Way back when, Wednesdays

Vintage baking

Here are recipes for two old fashioned baked treats: Rock cakes and Gingernut biscuits. They are easy to make and moreish to eat. I have taken the recipes from my mum’s venerable 1961 book of home cooking Good Housekeeping’s Cookery Compendium, which was first published by the Good Housekeeping Institute in London in 1952. The book’s aim is to teach the inexperienced beginner or the more experienced cook how to produce the everyday dishes needed in an average home. Although it is produced to meet the needs of every member of the family, there is emphasis on demonstrating home cooking to the young housewife or daughter living at home, as was the custom of this era!

Rock cakes originated in Great Britain. If you have never eaten one, a rock cake or rock bun, is a small fruit cake with a rough surface resembling a rock. During the rationing of provisions in World War II, the British Ministry of Food promoted baking rock cakes, as they require fewer eggs and less sugar than ordinary cakes. Bakers would also use oatmeal in the recipe when white flour was unavailable.

This type of Gingernut biscuit is popular in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and in many countries of the former British empire. It is believed that they were originally named Gingernuts because they were quite hard to break, like a nut. The amount of syrup that you use in the recipe influences the texture of the biscuit.

All measurements in these recipes are in the Imperial system so you will need to convert them if your scales are in metric.

Rock Cakes

 

Ingredients
12 ounces self-raising flour
A pinch of salt
½ teaspoon of grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon mixed spice
6 ounces margarine
6 ounces sugar
3 ounces currents
1 ½ ounces chopped peel
1 egg
Milk to mix

Method
Sieve the flour, salt and spices.
Rub in the butter and add the sugar, fruit and peel.
Mix the beaten egg and just enough milk to bind.
Using a teaspoon and a fork, place mixture in rocky heaps on a greased baking sheet (modern equivalent is to line a tray with baking paper or use a non-stick baking sheet).
Bake in a hot oven (450 degrees Fahrenheit or 232 degrees Celsius) for 15 – 20 minutes or until they slide about on the baking tray and are slightly brown underneath.

 

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Rock Cakes

 

Gingernuts

 

Ingredients
8 ounces flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground ginger
3 ounces butter
2 ounces sugar
2 tablespoons golden syrup or treacle
The above quantities should make 8 -12 biscuits.

Method
Warm the syrup in a small pan.
Rub butter into the sieved dry ingredients. Add sugar.
Mix with the warmed syrup to form a dough.
Knead dough lightly in the mixing bowl. Form small portions of dough into balls and put them on onto a greased baking tray, flattening them slightly and allowing room to spread (modern equivalent is to line a tray with baking paper or use a non-stick baking sheet).
Bake the biscuits for about 10 minutes in a moderate oven (375 degrees Fahrenheit or 190 degrees Celsius). Let them cool a little before removing the biscuits from the baking tray to a wire rack.

Gingernuts

#waybackwhenwednesdays

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Lady Alice biscuit recipe

Lady Alice biscuits melt in your mouth.

These little golden beauties have no comparison. They are a divine accompaniment to a creamy latte or a hot chocolate, any time of year.

Library cafe Bake and Brew, always have a fresh batch on the go. Here’s their recipe.

Lady Alice biscuits

Fresh at Bake and Brew every day…perfect with coffee or hot chocolate

Sue’s Lady Alice biscuits

This recipe came to Sue from her great-aunt, who lived in Port Pirie.

Ingredients:

340gm butter, softened
115gm icing sugar
340gm plain flour
115gm custard powder
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

(Measurements have been converted to metric from imperial).

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees.
  2. Cream butter, vanilla and icing sugar in a bowl. Add flour and custard powder and mix until smooth.
  3. Roll teaspoons of biscuit mixture into balls and place on a lined baking tray 2cm apart
  4. Gently flatten each ball with a fork. After flattening, place the tray in the fridge and let the balls chill (takes approximately 1 hour).
  5. Place the tray in oven and bake biscuits for 10-15 minutes until just golden around the edges. Leave to cool on the trays for five minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Sue’s sticky date pudding recipe

Yum. Sue the chef from Bake & Brew, next door to Tea Tree Gully Library, has given us her recipe for a winter classic: sticky date pudding with creamy butterscotch sauce.

sticky date pudding

A sweet, gooey classic for winter

This recipe is one of Sue’s faves. She developed the recipe as a young chef working at the Four Seasons Hotel in Sydney and contributed it to a community cookbook. She has made it for dessert at several weddings and continues to make it for Bake & Brew customers.

Here’s what you need to do to make sticky date pudding ASAP:

Sue’s Sticky Date Pudding with Butterscotch Sauce

Ingredients

Pudding
170gm pitted dates
300ml water
1 tsp bicarb soda
60gm butter
170gm castor sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
170gm SR flour
60gm walnuts

Sauce
200gm brown sugar
130gm butter
150ml cream
1/2 tsp vanilla
50ml brandy (optional)

Method
Bring dates and water to the boil. Simmer for a few minutes. Remove from heat and add bicarb soda. Leave to cool. (You could do this the day before serving, and keep it in the fridge).

Cream the butter and sugar, add eggs, vanilla and date mix. Fold in the flour and chopped walnuts.

Bake in a 160 degree oven for 40 minutes until firm to touch. A round 20cm cake tin is ideal, and you can also use individual moulds.

For the sauce, bring all ingredients to the boil and simmer for 2 minutes until cool.

If you make a big batch, you can always can reheat the puddings in the microwave for a sweet treat all week.

A faithful ANZAC

Adrienne has a tried and true recipe for the perfect ANZAC biscuit. It comes from the book ‘Cookies, Biscuits and Slices of the World’ by Aaron Maree.

Makes 38-40.

Cookies, Biscuits and Slices

The original cookbook

Ingredients:

1 cup plain flour
120 g rolled oats
200g castor sugar
90g dessicated coconut
150g unsalted butter
50ml water
60g golden syrup
15g ground cinnamon
1.5 teaspoons baking soda

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Lightly grease baking trays. Place sifted flour, rolled oats, sugar and coconut into a mixing bowl and lightly mix. Place the butter, water, golden syrup and cinnamon into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the baking soda to the boiling liquid and stir quickly to allow the mixture to foam up. Pour immediately into the dry ingredients and mix well.

Take heaped spoonfuls of the mixture and roll into balls. Place on the prepared trays leaving 3-4cm between each Anzac for spreading. Press each ball flat with the back of a spoon. Bake in the preheated oven 10-15 minutes. Remove the tray from the oven.

Slide a spatula under each Anzac to loosen but leave to cool on the tray. If the Anzacs are not easily loosened return the tray to the oven for a further minute. Store in an airtight container until ready for serving.