When it comes to baking, I really enjoy foods with a story or a long tradition behind them. So when I needed to decide between making these rustic, rather plain looking cookies and a super sweet Halloween candy bar, I naturally picked the cookies.
The history of giving out Soul Cakes for All Hallows’ Eve goes all the way back to the Middle Ages, when “souling” was as popular among children in Great Britain and Ireland, as trick-or-treating is in today’s America.
Soul Cakes were usually filled with different spices, such as allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, or ginger, and raisins or currants. Below is my recipe, as usually with a few twists.
Yield: 18 to 20 cookies
Prep time: 20 min Baking time: 15 – 20 min Total time: 40 min
- 250 g (2 cups) whole grain or white flour
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, ground fresh if possible
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, ground fresh if possible
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- pinch of ginger
- 75 g (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
- 50 g (1/4 cup) muscovado or white sugar
- 2 teaspoon stevia
- 2 eggs
- 120 ml (1/2 cup) milk
- handful of raisins (for decoration)
Preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F).
Combine flour, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt and ginger in a small bowl. Mix well.
Cream the softened butter, sugar and stevia together in a medium bowl. Gradually add the eggs and continue beating.
Add the spiced flour and combine as thoroughly as possible; the mixture will be dry and crumbly.
One tablespoon at a time, start adding milk, blending vigorously with the spoon. When you have a soft dough, stop adding milk.
Knead the dough thoroughly and roll out 0.5 cm (1/4-inch) thick. Cut into 5 cm (2-inch) cookies and place them on the prepared baking sheets.
Decorate with raisins and brush liberally with beaten egg yolk or milk. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until just golden.