Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Tasting Christmas Roses

The scent of a rose - as much from it's beauty as it's alluring aroma.



Jennifer was home for Christmas(!) and helped me make rose scented Shrowsbury cakes. These crispy shortbread cookies, in several flavors, are pronounced "shrewsbury" and have been around for centuries! It is said that Guinevere enticed King Arthur with them.
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Martha Washington made caraway and anise flavored cakes, and has several recipes in her cookbook "Martha Washington's Booke of Cookery. I made the simple dough and added rosewater for the flavoring.



Jennifer cut them in small circles and baked them on parchment paper.


And here they are, awaiting a cup of tea for companionship.

Martha said to bake them just until the tops look iced and not let them brown. I couldn't figure out what she meant until we baked them. They are pale, but crispy, and the tops do look iced.

The picture I set on the table is from Mim! She sent me this charming Florida Girl for my 1 year bloggiversary. I love the yellow shoes and the tropical pink bloomers. Thank you so much Mim!

Would you would like to make some 700 year old cookies? Here's how Martha explains it:

TO MAKE SHROWSBURY CAKES

Mix a pound of searced sugar & a pound of flowre well together. Then beat and *searce some sinamon, nutmegg, and ginger, & put in 2 egg youlks. Worke all these to paste with sweet butter, & roll it about halfe an incth thick. Cut them round, and flowere y papers& soe bake them. & when they looke ised over, they are enough.

*searced means sifted

Use 2 cups sugar, 3 cups flour, 2 large egg yolks, a pound of softened unsalted butter and add either 2 tablespoons rosewater or 1 1/2 teaspoons of anise flavoring. You can leave the other spices out if you would like a pure rose or anise flavor. My friend Heather made delicious lavender scented shortbread cookies. What a treat! You can chill the dough for an hour or so to make it easier to work with. Bake at 300 degrees for about 15 -18 minutes. Mine took 15 minutes, so set the timer a little early and keep an eye on them. Store in an airtight container.


3 comments:

Debby said...

Very interesting. I need to take a break from mastering the perfect bread dough recipe (we've had fresh bread for three days in a row...)

MuseSwings said...

Must be winter - seems we have taken to our kitchens!

lailani said...

Those look good! Yes about taking to kitchens - the warmest spot in the house!