30 October 2013

Biscuits and American Cookies

All week Celia Sacks has been taunting me with lovely copies of cookbooks by Ambrose Heath.  Some I do have and, alas, some I don't.   It seems only fitting and proper that we feature our newest Ambrose Heath.  As you know, The Home Entertaining Series is one of my favorites. 

The Home Entertaining Series featured small, slim volumes on everything from banana recipes to growing and using herbs. They were published in London by Herbert Jenkins in the 1940's and 50's.  Like many an old-fashioned cookbook, there is very little in the way of directions; no tidy list of amounts, no exact baking times, just enough info to get one in trouble.

Today's entry is Biscuits and American Cookies.  In true British form, American Cookies are an after thought in this books.  There is one recipe given that cam be used for drop, rolled, sliced or squared cookies, the last being actually a bar cookie.  To this basic recipe there are about twenty additions to make that American cookie almond, chocolate, nut, lemon, and on and on.  Heath points out that Americans have a desire for filled cookies; a cookie achieved by placing a filling of some jam or mincemeat on one cookie and topping it with the other.

We do love this rather straight forward approach to baking.  What better to serve with a biscuit than a glass of wine.  Or should we say what better to serve with wine than a biscuit.

Wine Biscuits

Rub half an ounce of butter in half a pound of flour sieved whit a pinch of salt, and mix to a stiff paste with cream.  Roll out half an inch thick, cut into three-inch rounds, roll these out again wafer-thin, and bake them in a quick oven watching them carefully, as they need little more than just crisping.

We do long for a modern cookbook with gentle guidance instead of rigid numbers.  We want to cook something that needs, "little more than just crisping."

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