A few months ago I was entrusted with one of our family heirlooms – a tatty, splattered, literally falling-apart cookbook that belonged to my Great Aunty May. It fits perfectly into my bookshelf where it sits snuggly next to my grandmother’s equally worn cookbook (as well as my mothers!). Such a serendipitous reunion seeing as though both books were lovingly penned by sisters.
These are the books I turn to when inspiration is low, when my passion for baking wanes or if I simply need a moment to be close to these three amazing women. Each recipe, whether handwritten, torn out of a magazine, passed on from a friend, or even jotted on the back of a shopping list, has a story and sometimes I wish I knew where the recipe came from and what made it special enough to be incorporated into the family repertoire.
I found this recipe for copy cat Romany Creams jammed into the back of Aunty May’s book – written on a piece of notepad paper which had clearly been folded and refolded too many times. As it’s become extremely trendy recently to recreate homemade versions of childhood favourites, Great Aunty May was truly ahead of her time and it’s not the first time I have invented a recipe only to discover that Aunt May or my grandmother thought of it first!
This is a truly moreish cookie – simple to make and delicious with a cup of tea! Best of all, it reminds me of the biscuit tin my best friend and I used to keep in our treehouse for tea parties; filled with romany creams bought with pocket money we saved! Thanks for the great recipe Aunty May!
Makes about 20
250g butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
2 ½ cups desiccated coconut
2 cups cake flour
50ml cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
100g dark or milk chocolate, melted, to sandwich
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the coconut and sifted dry ingredients and mix to form a soft dough. Roll tablespoonfuls of the mixture into 3cm sausages then place on a lined baking tray and flatten slightly with your fingers. Scratch the surface of the biscuits with a fork to create a rough texture. Bake in a preheated oven at 180C for 10-12 minutes or until firm. Allow to cool then sandwich two biscuits together using the chocolate. Allow to set then store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.