Grandmother McDowell's Welsh Cookies
My grandmother, who lived in Black Diamond, WA, used to make these cookies for me and my brother, and our two cousins. She made them by frying them in a pan on top of her wood stove. I tried that, without much success, so I modified the instructions to do it in the oven, instead of on top of it.
As I recall, we all liked the raw dough almost better than the finished product...
- 2 cups flour
- 1 cup currants
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 lb. unsalted butter
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
I just mixed everything together into a thick dough. My grandmother's directions mentioned adding a little milk if necessary -- I tried that, but it made the dough too sticky.
The way my grandmother made them, the dough gets rolled out into a thick sheet, about 1/4" thick. She cut the cookies out with the top of the drinking glass. My brother and I often got that job. Since they were essentially fried instead of baked, and she flipped them over once, they ended up being quite flat on both sides. I once bought a "Welsh Cake" on a ferry boat in British Columbia and it looked and tasted just like my grandmother's Welsh cookies, though it was about twice the diameter of hers.
I've found that making them the 'normal' way one makes cookies, by dropping a spoonful of dough on the cookie sheet, works just fine. About half way through the cooking, I take them out and flatten them with a spatula so they end up looking kinda like I remember. But that step isn't necessary.
I cook them at 325 degrees F. for about 20-30 minutes in total. When they're done, they should be a golden brown color on both sides. After removing them from the oven, I sprinkle sugar on both sides, just like my grandmother did.
Don't cheat and use raisins instead of dried currants, they won't come out right. These cookies are best when they aren't dried out, so keep them covered or better yet, eat them immediately!
Copyright © 1994, by H. Marc Lewis.
All rights reserved.