Gluten-free Cornish Hevva Cake

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I recently came across a recipe for Cornish Hevva cake on FrugalFeeding.com and thought that it looked delicious and also that it sounded like it had an interesting history behind it. I loved the image of the fisherman’s housewives starting to bake as soon as the lookout called that their husbands were returning home. So I made a mental note to give “the cake” a try sometime.

I made a gluten-free version which produces a sweet, crumbly biscuit. It reminded me of a very thin version of Scottish shortbread with dried fruit. It went very nicely with a glass of milk  – for my first piece, which I ate before it had any time to cool – and also with a cup of tea later on.

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Ingredients

1 1/3 c. (scant) gluten-free all-purpose flour

1/4 c. granulated white sugar + extra for sprinkling

1/2 t. ground cinnamon

1/2 t. ground ginger

pinch salt

7 T. + 1 t. unsalted butter, cut into pieces

8.5 oz dried blueberries

3 T. whole milk, approximately

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter a large baking sheet.

2. Whisk together flour, 1/4 c. of the sugar, cinnamon, ginger and salt.

3. Using your hands, work butter into dry ingredients.

4. Mix in blueberries using a large spoon. Then slowly stir in milk until mixture forms a crumbly, stiff dough. (It holds together like a dough when pinched.)

5. Scrape sides of bowl and transfer the dough to the center of the greased baking sheet. Lightly pat into a disk, then roll out to just under 1/2-inch thick.

6. Using a paring knife, score the top of the dough to resemble a fishing net. Sprinkle with a little more sugar.

7. Bake cake for 25 t0 30 minutes or until there are no raw spots. (Because this is gluten-free, it doesn’t really get golden brown.)

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Notes

I made a few minor changes to Nick’s recipe on Frugal Feeding

• I substituted dried blueberries for currants, because I was out of currants.

• I substituted gluten-free flour (Glutino brand gluten-free all-purpose flour) for the plain flour, because I wanted a gluten-free version.

• Nick’s directions call for rolling the dough out on a floured surface, then transferring the dough to a greased baking sheet. I just rolled it out directly on the greased baking sheet. I wasn’t sure that I wanted to mix in any more flour since I had used a substitution and wasn’t sure how that would affect the recipe.

• I sprinkled the sugar on before baking because I thought that would work fine.

• I forgot to cut the pieces on the diagonal for serving. Old habits. I’ve made a mental note to correct that next time – but the biscuits were still delicious!

• I think that American cooks can probably go ahead and use the whole 8 T. of butter that come in a stick. I weighed ingredients to convert from metric measurements and the butter measure came to 7 T. plus 1 t. For my first time making the recipe I wanted to stick to the original measures. If using 8 whole tablespoons of butter, one could probably also use a full 1 1/3 cup of flour. I’ll try that next time.

Thanks for introducing me to Hevva Cake, Nick!

Spiced Mexican Wedding Cookies

When baking an assortment of cookies for the holidays, it is nice to have both a variety of shapes and of flavors. Mexican Wedding Cookies are small, buttery, nut cookies, rolled in sugar that provide a contrast to drop cookies and to cut-out cookies in shape and provide contrast to chocolatey and to fruity cookies in flavor. This version, with spices mixed into the rolling sugar is both flavorful and aromatic. I made this batch last night and loved the way that they made the kitchen smell. Added bonuses are that these cookies are easy to make keep well for gift-giving. Enjoy!
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Spiced Mexican Wedding Cookies

Makes about 32

Mexican Wedding Cookies – also known as Russian Tea Cakes, Italian Tea Cakes, Snowball Cookies, and Butter Balls, and probably a dozen other names – are a traditional Christmas cookie  in the United States. They are buttery cookies made with ground nuts, baked, and then rolled in confectioner’s sugar. In this version, aromatic cinnamon and cloves are added to the sugar.

• 1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened

• 2 T. confectioner’s sugar + 1/2 c. extra for rolling cookies

• 1 t. vanilla extract, or almond extract (if using almonds), or hazelnut extract (if using hazelnuts)*

• 1 c. all-purpose flour

• 1 c. pecans, walnuts, almonds or hazelnuts, very finely chopped or pulsed in the food processor to the texture of coarse kosher salt

• 1 t. ground Vietnamese cinnamon

• 1/4 t. ground cloves

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In large bowl, beat butter until light and fluffy. Beat in 2 T. of the confectioner’s sugar and the vanilla extract. On lowest speed, beat in flour and then nuts. The mixture will be very crumbly.
  3. Spoon a small about (about 1 heaping teaspoon) of mixture into one of your palms. Squeeze lightly until the mixture holds together then shape into a ball. Place on baking sheet. Repeat with remaining mixture, spacing the balls well apart on the 2 baking sheets.
  4. Bake for about 11 to 13 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned on the bottom. The tops of the cookies will be very pale. Place baking sheets on wire racks and allow cookies to cool.
  5. Once cool, whisk the spices into the remaining 1/2 c. of confectioner’s sugar. Roll the cookies in confectioner’s sugar mixture until well coated. Once you have rolled all of the cookies once, roll them in the mixture again until you have used all of it. To avoid getting finger prints in the cookies, transfer cookies to a serving plate or a storage container using a fork to lift them.

