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Best Snacks From the UK: Welsh Cakes and Rock Cookies

Patty collects various recipes from past generations and is interested in early American history, the Civil War, and the 19th century.

Origin of the Welsh Cake or Rock Cake

Welsh cakes are cookies that are very like scones and have also been known as "bakestones" in Wales, coming from the cooking technique used. This snack or dessert was cooked on what was called a "bakestone", which was a cast iron griddle or a large flat stone set atop a cooking fire.

Originally cooked on a griddle or flat stone over an open fire, these cookies have been popular since the 19th century in Wales, a small country just west of England. They are a big hit with visitors at various church fairs and farmers markets, but are just as popular at high tea.

Welsh cakes are made from flour, butter, eggs, and sugar, with the addition of currants, raisins or both. They can be prepared as small drop cookies in the oven, or as circular cutouts in a greased cast iron skillet. They are both delicious, and you can add any spices you like, or use other dried fruits.

Dried cranberries are very good in them, as are dried cherries. If you use artificial sugar, decrease the baking time by about ¼. There are so many variations possible, that I try something new each time I make them.

He that would be a leader must be a bridge.

— Old Welsh Proverb

Welsh Cakes, Rock Cakes, or Scotch Rocks

Ingredients

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 stick butter (some cooks still use lard)
  • ½ cup sugar (white sugar, but light brown sugar is also nice, or a combination of the two)
  • 2-3 oz. milk
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ - ½ teaspoon mixed spices if desired
  • 1 egg (You may substitute 1-2 tablespoons of apricot jam for the egg if you wish.)
  • ¼ cup raisins or currants
  • Honey if desired, to drizzle on top.

Instructions

  1. Cream the sugar and butter together.
  2. Separately, mix flour, baking powder, salt and spices
  3. Combine both mixtures and mix together well.
  4. Beat the egg separately until light yellow and add to the mix. Stir well.
  5. Add enough milk to moisten and make a smooth mixture. Let dough rest a few minutes.
  6. Roll the dough out on a floured board to about ½ inch thick and cut with a cookie cutter or the mouth of a clean drinking glass.
  7. Cook the rounds on in a greased cast iron skillet or on a greased griddle for 3 minutes on each side, until a golden brown
  8. Cool on a cooling rack and sprinkle with sugar, and spices if desired. Drizzle with honey if you'd like.

If you would like to make drop cookies and bake them in the oven, preheat the oven to 375 degrees and bake on a greased cookie sheet for approximately 8 - 12 minutes, until golden brown.

Welsh cakes can be served hot, topped with clotted cream, crème fraiche, or whipped cream, or cold and dusted with confectioner's sugar and cinnamon.

This is exactly their appearance from on a griddle on out of a cast iron skillet. If you drop them from a spoon onto a baking sheet, they are known as Scotch Rocks, because they look like composite rocks. Still delicious.

This is exactly their appearance from on a griddle on out of a cast iron skillet. If you drop them from a spoon onto a baking sheet, they are known as Scotch Rocks, because they look like composite rocks. Still delicious.

These classic cookies are often served on Saint David's Day, every March 1, when celebrants parade and raise red and yellow banners in honor of the pilgrimage he made all the way to Jerusalem, possibly as early as the 7th century.

When I make this treat, I prepare several variations: cinnamon and nutmeg dded to the the mix, sometimes just a little ginger or some grated lemon rind, sometimes candied fruit as is used in a fruitcake, sometimes some broken pecans. They are all good.

These treats can also be eaten like scones, split and spread with jam and/or butter and served with hot tea.

Clotted Cream and Rock Cake.

Clotted Cream and Rock Cake.

Gentle child, slumber in peace;

Dragons and centaurs will guard your sleep.

Stars in heaven shining oh so bright --

There will be your guiding light.

— Old Welsh Blessing

Clotted Cream and Creme Fraiche for the Cookies

Clotted Cream

  1. 2 Tablespoon lemon juice
  2. 1 c. whipping cream
  3. 1/8 teaspoon sugar
  4. Combine all ingredients and do NOT refrigerate. Set bowl on the counter for 8 hours or more and allowing it to clot (become thick).

<OR>

  1. 1 cup whipping cream
  2. 2/3 cup sour cream
  3. 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  4. Sugar to taste
  5. Combine all ingredients, set on counter to clot and thicken.
  6. Store covered in refrigerator after thickening.

Crème Fraîche

  1. 1 cup whipping cream warmed to room temperature
  2. 1 Tablespoon buttermilk warmed to room temperature
  3. Using a clean glass jar with a lid, place the whipping cream and buttermilk inside and cover securely.
  4. Shake the jar for 15 seconds.
  5. Set the jar on the counter at room temperature for 24 hours until thick (stir once or twice).
  6. Stir your thickened creme fraiche well and refrigerate it for 6 hours or overnight before serving. Keep it covered tightly in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Painting of the rural life in North Wales.

Painting of the rural life in North Wales.

Comments

Gypsy Willow from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand on May 11, 2009:

Reminds me of Sunday tea time growing up in Wales. Have you read my hubs on Wales? Thanks for the recipe. nice yummy hub!

Whitney from Georgia on December 12, 2007:

hm... sounds interesting.

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on December 12, 2007:

It is not overly sweet, but like a cross between an oat muffin and a cookie. It makes a good abse for whipped cream or clotted cream and some honey.

Whitney from Georgia on December 11, 2007:

O.. does it have a sweet flavor?

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on December 08, 2007:

Thanks gredmondson, I had not thought to add them!

Zsuzsy Bee - If I ever visit Ontario, i will make them for you. :)

Zsuzsy Bee from Ontario/Canada on December 07, 2007:

Good stuff! I'm coming for tea,with cinnamon and creme fraiche for me please...

tasty HUB

regards zsuzsy

gredmondson from San Francisco, California on December 07, 2007:

Thanks for the clotted cream and creme fraiche recipes. I hope you included those terms in your tags.

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on December 07, 2007:

Hi! Clotted cream is a topping in England and it is called Creme Fraische in Franch but is a little different. It is used in place of whipped cream and has a different, heavier flavor.

Whitney from Georgia on December 07, 2007:

These sound interesteing, but what would one use clotted cream for?

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on December 07, 2007:

These are really good. A friend of mine was able to get a couple of recipes through a yarn shop in Wales and England. :)

MrMarmalade from Sydney on December 07, 2007:

Lovely yum!yum!