Sunday, December 18, 2005

My signature cookie



Welsh Cookies
Silver Spring Presbyterian Church Cookbook ’98 Copyright 1998

1 c. margarine I use 1/2 c. margarine and 1/2 c Crisco because that's what the original recipe I had (that I lost) called for
1 c. sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/8 c. milk
½ lb box of currants I use raisins
3 ¼ cup flour
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. nutmeg
½ tsp. cream of tartar
½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder

Cream shortening – add sugar and cream together well. Add beaten eggs and milk. Sift dry ingredients together and add to above mixture. Stir in currants. Take portions of dough and roll on a slightly floured board about 1/8 inch thick and cut with a cookie cutter. On top of stove – use an ungreased griddle over low to medium heat. Turn when golden brown – when other side is golden brown toss both sides with sugar (while hot). I don't coat them in sugar.

These Welsh cookies (or they're sometimes called cakes) are often seen in the area where I grew up (around Scranton, PA). They're made locally and sold in small sleeves. Each little cookie is fried up on a griddle like a little pancake. I think I've made these every year since I started baking Christmas cookies on my own, as an adult, probably 15 years ago. There are other recipes that held on for several Christmas but over the years I've dropped old recipes and added new recipes (my mother's fruitcake was only added a couple of years ago). This is the only recipe that I've never even considered not making anymore.

I love that these cookies are 'different'. Nutmeg is the only flavoring - no vanilla. The texture is hard for me to describe - maybe somewhere between a dense biscuit and a soft cookie. They're soft but not chewy. I use a combination of margarine and shortening because that's what the original recipe I had called for. Would butter work? I don't know. I'm not willing to experiment.

This recipe seems like a lot of work but the dough is very easy to handle and if you have a large electric griddle, you can cook these up in no time. I suggest only putting a couple of them on the griddle at first, until you get a feel for them. Since I only make them once a year, even I have to start slowly every year. I think a good temp for the griddle is around 325 degrees.

My original recipe came from my mother's copy of her church's cookbook. I lost that and was lucky enough to find this recipe in a church cookbook from this area. I was surprised to see a similar recipe in the old Farm Journal's Country Cookbook I have since I've so rarely seen anything similar in any other cookbooks.

24 comments:

Tricia said...

1/2 box currants/raisins - but what size box???

Anyway, your blog has such an intriguing title that I thought I would read it for a few weeks. I saw the title of this post and the photo and thought "those look more like pancakes than cookies." Then I read the narrative. Aha! Each little cookie is fried up on a griddle like a little pancake. That explains it! My husband's family has Welsh origins, maybe I should try these out some time on that basis... :^)

The Cookbook Junkie said...

It says 1/2 'lb'(pound) box but I just add raisins until it seems like enough are distributed throughout the dough.

I have no idea how authentically Welsh these are but I hope you will try them and enjoy them.

I should have mentioned that I've made these on the stove, in a non-stick pan, and that works fine too. It just takes a lot longer to get the job done.

Michaela said...

These sound so interesting! I'm going to have to try them out.

How well do they keep?

The Cookbook Junkie said...

These keep very well, in an air-tight container. They also freeze beautifullly.

veuveclicquot said...

Yum. Thanks for sharing the recipe and describing the 'welsh cookies.' I'm looking forward to making a cookie that isn't baked. :)

FlakyLMD said...

My husband family is welsh and this is very close to his recipe. We make them at Christmas also and use a big electric skillet. :o)

David said...

Thought I would throw this in to the mix so to speak....Lard. My deceased Grandmother Blanche Janes of the Hyde Park neighborhood of Scranton used to make these cookies. Once a year her ladies group at the church (St Marks Lutheran) would gather together to make 100's of dozen cookies to be sold for charity. For convenience sake and health issues these cookies were made with shortening,but originally they were made with lardlard was used. .it you'll tast the difference. Yum

The Cookbook Junkie said...

I should experiment. Hey, this might be a good time since my oven is on the fritz right now and these cookies don't need to be baked.

Big Will said...