Enjoy! Happy Holidays!

Young Bakers & Chocolate Mint Crinkle Cookies Recipe

It was cold and dreary here today, so my friend Sara and her daughters came over to bake cookies. What a perfect afternoon to have the oven on … and the girls did a great job!

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ChocolateMintCrinkles

Chocolate Mint Crinkles

Makes about 58 cookies

Chocolaty sugar cookies with Andes’ Mints.

1 c. all-purpose flour

1/3 c. Dutch process cocoa

1/2 t. baking powder

1/2 t. baking soda

1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened

1/3 c. light brown sugar, firmly packed

1/3 c. granulated white sugar

1 lg. egg

2 t. bourbon or 1/2 t. vanilla extract

1 1/4 c. finely chopped Andes’ mints or Andes’ creme de menthe baking chips

2/3 c. sparkling decorator’s sugars*

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line 4 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.
  3. In large bowl, beat together butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and then bourbon or vanilla extract. On lowest mixer speed, beat in dry ingredients and then mints.
  4. Scoop a rounded teaspoonful of dough, roll into a ball, roll in decorator’s sugar to completely coat and then place on baking sheet. Repeat, spacing balls of dough at least 2” apart. When the first baking sheet is filled, bake cookies for about 14 to 16 minutes or until just barely set. Meanwhile, finish rolling the remaining dough.
  5. As baking sheets come out of the oven, place them on wire racks and allow cookies to cool.

* Sparkling sugars are available through baking specialty companies such as King Arthur Flour and Wilton. For this recipe, I use white, green or gold sugar, depending on the occasion.

Happy Baking! Have a great weekend!

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Pear Drop Cookies with Lemon Icing

Sweet, soft cookies with bits of fresh pear, flavorful autumn spices and a zesty lemon icing.

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Pear Drops

Makes about 24 cookies

1/2 c. peeled and diced pear

1 t. fresh lemon juice

3/4 c. all-purpose flour

1/3 c. rolled oats

1/2 t. ground cinnamon

1/4 t. baking soda

1/4 t. ground nutmeg

1/4 t. salt

1/3 c. unsalted butter, softened

1/4 c.  granulated white sugar

2 T. dark brown sugar, firmly packed

1/2 t. freshly grated lemon zest

2 T. of beaten egg

3/4 t. almond extract

1/3 c. sweetened dried cranberries

1 1/2 t. cinnamon sugar (or Lemon Icing, recipe below)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Toss pear chunks in lemon juice and set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine flour, oats, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and salt. Set aside.
  4. In another bowl, beat together butter, sugars and lemon zest. Beat in egg and almond extract.
  5. On lowest mixer speed, beat flour mixture into butter mixture. Fold in pear chunks and cranberries.
  6. Scoop batter by rounded teaspoonful onto bakings sheets, spacing cookies 2” apart. Sprinkle cookies with cinnamon sugar, if not using Lemon Icing.
  7. Bake for approximately 12 to 14 minutes or until cookies are set and lightly browned. Place baking sheets on wire racks and allow cookies to cool.

Lemon Icing

A tart icing that enhances the citrus flavor in baked goods.

1 c. confectioner’s sugar

1 T. + 1 t. fresh lemon juice

1/2 t. fresh lemon zest, optional

1/4 t. lemon extract, optional

  1. Place confectioner’s sugar in a small bowl.  Stir in lemon juice until the mixture is perfectly smooth and a workable consistency. (Icing should run off a spoon in a thick stream.) If desired, stir in 1/2 t. fresh lemon zest or 1/4 t. lemon extract for a stronger flavor.
  2. Drizzle or pipe onto baked goods right away. (This is thick enough to pipe thin lines but not thick enough to pipe firm shapes.)

Enjoy! Have a great weekend!

Chocolate Anisettes

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Chocolate Anisettes

A variation on traditional Anisette Cookies

Makes about 36 Cookies

3/4 c. + 2 T. all-purpose flour

2 T. Dutch process cocoa

3/4 t. ground aniseed

1/2 t. baking powder

1/4 t. salt

1/2 c. vegetable shortening

1/2 c. confectioner’s sugar

1 lg. egg

1 t. orange extract

Anisette Glaze

nonparaeils to decorate (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. In medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, aniseed, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

3. In large bowl, beat shortening and confectioner’s sugar until well combined. Beat in egg and then orange extract. Beat in dry ingredients.

4. Scoop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls and place 2″ apart on baking sheets.

5. Bake for about 14 to 16 minutes or until lightly browned. Right before taking cookies out of the oven, make glaze. (Recipe below.)

