Growing up as the first American child on my mother’s side of the family, there were many Welsh and British traditions passed on to me. When it comes to the food side of these traditions, some I can do without (like steak and kidney pies. I can make them, but you won’t catch me eating them. Yuck!), but some, like Bake Stones, are an all-time favorite that I plan to pass on to my children and hopefully future generations to come.
Bake Stones, also known as Welsh Cakes, are a cookie of sorts. The best description I have ever found comes from The Welsh Baker, “Welsh Cakes are a cross between a cookie, a scone, and a pancake but they are unlike ALL of these things.” This statement says it exactly. While made with similar ingredients to a cookie, they can’t be called a cookie because the consistency just isn’t right. Like a scone, they are made with similar ingredients and are a perfect companion to a traditional cup of British tea. However, given that they are cooked in the same way one would cook a pancake, it makes it very difficult to categorize exactly what a bake stone is.
Traditionally they were made on a bake stone, made of rolled steel. These stones were seasoned and placed over a heat source. The use of these bake stones, however, has dwindled as people move to the easier and multipurpose griddles, as I do.
Bake stones were originally given to school-aged children in their lunches, as well as a snack given to the men in Wales who were working in the coal mines. Because of their size and density, they were a great snack to place in a pocket as they headed into the mines.
When my Nana first taught me how to make Bake Stones, it was all by hand. You mix the ingredients together and get your hands dirty. I loved feeling the butter and flour come together and mixing in the eggs was always my favorite part. It was the recipe that sparked my love for baking. While I did that for many years, after my diagnosis, my hands often no longer allowed me to jump right in. However, a food processor and a dough hook on my KitchenAid stand mixer is a perfect replacement to my hands (unless, of course, my kids are helping then they are eager to get their hands messy). By changing the way I made these Bake Stones, I was still able to make my favorite companion to a cup of tea as well as being able to share a family recipe with my children. As I say, never let the disability define you or get in the way of what you love. A few changes to your methods can keep you baking and doing what you love.
- 2 cups butter, softened
- 4+ cups self-rising flour
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- 16 ounces raisins or other dried fruit
- 4 eggs
- In a large mixing bowl, combine four cups of flour with the butter. We do this by hand until it becomes a crumble consistency. If your hands won't allow you to mix, place the flour and butter in a food processor and pulse until you reach a crumb consistency. Then transfer to a stand mixer.
- Add the sugar and mix well with hands (or the dough hook).
- Add the four eggs and mix until it becomes a sugar dough consistency that can be rolled out.
- Add your dried fruit and mix until they are spread throughout the dough.
- Divide the dough into manageable sections.
- Sprinkle flour on your rolling surface and roll the dough until it is about ⅛ inch thick. Using a round cookie cutter or the top of a glass, cut out each cookie and set aside on a plate. Continue until all the dough is gone.
- Preheat an electric skillet or griddle to about 300-350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the cookies onto the skillet and cook in the same manner as you would pancakes. When one side is golden brown, turn over and cook the other side. (Around 3-5 minutes each side) Remove from skillet and place on cooling rack.
- Store in an airtight container at room temperature for a month,though mine are typically eaten by myself and kids within a week or so.