I am grew up in scranton as well and made these at a church when i was young and i remember the amount of lard they used, much better flavor and not so bad if you only eat them during the holidays

Penny L. Richards said...

I also grew up near Scranton, with Welsh ancestry, and made these today for my daughter's Brownie troop. They were supposed to bring a dessert from their "heritage." We also printed up a Welsh flag and map and the lyrics to "Ar Hyd y Nos," for our display.

So I should tell you, I used butter and currants--they came out fine, delicious, in fact! Thanks for the great recipe, it was very easy to follow.

The Cookbook Junkie said...

I'm glad you liked them. I tempted to try them with lard or butter but it's hard to break (my) tradition. I have used currants but I prefer raisins.

chronicpositivity said...

My grandmother made these every year for Christmas as well (we lived in the Pittston area). If I'm not mistaken, she used lard instead of shortening. She was adamant about using currants instead of raisins.

Angie Phipps said...

I've never had Welsh cookies, but I have an old recipe from my grandmother. We are from Quakertown, PA, and my aunts and uncles always talk about these cookies. I thought I would make them this year. I'll let you know how they turn out.

Anonymous said...

I think that currents make it authentic, as opposed to raisins. People in SE PA (where I now live) find these interesting and are amazed that they are 'fried'. Remind me of home (Scranton).

The Cookbook Junkie said...

Some years I use raisins and some years I use currants and honestly there isn't too much of a difference even though currants are more authentic. The raisins tend to be plumper. This year I used currants.

I still have to try the lard. I only make them once a year so I'll have to do a test batch sometime before next Christmas.

Becky said...

My husband & I just made a batch using butter & shortening. We even pulled out his grandma's special bowl to mix up the dough. He was so excited to create the cookie of his childhood! We're taking them to church tomorrow for coffee hour. His Grandma lived in Scranton. From a huge family. I'm guessing a bunch of us posting are distant cousins.

Jeff said...

Gotta use currants!

Anonymous said...

I am from Wilkes-Barre,PA and 100 % Welsh and grew up making these cookies!!!

Cheryl said...

How timely to come across this post as I sit here going through old church cookbooks comparing recipes to my grandmother's - all very similar and yet different! The older recipes refer to oleo, lard & currents. (The 1993 United Baptist Church recipe includes mace. I'm not even sure I know what that is!) I made them years ago using margarine, shortening, & raisens. They didn't compare to those made with lard which are softer and flakier.

ps. I'm from Taylor, PA and also remember the church lady's annual fund raisers. I wonder if they still do that?

The Cookbook Junkie said...

I was going to try lard this Christmas but the brand of lard I bought was disgusting. I had to throw out an entire batch of dough. I didn't have enough time to find better lard but I will try the lard again someday.

Someone made these for a bridal shower I attended recently - I like mine better. I didn't taste nutmeg - thought it was cinnamon but maybe it was mace - which is one of the few spices you can't find in my overcrowded spice cabinet.

I don't know about the annual ladies fundraisers, Cheryl. The big church 'picnics' (fesivals) might even be fading away. The church I attended growing up didn't have one last year. It's so hard to make money off those big events these days. We even lost our Fireman's Carnival, which is the equivalent of a church picnic in this area.

Anonymous said...

My husband is from Scranton(W Linden St) and this is where I first had Welsh cookies. I think is was at the Lutheran church block party. I love these with a GREAT cup of coffee. Thanks for sharing your recipe. Can't wait to try them

Rick B said...

I'm going to have to try these. I grew up in Clarks Summit, Pa and they still make them locally. Schiff's in Scranton carries them.
Thanks for the recipe!

Rick B said...

Also...a gal I went to school with at Abington Heights moved up to Maine and sells them...you can order via her web site...

http://www.welshcookiecompany.com/

Don said...

My Grandmother made these for years and now my sisters and I get together each year to make many batches. We donate about 4 batches to our local Fire Company that has an annual "Cookie Walk" and has been a very popular cookie. I use lard and currents. This recipe also uses nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice, a very favorable combination I am from Clarks Summit, PA, born and raised in this area. Grandmother lived in Factoryville as long as I remember but I think the original family came from Scotland area.