6. Place baking sheets on a wire rack when you remove them from the oven.  Working one cookie at a time, immediately glaze cookies with Anisette Glaze and then sprinkle with nonpareils, if using decorations.

Anisette Glaze

A citrusy, licorice-flavored glaze.

1 1/3 to 1 1/2 c. confectioner’s sugar

1 t. orange extract

1/4 t. anise extract

2 T. boiling water

1. Place 1 1/3 c. of confectioner’s sugar in a small bowl. Stir in extracts. Gradually stir in just enough boiling water to make a thick, pourable glaze. Stir in more sugar if needed and keep stirring until perfectly smooth.

2. Working one at a time, spoon glaze over warm cookies. If decorating with nonpareils, immediately sprinkle them over glaze. Repeat with remaining cookies.

Yummy Maples Cookies

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Maples

Makes about 20 cookies.

Flavored with real maple syrup, these soft sugar cookies have an extra layer of flavor.

1 c. all-purpose flour

1 t. corn starch

1/2 t. baking soda

1/8 t. salt

1/4 c. unsalted butter, softened*

1/4 c. vegetable shortening

3/4 c. granulated white sugar

2 T. maple sugar or firmly packed light brown sugar

2 T. real maple syrup

1 lg. egg

1/4 t. vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk together flour, corn starch, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In large bowl, beat together butter and shortening until well combined. Beat in sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in maple syrup, then egg and vanilla. On lowest mixer speed, beat in dry ingredients.
  4. Scoop by rounded tablespoonfuls and roll into smooth balls. Place balls of dough on baking sheets spacing cookies 2” apart.
  5. Bake for approximately 16 to 18 minutes or until set and very lightly browned around the edges. Place baking sheets on wire racks and allow cookies to cool.

* You can use 1/2 c. butter and omit the vegetable shortening for a thinner, crisper cookie.

Walnut Maples variation: Follow the recipe above, beating in 3/4 c. finely chopped walnuts after dry ingredients. Makes about 28 cookies.

Serving Suggestion: Drizzle cooled cookies with Maple Syrup Icing before serving.

Maple Syrup Icing

 A light brown icing that goes well with most baked goods.

3/4 c. confectioner’s sugar

about 1/4 c. real maple syrup

  1. Place confectioner’s sugar in a medium bowl. Stir in maple syrup until the icing is perfectly smooth.
  2. Drizzle or pipe onto cooled baked goods. (This is thick enough to pipe thin lines but not thick enough to pipe firm shapes.)

Recipes from my cookbook Confectionately Yours: A Collection of Cookies, Candies & Yummy Confections. Enjoy!

Chocolate Rum Raisin Cookies

Have a lovely holiday weekend, everyone!Image

Chocolate Rum Raisin Cookies

Soft chocolate cookies flavored with rum.

 Makes about 26 cookies

3/4 c. raisins

1/3 c. golden or dark rum

2 T.  water

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

1/2 c. Dutch process cocoa

1/2 t. baking powder

1/2 t. baking soda

1/4 t. salt

3/4 c. + 2 T. granulated white sugar

1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened

1 lg. egg

2 t. rum extract

1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips or  2 1/2 oz. chopped semi-sweet chocolate

  1. In a small saucepan, over medium heat, bring raisins, rum and water to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for about 12 minutes or until the raisins are well-plumped and the liquid has mostly evaporated. Set aside to cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. In medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  4. In large bowl, beat together sugar and butter until light and fluffy.  Beat in egg and rum extract. On lowest mixer speed, beat in dry ingredients until well combined. Fold in raisins and chocolate.
  5. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto prepared baking sheets. Bake for about 9 to 11 minutes or until just set and lightly browned on the bottom. Place baking sheets on wire rack and allow cookies to cool.

Serving Suggestion: Drizzle with Sweet Chocolate Glaze and then with White Cookie Icing. (Recipes below.)

Sweet Chocolate Glaze

1 1/2 c. confectioner’s sugar

1 1/2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, melted (still warm)

4 to 5 T. half-and-half or heavy cream, divided

1 – 2 t. dark or light rum, optional

  1. Place confectioner’s sugar in a small bowl. Set aside
  2. Heat half-and-half or cream until just at a simmer. Stir 3 T. of it into sugar until perfectly smooth.Then stir chocolate into sugar mixture. If needed, slowly stir in just enough more warm half-and-half or cream to make a perfectly smooth glaze. Stir in optional rum, if desired.
  3. Drizzle over baked goods right away.

Pure White Cookie Icing

1 c. confectioner’s sugar

1 T. milk

2 t. light corn syrup

  1. Place confectioner’s sugar in a small bowl. Stir in milk and light corn syrup until perfectly smooth. The mixture will be a little on the thick side, but should pour from a spoon in a slow, smooth stream.
  2. Drizzle or pipe onto cooled baked goods right away. (This is thick enough to pipe thin lines but not thick enough to pipe firm shapes.)