Today is St. David's Day, folks! It is to Wales and Welshmen what St. Patrick's Day is to Ireland and Irishmen. But instead of green hats and green beer, we embrace daffodils and the mighty Welsh Cookie.
When I was growing up, my grandmother (whose father had emigrated from Wales to the Scranton area alone at age 16) used to make Welsh Cookies all the time. Every week, maybe? It seems like they were always in the house. And boy oh boy were they delicious! There are variations of this recipe all over northeastern Pennsylvania, where so many Welshmen settled to work in the coal mines. I've made them only a handful of times since my childhood, but the smell, the taste, even the look of them sends me rocketing back to childhood.
Mmmm.....look how pretty.......
Here is my grandmother's recipe:
Leona James’s Welsh Cookies
4 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
3 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt
1 tbs baking powder
scant tsp baking soda
1 cup (8 oz) lard (you can use other shortening if you don’t want to use lard, but your cookies will not taste as tasty!)
1 cup currants
1 tsp vanilla
Mix all dry ingredients.Cut in lard and then add currants. Put eggs in a measuring cup and add milk until you get 1 cup. Add vanilla to this mixture. Add to lard/flour mixture. You may need to drizzle a bit of water on dough to get it all mixed together. Let chill for 30 minutes.Roll out flat on a floured surface.Use a 2” round cookie cutter dipped in flour to cut out cookies. Fry on heated (but ungreased) griddle (325 degrees on electric griddle) until cookies are golden brown on both sides. Makes about 3 dozen.
These cookies are best eaten hot off the griddle, or warm, or at room temperature, or refrigerated, or frozen. Enjoy and Happy St. David's Day, everyone!