Welsh Cakes

Think of a rich currant scone, then flatten it, grill it like a pancake and douse it in glittery sugar. I love finding new ways to eat butter. # 178: Welsh Cakes

I know when most people think summer grilling, their minds go to an outdoor BBQ with steaks sizzling away merrily. As per usual, my mind goes to carbs instead – I decided to stretch the grilling boundaries last week and make baked goods in a skillet! The results were a stack of garlic naan, a pile of sourdough english muffins, a lot of cornmeal on my counters and these welsh cakes.

Maybe it stems from my love of pancakes for any meal, but there’s something so satisfying about cooking bread and pastries on a skillet. It probably has more to do with the fact that you get to watch the whole process instead of it being in a literal black (oven) box. Little air bubbles ballooning to the surface and butter dancing around the edges, making them golden. I’m not drooling, you’re drooling.

The very best description I’ve found for them (and I’m kicking myself I didn’t come up with it myself) is a “chubby cookie,” from the Welsh Baker. I literally can’t say it out loud without smiling. Go on try it, I’ll wait.

The current version became popular in the late 19th century, when bakers began to add sugar, fat and dried fruit to a grilled flatbread recipe. The result is a soft and rich bite, that’s just the right amount of sweetness. I really want to stray from the traditional dried fruit and add chocolate chips next time.

I happen to be mostly Welsh, and got to visit Cardiff and Barry Island a few years ago. I’m so sad that I didn’t get to have one while I was there (I didn’t learn about them til watching the Great British Bake Off after we got back!) but someday we’ll be able to travel again, right?

The recipe called for mace and lard, but c’mon who even has those in their pantry. Welcome to the recipe, nutmeg and shortening.

It was such a small batch, it felt silly to get the food processor dirty. Plus, it’s more fun to mix with your hands anyway!

Let’s pretend this is sand and we’re on a tropical beach somewhere. All I need are some sunglasses and a piña colada.

Aren’t currants the best? Small and tart, and unlike their large raisin cousins, they don’t make baked things soggy.

Ignore the blurriness (there was probably a buttery fingerprint on the camera lens.) Off for a nap in the fridge.

The scalloped-edge cutter strikes again.

I finally, finally got a reusable baking mat, and it’s lovely! Taking more small steps towards a low-waste kitchen.

A little butter and away we go!

Luckily, a watched pastry does cook. I had to experiment with the heat to make sure they were cooking all the way through before getting too brown on the outside. I’d say err on the lower side and you can’t lose.

I’m not gonna sugarcoat it for ya . . . these are super hot when they come out of the pan so use tongs!

Happy munching!

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