made from scratch, if possible, although I do admit to eating a lot of packaged soup lately... Campbell's Everyday Gourmet Tomato Basil is my newest favourite soup. It comes in a box and is just yummy.

The Chicken and Broccoli Impossible Pie is a handwritten recipe my mom wrote in the back of a cookbook. I don't know where she got it from originally, but it could be from the back of the Bisquick box. They have a similar recipe on the back of the box but the ingredients amounts are a bit different, so perhaps they have revised it since my mom copied it out.

The ingredients are pretty basic and easy to put together. I HATE onions, just really hate them more that I can even write about, so I traded them out for mushrooms. Hahaha, which I also hate, but not as much as the dreaded onion :) I also chose to use fresh broccoli instead of frozen. I weighed it and 300g is about 4 cups of fresh chopped.

Mix the chicken, broccoli, mushrooms (or dreaded onions), and 2 cups of the cheese together in a pie plate. It should be a deeper dish pie plate and not a low sided thing.

Mix the mix, eggs, salt, pepper, and Bisquick together and pour over the chicken and broccoli.

Bake for 30 - 40 minutes until a knife inserted into the pie comes out clean.

Top with the remaining 1 cup of cheese and bake for another 1 - 2 minutes. 

There you go. Impossible to believe that I will never make this again, I know :) But it's really not my kind of food. It really needs something to kick up the flavour besides the salt and pepper. Maybe some fresh herbs. It's not horrible, but I found it a bit bland.

Chicken & Broccoli Impossible Pie

  • 300 g package frozen chopped broccoli
  • 3 cups grated cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 1/2 cup cooked chicken
  • 2/3 cup chopped onions
  • 1 1/3 cup milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup Bisquick mix
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

  1. Heat oven to 400 F
  2. Grease pie plate
  3. Mix broccoli, 2 cups of cheese, chicken, and onions in the pie plate'
  4. Blend eggs, milk, bisquick, salt, and pepper together until smooth.
  5. Pour into pie plate.
  6. Bake until knife comes clean 30 - 40 mins.
  7. Top with remaining cheese.
  8. Bake until cheese is melted 1 - 2 minutes longer.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Oatmeal Muffins can cause Disappointment

First, let me say, I have to figure out the lighting in my house. I don't consider myself a professional photographer at all, but even I can tell the lighting is horrible. I really do miss the floor to ceiling windows I had in Toronto and all the light.

So on to the cooking bit of this post - I made Oatmeal Muffins from the newer Five Roses Flour cookbook and from the start I knew I should of packed it in and just went to bed.

I guess they look okay and they taste alright, but that's on the low side of okay and alright :) The raisins add the only excitement to this muffin.  hahah, trying these I imagined these would be good 'safety' food to pack with you in case you get stranded.  Whole wheat flour and oats to fill you up, but not tasty enough to gobble up even before you've left the house :)

Oatmeal muffins

I gathered the ingredients and accidentally spilled some whole wheat flour on the shortening. Not a big deal really, so I tipped the dish over the flour bag and gently shook the dish to shake off the flour...and ever so nicely dumped the shortening in to the bag too!  You can see the sad looking shortening in the picture below. I even got a bit of flour in the egg :)

Oatmeal muffins ingredients

If the baking powder looks odd, it's because it is.  I thought I had enough. I even keep my spices and dried herbs in canning jars so I can see how much I have, and it looked like I had enough. I need my eyes checked! I had 2 teaspoons of baking powder and then visited Google to find a substitute for the other 2.

The recipe starts off with scalding milk. I've never scalded milk before, so once again off to visit my good friend Google. Scalding, is the process of heating the milk until it just starts to get bubbles around the outside. If it starts to bubble in the middle then you've gone to far.  This worked out well and I was happy with the outcome and cheerfully dumped the shortening and oats in to the pan, giving it a quick stir. At this point I was getting even more skeptical of a good outcome; it was pretty thick.

While the oat paste was thickening nicely in the pot, I mixed together the dry ingredients.

Oatmeal muffins - a sticky situation

At this point I reread the recipe a dozen times wondering where the extra liquid was. My eyes must keep missing it somehow, perhaps I looked at the wrong recipe? Perhaps they forgot and it is actually written in the directions, please help.......haha, even now I want to double check again!

