Welsh Biscuits

I took the opportunity on my recent visit home for Thanksgiving to try out a recipe for Welsh Cakes in preparation for this year’s International Festival. After making two batches, the first of which was devoured shortly after leaving the griddle, I can safely pronounce them a rousing success!

What is great about them is that they are easy and quick to make; once you make them a few times, it only takes about 35 minutes from start to finish. The ingredients are also simple to come by: nothing far out of the ordinary.

Welsh Cakes

Makes 9 squares.

Ingredients:Freshly baked welsh cakes.

  • 1 cup self-rising flour
  • 1 stick (4 oz.) unsalted butter, refrigerated
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup caster sugar
  • 1/3 cup raisins or currants
  • Zest from half a lemon
  • 1 teaspoon of mixed spice
  • A pinch of salt

Directions:

  1. Sift the flour, mixed spice, and salt into a bowl. Cut up the stick of butter into chunks. Then press the butter into the flour mixture by hand or pulse it a few times in a food processor. It should be sort of crumbly. Add in the caster sugar, lemon zest, and raisins.
  2. Crack the egg into a ramekin or small cup and beat it with a fork until the yolk is mixed with the whites. Stir the egg into the flour-mixture. If the dough seems too dry, add a small amount of milk. It should be firm and slightly sticky.
  3. Roll or press the dough onto a floured surface to approximately a 1/4 inch thick. Personally, I find pressing it into a large square and cutting into 9 pieces is easiest, but you can also use a round cutter.
  4. Cook the cakes on a medium-hot griddle or heavy frying pan for about four minutes per side. They should be golden on both side and soft in the middle. Then dust with caster sugar.
They taste fantastic while hot off the pan, but can be saved for about a week in an airtight container (though I don’t know how they would last that long without being eaten). You can also eat them with a little butter or jam on top.
Mixed Spice, Caster sugar, Self-rising flour
These three things are not typically found in the average kitchen in the US, so here’s how to make them.
  • Mixed Spice: Mix together 2 teaspoons allspice, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg. Add in 1 tablespoon of cinnamon and 1 teaspoon each cardamom and coriander.
  • Caster sugar: This is super-fine (but not powdered) sugar. All you need to do is take regular granulated sugar and stick it in a food processor or blender for a few seconds. At $5 a pound at the supermarket, it’s a lot cheaper this way.
  • Self-rising flour: This is easy to make as well. 1 cup of all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1.5 teaspoons baking powder. That’s it!

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