I have a great cookbook which I have neglected for most of the last year titled “Capitol Hill Cooks” by Linda Bauer. It contains a lot of interesting recipes and the most intriguing are from our early president’s – well, probably from their wives, but are historically mentioned in journals and literature. The recipe I am sharing with you today is Shrewsbury Cakes which was evidentially a favorite of George Washington’s and a treat served regularly with tea for guests. Shrewsbury cakes are actually not a cake, but rather a cookie. The best way I can describe them would be……. If a SCONE married a COOKIE they would have a baby and call it a Shrewsbury Cake. They are light like a scone, but flatter, buttery and filled with chopped dried fruit. I thought about what might have been local and available to the bakers of that era and decided on dried cherries, strawberries and currants – chopped into small bits. I used a square rustic cutter, but most references to the cookies note them as round. Oh yeah, one last FYI, the name Shrewsbury is a reference to Shrewsbury, the county town of Shropshire England, where they were first created in the 1500’s. So anyway, here is Linda Bauer’s adaptation of Martha’s original recipe …….
1 stick butter, softened
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
2 Tablespoons milk
2 ½ cups cake flour, sifted
1 cup dried fruit – chopped
First, sift flour - set aside.
Then, cream together butter and sugar.
Add vanilla, salt, egg, and milk. Mix well. Add flour to butter mixture and mix well.
Mix in dried fruit.
Wrap dough in plastic and chill for 1 hour.
Then, when dough is chilled, pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Now, place small rounds of dough on a cookie sheet (greased or lined with parchment or nonstick foil). Bake for 12 minutes. Then, cool on a wire rack.
Note: I rolled my dough out on a lightly floured surface and cut with a square cutter.
Also, don’t bake past 12 minutes – you are not looking for browning – keep them pale and tender.
Enjoy! .....with tea :)
Link for the cookbook: "Capitol Hill Cooks" By Linda Bauer
Okay, the history buff in me must share one more tidbit .....
The word cookie is an Americanism, first recorded in American English about 1703, and borrowed from the language of the Dutch immigrants in North America. The source was Dutch koekie, a dialectal variant of koekje, which, in modern Dutch, means "little cake". My source for this is : Words @ Random