I forged ahead knowing without a doubt that this would not be a batter, but a sticky dough. I hoped that the milk that was soaked in the oatmeal would miraculously contain enough moisture to produce glorious muffins that I would proudly show off all dripping with butter. Ha!

I used two spoons to drop *cough SCRAPE cough* the oat paste into the greased muffin tins and put it in the oven for 15 minutes, and WALA! Let the hockey season start, I have 12 pucks! :)

Oatmeal hockey pucks

Ok, I'm being horribly mean to these little heavy muffins, they are Ok in a desperate I have nothing to eat in the house type of way, but I'll never ever make them again. Ever. Well, unless someone else makes them and can tell me what the heck went wrong.  The powder situation might not make them rise, but it has no influence on the thick paste state of affairs :)

Oatmeal Muffins
Five Roses Flour cookbook - 1970? (pg 258)

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup Ogilvie Quick Oats
  • 2 Tbsp shortening
  • 1 cup Five Roses Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup seedless raisins
  • 1 egg, beaten

  1. Preheat oven.
  2. Scald milk; add oats and shortening and cool at room temperature.
  3. Meanwhile, combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder and salt together.
  4. Stir in raisins.
  5. Add beaten egg to the oat mixture and pour in center of dry ingredients.
  6. Stir quickly until ingredients are just mixed and batter is lumpy in appearance.
  7. Fill greased muffin tins, 2/3 full.
  8. Bake in a hot oven.

Temperature: 210 C ( 400 F )
Cooking Time: 15 to 20 minutes
Yield: 12 medium muffins

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Hermit Cookies

"Soft, fruity, spice-flavoured drops"

Hermit Cookies

It's been a busy few weeks so I haven't been able to post. Well, that's not entirely true...while I don't own a smart phone, I'm never very far from internet service...but I was busy! I baked cookies 2 weeks ago, for Halloween, but the recipe didn't come from any of my mom's cookbooks. I had made more Jack cookies.  And well, I moved again... this time in to a condo in the same building as my mom. The landlord was nice and didn't make me sign a lease. So that's handy! But...what I found out with all the moving of stuff is that I lost my (one and only and favorite) aluminum baking sheet, so the cookies I made last night were made in cake tins :) Took a bit longer being only able to bake 6 at a time, but it wasn't all a waste since I watched a couple episodes of Person of Interest.

I gathered up the ingredients while Reese and Carter were trying to make their way to FBI headquarters with Quinn. Lots of gunfire with HR chasing them down.

With the sound of explosions and gunshots, I mixed the butter and shortening together and then added in the brown sugar, blending until smooth. Once done, I mixed in the 3 beaten eggs.

Hermit cookie batter

Reese and Carter made it to the NYC Morgue! Hahaha, great place to store a guy for a short time.  I would of thought the morgue vaults were sealed better so smell didn't leak out - which would make it harder to breathe...but I'm thinking I'll only get a chance to see the inside of one once and I won't be alive to talk about it.

Hermit cookie batter with nuts

I added in the flour and then stirred in the nuts. I just love how nuts and raisins (and other things too!) look sprinkled over cookie batter all waiting and ready to be mixed in :) It's the small things that make me happy.

Reese kissing Carter doesn't make me very happy.  Romances always work better in TV shows when you are always waiting. Once a couple gets together part of the fun goes out of the show.  Thankfully, my little issue with that romance was taken care of in this episode too! Oddly, I'd really like to see Reese with Shaw, I think that romance could actually be fun and not kill the show. Sorry to see Carter go. Hahah, this isn't a spoiler, I'm quite a few episodes behind.

OK, back to the cookies!  The dough had to chill for 1/2 hr to an hour, so I watched some more Person of Interest while I cleaned up the dishes.

Preheated the oven to 375 F and used a scoop to measure the batter. I'm too lazy to use two teaspoons like they suggest.  The directions say to bake them on a greased cookie sheet, but I found they are greasy enough and do not need anything extra.

Hermit cookies

Overall the cookies are pretty good. The chopped dates seem to melt, so you only really bite down on the raisins and nuts.  They were soft and yummy.

I don't know if I would make this recipe again. I'm not sure if it was me or the recipe, but I guess I expected them to be more puffy and not as flat. Sorry cookie...hahah, my reason for not making you again is not your taste, but how you look. I'm shallow as all that!

