I have been doing a healthy amount of historical cooking specifically from the Regency Era as I prepare for my first ever Jane Austen tea.
Rout cakes, Barm Brack (also an Irish dessert, often made during Halloween), Strawberry Tartlets, Scones, and Bathbuns look so tasty and appealing. Although when I go to make the desserts, things often go awry. Occasionally the recipes come out looking and tasting as intended. More often than not my first try at the recipe turns out like something better used as a weapon (this is especially true when the recipes are Scottish or Irish).
As I scoured the web searching for a suitable Regency dessert, I came across the lovely ladies from Austenacious and their attempt at Gingerbread “Cakes” which they adapted from the Jane Austen Cookbook, which you can find HERE.
Having made a variety of gingerbread desserts, I knew that they had the potential to come out as something better classified as ‘weaponry’ rather ‘food’. I print out the recipe, look it over, don my snazzy little apron, and give it a go. The first try was as expected: Hard discs that were overly gingered which would be better used as target practice. After tweaking the recipe a few times and using my dear friends as taste-tasters (honestly, I am surprised that they willingly eat anything I make considering I have made some rather interesting recipes), I finally came up with a lovely, tasty dessert that I can serve at my tea.
1-3/4 cups flour, plus extra for dusting
¼ tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
4 Tbsp butter
1/3 cup molasses
½ cup brown sugar
1 egg, slightly beaten
¼ cup sugar mixed 2 tbs of cinnamon
1.Set oven to 350°F.
2.Sift together flour, ginger, and nutmeg into a bowl add in brown sugar. Rub in the butter until the mixture is like crumbs.
3.Blend molasses and egg into the spiced flour. It will make a soft, sticky dough.
4.Dust a work surface lightly with flour, knead dough 10 times and roll out the dough not less than 1/4 inch thick. Sprinkle the dough with the cinnamon/sugar mixture. Cut dough into rounds, or use simple cookie cutters. Arrange cookies on an ungreased baking sheet, and decorate each cookie with almond flakes.
5.Bake for only 10 minutes (trust me they are done). Remove from oven. Allow cookies to set one minute on cookie sheet then remove from cookie sheet and cool on a wire cooling rack.
6. Store in an airtight container.
-When making any type of gingerbread, or in this case ‘cakes’, you must hand-mix everything. Electric mixers will ruin the consistency.
-When using molasses it is best to use brown sugar as white sugar often makes it too sweet.
-Do not over knead the dough. When working with ginger ‘cakes’ the more you knead the dough the tougher it becomes.
-A little ginger goes a long way, so in this case less is truly more.
-While these cakes are lovely fresh from the oven, the flavour and moistness increases the longer that they set.
Just Remember: If the recipe fails:
I would love to hear about your adventures in cooking!
Until We Meet Again,