How to Make Traditional Welsh Cookies

Welsh Cookies or Welshcakes or pice ar y maen are raisin scones from the United Kingdom.  They’re popular at tea time or as a portable snack.  Traditionally, they were packed for lunch by miners and slate cutters.  Welsh cookies reappeared here in the States as a testament to their versatility as a basic food stuff and as a favorite snack among recent immigrants.  I can remember my grandmother “frying” these on top of her wood-stove in her cottage by the lake where I used to summer as a boy.

Welsh Cookies have been around a good long time as can be attested by their simple preparation.  Rolled, cut and baked on a heathstone, Welsh cookies could not be more simple to prepare.  Here’s the recipe that I found in my mother’s notes.  Laking a bakestone or an open fireplace, I make mine on the stove in a cast iron frying pan.

Welsh Cookies

3 1/2 C flour
3/4 C sugar
1/2 t salt
1 T baking powder
1 t nutmeg
1 egg
3/4 c milk
3/4 C shortening
1/2 box currents
1 tsp vanilla

For the shortening, you can use any combination of Crisco, butter, margarine, or lard. I like to use equal parts of butter and lard.

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together. Rub in the fats and add the other dry ingredients. Beat the eggs lightly and add milk to make a firm paste.

Welsh Cookies

Mix the dough

Roll out on a floured board to a thickness of 1/4 inch and cut into rounds with a glass or a cookie cutter.

Welsh Cookies

Cut the rounds


Rub a cast iron frying pan with shortening. Arrange the rounds in a circle without one in the middle to ensure they cook evenly.

Welsh Cookies

Fry around the edges of the pan

The tops of the cookies will melt and begin to look shiny.

Welsh Cookies

Note the shine


The cookies will puff as the middle cooks.

Once the bottoms are nicely browned, flip them and cook for about half the time to brown the tops.

Welsh Cookies

Cooking on the other side


Pack for lunch or serve with tea.  These will keep for about a week, well sealed in an air-tight tin.  Beyond that, I can’t predict, because there won’t be any left in a couple of days.

About John MacDowall

I was born in Poughkeepsie, NY. We moved to a farm during middle school where I learned about raising animals and growing food. Now, I live in the affluent suburbs of Washington, DC and wonder why people eat the way they do.

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