Hermit Cookies
Robin Hood Flour Prize Winning Recipes - 1947 (pg 86)

  • 1/2 cup soft butter
  • 1/2 cup soft shortening
  • 1 cup seedless raisins
  • 1 cup chopped dates
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts
  • 2 cups sifted ROBIN HOOD FLOUR
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 3 eggs, beaten

  1. Measure butter and shortening into mixing bowl. Wash and dry raisins, chop dates and nuts. Measure and combine.
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder, soda, salt, and spices. Cream softened butter and shortening until fluffy. Gradually add sugar, mixing until creamy. Add beaten eggs and combine thoroughly. Add dry ingredients and fruits and nuts. Mix well. Chill dough 1/2 to 1 hour.
  3. Drop chilled dough from teaspoon, 1 inch apart, on greased cookie sheets.
  4. Bake 375 F (Moderately hot oven) for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove cookies from pan. Place on wire cake rack to cool.

YIELD: 4-5 dozen cookies.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Date Squares revisited

Thanksgiving came and went - thankfully with no real impact to my waistline! It was a good day and evening.  We made the Turkey, vegetables, stuffing etc at my sisters house and then took it over to my moms to enjoy. It might seem like extra work, but it really did minimize any cleanup that had to be done at my mom's house and we spent our time visiting instead of slaving over dirty dishes.

A while ago I made Date Squares from the 1938 Five Roses Flour Cookbook and having no real creative motivation last week...I think I was still in a Turkey coma :)  I decided to remake the date squares using the updated Five Roses Flour recipe, plus I still had leftover dates and no real ideas on what to do with them...and I got a wee bit obsessed on crocheting headbands!

The recipes are pretty much the same with a few modifications that seem to make sense, like the removal of the baking powder and baking soda. I didn't really notice a difference in how they cooked up.

What I did notice was that the date mixture seemed drier and I had to add more water to get it to cook enough to be mushy, and...the newer recipe mentions

"Cook over medium heat until dates are soft and water is absorbed. Add vanilla and let cool."

But no where in the recipe does it mention vanilla as an ingredient, so I didn't add it in.

In the newer cookbook they have the Orange Date filling as a variation of the basic one, so I included both below. I chose the Orange Date filling to make since it more closely resembled the 1938 recipe.

Out of both recipes, I think I prefer the newer variation better. It just seemed more substantial and the bars were less thin. I guess it depends on if you like a thicker date middle, but flavourwise, I don't think there was much difference at all. 

Date Shortbread (Matrimony Cake)
Five Roses Flour Cook Book - 1970? (page 122)


  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4  1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2  cups old fashioned oatmeal

  • 500 g pitted dates
  • 3/4 cup hotwater
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

  1. Combine dry ingredients together
  2. Rub in butter with the tips of your fingers
  3. Spread half the mixture in a greased shallow pan (about 8 X 14 inches) and pat to make smooth.
  4. Cover with cooled Date Filling, spreading it evenly, then cover with remaining crumbs, pat to make smooth.
  5. Bake at 375F for 30 - 35 minutes.
  6. Increase heat slightly and bake for a few minutes longer to lightly brown the mixture.
  7. Cut in squares while warm and allow the shortbread to cool in the pan.

Orange Date Filling
Five Roses Flour Cook Book - 1970? (page 122)

  • 1/2 lb  1 lb chopped dates (500 g)
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 2 tbsp 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • Grated rind of 1/2 orange
  • 2 tbsp 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

  1. Cook dates, water, orange rind, and sugar in a small saucepan, over a moderate heat until thick and smooth
  2. Remove from heat and let cool

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Cranberry Tarts for Thanksgiving

This weekend is Thanksgiving in Canada. Mmmmm Turkey, stuffing, veggies and homemade cranberry sauce...and of course dessert. I'm not overly excited for pumpkin pie, so I decided to make something that still would blend in nicely with the holiday.

Cranberry Tart with Heart cutout

My mom and aunt made tarts when my aunt was here visiting this summer and my mom talks about them quite often. They used a recipe for Cranberry Meringue Pie from the Culinary Arts Institute Encyclopedic cookbook, but without the Meringue. Right next to that recipe is a similar recipe for Cranberry Pie, so I'm not sure why they didn't use that one instead. I'll have to ask when I'm over there on Sunday.

