These traditional West Country biscuits were sold at country fairs (where workers were hired and livestock bought and sold) as edible souvenirs. They are flavoured with chopped candied lemon and orange peel as well as spice. The golden syrup gives them a lovely, slightly chewy texture, but measure it carefully and don’t put too much in if you want a nice cracked surface.
|1 tsp||baking powder|
|½ tsp||bicarbonate of soda|
|½ tsp||ground mixed spice|
|50g||unsalted butter, chilled and diced|
|1 tbsp||mixed peel, finely chopped|
|3 tbsp||golden syrup (flat, not rounded), gently warmed|
You will need 3 baking trays, well greased with butter.
Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/gas 5.
Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, mixed spice and sugar into a mixing bowl. Add the butter and rub into the flour mixture, using the tips of your fingers, until it looks like fine crumbs. Mix in the peel, followed by the syrup, to make a stiff dough.
Using your hands, roll the mixture into 18 marble-sized balls. Set them on the prepared baking trays, spacing them well apart to allow for spreading. Bake in the preheated oven for 7 to 8 minutes, until a rich golden brown – it’s a good idea to turn the trays round in the oven halfway through baking so the biscuits cook evenly.
Leave to cool on the trays for a minute until firm, then lift on to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
Store in an airtight container.