Over 25 Sweet Treats From Times
retro-style cakes and cookies in this book by food writer Wendy Sweetser,
author of 20 cookery books and a member of the UK Guild of Food Writers and the
Slow Food Association.
The books are from the same publisher and have a very similar format.
including Maids of Honor; Date, Apricot, and Pecan Sheet Cake; Lemon Bars; Chocolate Fridge Cake; Rock Cakes;
Swiss Buns; Coconut Pyramids and
including Snickerdoodles; Double
Chocolate Pinwheels; Melting Moments; Jam Sandwich Cookies; Shortbread
Petticoat Tails; Ginger Nuts; Chocolate
Dipped Viennese Fingers and Macaroons.
Walnut Layer Cake; Devil’s Food Cake;
Dundee Cake; Pineapple Upside-Down Cake; Christmas Yule Log; Iced Orange Seed Cake; Cherry Almond Sponge;
Pound Cake; Spiced Apple Cake and Cornish Saffron Cake.
‘Retro’ cakes seem to have a bit of a US bias and also because I probably have
the majority of these recipes in other books.
However, if you don’t have an extensive collection of baking books and
you want to try some classic UK and US bakes then there are some tasty recipes
in this little book.
each cake beside the recipe, metric and US measurements.
Date, Apricot and Pecan Sheet Cake, Ginger Nuts and Iced Orange Seed Cake.
and others have interesting information about the history of the different
recipes, many of them in any general baking book.
making Viennese Whirls or Fingers, but have never done so. This was the perfect opportunity to give it a
- Preheat the oven to 160C. Make
the cookie dough: in a mixing bowl, beat the butter until soft and creamy. Sift in the icing sugar, add the vanilla and
beat again until the mixture is light and fluffy.
- Sift in the baking powder, plain flour and cornflour, and add the milk.
Stir rather than beat everything together to make smooth soft dough.
- Line two baking sheets with baking parchment. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted
with a large star nozzle. Pipe the
mixture onto the baking sheets in lines about 10cm long, spaced well apart, to
make about 20 cookies.
- Bake in the oven for 7-8 minutes or until the cookies are pale
golden. Leave to cool on the baking
sheets for 5 minutes, before very carefully transferring to a wire rack with a palette
knife to cool completely.
- To make the chocolate icing, break or chop the chocolate into small
pieces, and place in a heatproof bowl. Stand the bowl over a pan of simmering
water, making sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water, and leave until
the chocolate has melted, stirring occasionally until smooth.
- Re-line the baking sheets with clean baking parchment or foil. Dip both
ends of the cookies into the melted chocolate, let the excess chocolate drip back
into the bowl, and place the cookies back on the baking sheets until the
chocolate has set. When set, store the
cookies in an airtight container.
enough to pipe, but it must also be firm enough to hold its shape, so you may
need to adjust the quantity of milk to ensure the right consistency. The baked cookies are crumbly and delicate,
so handle them with care as you could break them when lifting them off the
baking sheets and dipping them in chocolate, if you are too heavy handed. On
the other hand, eating the broken ones is the cook’s perk.
You do need the extra milk to get the consistency soft enough. I used a large ‘potato’ or ‘cream’ piping nozzle as I couldn’t get the dough through anything else and ended up having to move the dough to a new piping bag.
The Viennese fingers are very delicate, I broke one cookie when I took it off the baking sheet, the chocolate was left on the paper and the biscuit came away in my hand! However, these were a big hit with young (my two year old grandson) and old (my 88 year old mother-in-law!) and everyone else in between. The taste and texture was exactly what I would expect from a Viennese Finger even though making them felt a bit like being on the Great British Bake Off!
Retro Cakes and Cookies by Wendy Sweetser is published by Cico Books at £9.99 and is available from www.cicobooks.com
I received a copy of Retro Cakes and Cookies to review, I was not paid for this review and all opinions are my own.