Cranberry Heart Tart

I cheated a wee bit and used pre-made pastry shells for the base and used extra shells to make the pastry decorations. I think it would of been easier to get the dough out of the shell when they were frozen...it's way too soft and fragile trying to get it out in a less than frozen state. Just sayin'.

It's a pretty easy recipe to follow but it takes a little bit of time to wait for all the cranberries to pop and also for the final cooking part. Just a wee bit of standing around.

I doubled the recipe, which made about 60 tarts. The recipe (as it's written below) says it makes 1 9" pie, so I wasn't sure what that equaled out to in tarts, so to be safe I doubled it. More to share!


After dissolving the sugar in 1.5 cups of the water, I added in the cranberries and let it cook down for a while on medium heat. A bit more than a simmer, but not a boil, so I could walk away from the stove without things burning.  I could hear the cranberries popping!

After cooking so that most of the cranberries had burst, I tempered the egg, butter, water, salt, cornstarch mixture with some of the hot cranberry mix, and then while stirring the cranberries on the stove, I slowly poured the tempered egg mix in. Please don't scramble the eggs...please don't scramble the eggs...please don't scramble the eggs...hahah, that was what I was thinking in my head. It was scary to think it all could go wrong in an instant.


At this point you let it cook until it turns clear and thickens up. I had the stove on medium-low (closer to medium) and it was taking quite a while to clear up, but it was getting less cloudy and thick. After about 20 minutes I had enough and to me it looked great..and goopy!

Cranberry filling cooking

I put the cranberry filling in the tart shells using a soup spoon. Yes, I know, I need to learn to do this more neatly...or you might be nice and think that the below picture isn't too bad, but well...this was the cleanest looking set of tarts I had :)

Cranberry Tarts filled with goodness

I added on cutouts of acorns, hearts, and baby hearts.  Wala! Off to the oven.

Cranberry Tarts with acorn cutouts

I poked little holes in the tops of the acorns to give them a more acorny look. My sis thought it was cute :)  I'm not sure how people make nice clean looking tarts that don't bubble up and over. These ones weren't overly full and they sank down quite a bit once I brought them out of the oven. Guess I'll have to google that..

Cranberry Tarts out of the oven

But messy or not, they are yummy. They are sweet and tart...and sticky! Sure, it's sad when a few tarts stick together, but there is a way to fix it...put them in your belly so no one sees them!

Cranberry Tarts
Culinary Arts Institute Encyclopedic Cookbook - 1950 (pg 572)

Cranberry Tarts for Thanksgiving

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 cups cranberries
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 2 egg yolks, beaten

  1. Cook sugar and 3/4 cup water until sugar is dissolved.
  2. Add cranberries and cook until they stop popping.
  3. Combine cornstarch, remaining water, salt, butter, and egg yolks and add a small amount of cranberries. 
  4. Mix thoroughly, add to remaining cranberries and cook until thickened and clear. 
  5. Pour into pastry shell, cover with meringue and proceed as directed.

Or in my case, pour into a bunch of tart shells.

The recipe for butter pecan tarts says to bake at 325 F for 20 - 25 minute, so that's what I did. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Banbury Cakes are my one weakness!

I've just finished watching the BBC TV series Lark Rise To Candleford a second time. This time with my sister and we just finished the last episode on Sunday night. It's a nice British period piece, if you are into those. Some laughs, some tears, and some characters who get annoying to listen to after a time :)
Banbury Cakes and Tea

"It's my one weakness", is a favorite saying of Dorcas Lane of the Candleford Post Office and Banbury Cakes just happens to be one of her weaknesses. Technically she has a lot of weaknesses, like milk baths and cashmere, but they don't happen to be something I can bake.

I was going to make Butter or Pecan Tarts this week, so imagine my excitement to come across a recipe for Banbury Cakes in my moms cookbook...and...to see that it's not a cake either, it's more of a fruit pastry made with currants (hahah, I thought it was a strange English countryside berry..banberry, not an English countryside place!).  I've never heard of this pastry before the TV series so I did a quick check online to see if the recipe in the 1938 Five Roses cookbook was somewhat similar to what Dorcas Lane might be been talking about in 19th century England, and it seemed to be so, so off to store to get the ingredients.

