My mother had a tried and true everyday scone recipe, based on that in the Edmonds Cookery Book, that won her prizes at the farming district’s local Flower Show in the 1950s. The aroma of date scones for afternoon tea fresh out of the hot oven wafted from the house as we four children walked from the school bus across the paddock to the house. Dad always had afternoon tea before milking the cows. No leftovers.
The scones were made with pure New Zealand butter cut into six cups of white flour, Edmonds “sure to rise” baking powder, salt and sugar using a knife then mixed with creamy unpasteurised farm milk. Chopped dried dates were layered on half the dough that was folded over before being cut into large squares before being brushed with milk and sprinkled with cinnamon flavoured white sugar. Mum taught my sister and I to have a light touch with the dough and to not over-mix the ingredients. Our measurements were approximate and remain so to this day.
My own scone making has evolved through the years. With a type-2 diabetic in the family, ingredient adjustments to tried and true recipes are necessary. Himself loves home baked goodies.He has found it useful to be able to grab a scone from the freezer for an after-gym-workout snack when his sugar level tends to get low. Hence I make a double quantity.
Essentially I still start with six cups of flour, which could be a mix of white with buckwheat or wholemeal flours, and baking powder. I add spices such as cardamom or cinnamon and no longer add salt or sugar to the scone dough. A rice bran spread with no palm oil is cut into the flour. Chopped succulent Medjool dates and grated apple are mixed with fresh orange juice before being added with buttermilk to the dry ingredients. I cut the dough into smaller shapes than in the past. The top of the dough is brushed with milk and finished with a light sprinkling of cinnamon mixed with raw sugar before being baked in a hot oven.
I like to think Mum would be pleased how her date scone recipe has evolved. Simple everyday baking, a fresh scone with a cup of tea or coffee is hard to beat.
5 cups of white flour
1 cup of buckwheat flour
12 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cardamom
150 grams rice bran spread
2 cups buttermilk – about
¾ cup chopped medjool dates and ½ grated apple with skin on, soaked in juice of 1 orange
cinnamon mixed with raw sugar
Sift the dry ingredients.
Cut the spread into the flour until it is like breadcrumbs.
Mix buttermilk and fruit mixture to form a soft dough.
Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead lightly
ANZAC Biscuits is a New Zealand classic recipe. Crunchy outside, chewy inside, Kiwi kids love these delicious rolled oat-based biscuits which are quick and economical to make. They keep well – well, that is, if they do not get devoured by ever-hungry kids who prowl the pantry in search of food.
There is a blend of fact and fiction surrounding the origin of this legendary biscuit recipe. We grew up with the story that during World War I, people back home baked and sold goodies to help raise funds in support of the New Zealand war effort. Military historians found that these were not the biscuits that were sent to and eaten by the ANZAC soldiers at Gallipoli.
“Biscuits! Army Biscuits! Consider the hardness of them. Remember the cracking of your dental plate, the breaking of this tooth, the splintering of that.”From Army Biscuits by Ormond Burton.
Staff at the National Army Museum did some research and found that contrary to popular belief there were no ANZAC biscuits at Gallipoli. The standard Army biscuit at this time was a rock hard tooth breaker also called the ship’s ANZAC biscuit.
Like many home cooks, I sometimes modify the recipe by adding dried fruit, nuts and seeds and adjust ingredient quantities to suit. It is a beginner-cook-friendly recipe. It is 25 April and in keeping with the spirit of our national remembrance day, I used the recipe from another Kiwi icon, Edmonds Cookery Book, to make a batch of ANZAC Biscuits.
Measuring the ingredients
Stirring the biscuit mixture
Edmonds Cookery Book recipe
Fresh-from-the-oven, the biscuits got the seal of approval from youngest grandson and his two brothers.
This image of the 1950s Edmonds Cookery Book is part of my cooking heritage. My mother, like many New Zealand women, referred to the recipes in her battered copy to bake a range of goodies for daily morning and afternoon teas. Sadly, we no longer have her copy of this particular edition that my sister and I used when we helped Mum in the kitchen during busy times on the farm feeding workers and visitors. Over the years, we modified the recipes and adapted ingredients. Classic Edmonds recipes that we used in the 1950s have stood the test of time.
Mum’s great-grandchildren love eating the same goodies we enjoyed as children – and this chocolate cake never fails the yummy test. 9-year old grandson, owner of an Edmonds Beginner’s Cookbook reprinted in 2015, is proud of his baking efforts. Chocolate cake baking tradition lives on.
Ingredients One-Egg Chocolate Cake
50 grams butter
1 tablespoon golden syrup
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup standard plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
few drops vanilla essence
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup milk
Preheat the oven to 190ºC.
Prepare one 20cm cake tin. Line with baking paper. I often prepare a muffin tray to make 12 mini-cakes
Melt butter and syrup in a small saucepan.
Put melted ingredients into a bowl. Add egg and sugar. Beat well.
Sift cocoa, flour and baking powder together. Fold sifted ingredients and vanilla essence into egg mixture.
Dissolve baking soda in milk. Fold into egg mixture.
Pour the mixture into cake tin.
Bake 30 minutes or until the cake springs back when lightly touched.
Leave cake to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes.
Decorate to suit
Quick chocolate icing. Mix 1 to 2 cups icing sugar, 1 tablespoon cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon softened butter, vanilla essence and a small amount of warm water to get a smooth consistency. Spread icing over cake. Sprinkle desiccated coconut threads over icing.
Cake could be split into two halves so that a filling of whipped cream and sliced fresh fruit e.g. strawberries can be added.
Top of the plain cake could just be lightly dusted with icing sugar.