The lady at the checkout asked me if I was making a Christmas cake because I had all the fruity makings for one. I explained I was making Banbury cakes to which she just looked at me funny but the guy behind me in line asked me if I had ever been to Banbury or Oxfordshire because he grew up on Banbury cakes! I am more amazed every day how small the world is!

Anyone know the odds of a guy from England standing behind me in a grocery store in a town of 4000 people, who grew up on the not-a-berry-not-a-real-cake Banbury Cakes I was going to make after I stumbled across the recipe which I only knew about because I just watched a tv show that mentioned it???

Anyone??? I think very high odds..like winning the lottery odds :)

The filling for the Banbury Cakes is simple enough. I actually doubled the recipe - I wish I hadn't, because it doesn't sound like a lot, but it is! I tripled the pastry recipe and I still have a cup of the Banbury mixture left over!  Banbury Cakes are made with mixed peel and Currants. And, I just learned (by reading the package of currants) that they need to be put in the fridge after opening, odd - they look like tiny raisins.

I beat the butter... hahaha, mashed it about with a spatula is what I should of said...since it seemed a huge waste to try to use a mixer/blender for 4 tablespoons of butter. Then added the sugar and eggs.

The recipe calls for a few grains of allspice. Umm...no, I gave it a pinch since I had doubled the recipe after all and seriously...a few grains, the stuff looks like powder!

I then tossed in all the rest of the ingredients. It looks so pretty and festive! I had no clue what kind of crumbs to use, so I decided on a mixture of graham cracker crumbs and regular Premium Plus soda crackers. Also, my local store doesn't carry 'mixed peel' so I used citron peel and a bit of mixed fruit glace.

Banbury Cakes filling

Stir it all together. From pretty to pretty ugly in 2.5 seconds!

Banbury Cakes filling

I let that sit while I made up the pastry dough (there will be plenty of time for writing about that - just not today).

From what I saw online, Banbury cakes look more free form or at least like a big perogy where the dough is cut in a circle and folded over, but the recipe I have called for a round to be placed on a round and then sealed, so that's what I did :)  Follower of directions, that's me...somewhat, ha!

Putting the filling in the Banbury Cakes

I tried a few methods, first with the two rounds being the same size and then with the top round being a bit larger. I prefer the rounds being different sizes. With the top one being a bit larger, it folds around the filling better.  I have a dollar store set of stacking round cookie cutters, so it was easy since they all go up in size.

Banbury Cakes perogies!

I cut little slits in the top before baking and brushed with milk. Half of them I forgot to sprinkle sugar on, but I think they still turned out pretty.

Banbury Cakes out of the oven

Banbury Cake
Five Roses Cook Book - 1938 (pg 144)
Banbury Cakes and Tea

  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped mixed peel
  • 1 egg
  • 1 oz cracker crumbs
  • 3/4 cup currants
  • few grains of allspice
  • Pastry

  1. Beat butter to a cream, add sugar, then add well-beaten egg.  
  2. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. 
  3. Cut rounds of rich pastry and place spoonfuls of this mixture in the centre of half of them; moisten edges, cover with a second round of pastry. Seal edges carefully.
  4. Brush over with milk, prick tops, sprinkle with fine sugar, and bake in a hot oven (425 F) for 15 minutes.

Standard Plain Pastry
Five Roses Cook Book - 1938 (pg 135)

  • 1 1/2 cups FIVE ROSES flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/3 cup ice cold water
  1. Sift flour, salt, and baking powder.
  2. Mix in shortening with tips of fingers or two knives.
  3. Add the water, a little at a time, using just enough to bind the mixture.
  4. Collect all the moistened particles into a ball of dough.
  5. With as little handling as possible, form dough into a round disk.
  6. Place disk on slightly floured board. 
  7. The dough should be soft enough not to break when it is rolled; it should be stiff enough not to stick to a lightly floured board.
  8. Handle the pastry as lightly as possible. Kneading will toughen it.
  9. Roll the dough from the center outward - always rolling wiht a light even pressure, to a thickness of 1/8 to 1/4 inch.
  10. Line pie plates, tart shells, etc., and bake as directed.

Note: Enough pastry for 1 two-crust pie of average size, or 1 pie-shell and 6 tarts.
For a richer pastry, increase the amount of shortening to 2/3 cup. The amount of water required will depend on the type of shortening used.