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Archive for December, 2014

Melting Moments

Melting moments

Melting Moments with oats

 

Melting Moments are biscuits which are very short and as their name suggests melt in the mouth.  Very quick and easy to make and they only requires one egg.  The original recipe from the Be-Ro cookery book calls for half an egg which I think is a bit of a waste, so I add the whole egg.  Oats or coconut can be used to cover the biscuits, but my preference is coconut as that is how I remember them.

They hold the memory of my relationship with Mrs Thomas, the same Mrs Thomas of the Chocolate Victoria Sponge fame. Mrs Thomas was an American married to an eccentric English inventor, and someone I would visit frequently. When I knocked on her door I would never know whether I would be granted entry. Mrs Thomas didn’t greatly care for small children and she wasn’t shy in letting all children know this little fact. She preferred children who knew their manners and how to disappear when their audience with her was over. It may have been tough getting into that circle of two but it was worth it. She was a very good listener and would dole out very good advice to troubled ten year olds.

I would time my visits carefully, usually to coincide with the Thomas’ teatime. On a good day I would be invited to join them in the sitting room for tea and cake. On other days I would only get as far as the kitchen. Here, I would be invited to climb up onto the kitchen stool for a one to one. As they say, there is no such thing as a free lunch and Mrs Thomas would use these times to probe me for information. What had been going on in my household and what grown up gossip had I overheard. Looking back, I think she enjoyed questioning the innocent and getting a honest response free from social etiquette. A raised eyebrow and maybe a chance of a second treat were the only indications that I had hit the mark.

Amongst the treats was a real favourite – Melting Moments. I knew it and Mrs Thomas knew it.  She was not one to pander to small children, so the idea that she would bake them especially for me just because I loved them, was not going to happen. We both knew that. If I hinted at a batch being made then the chances of seeing a single Melting Moment would be dashed. They would appear when I was least expecting them and only when Mrs Thomas chose to make them.

At around this time my pride and joy was a weekend case given to me as a Christmas present. A large navy blue ribbed mock leather affair with a pink silk effect lining. To me it was the height of sophistication. I loved this case, it contained my future and everything that was important to me lived inside. It held everything I thought I needed to be the perfect wife! A small box of brown towels with my initial on them for the bathroom, a felt pencil cover with animal head for making notes, a very fine cotton apron with embroidered birds, a little carved dressing table chair with a pink velvet seat for rings which my future husband would lavish on me and a selection of recipes cut from magazines but to name a few of its contents. Having an extensive range of recipes would propel me to housewife of the year, I had no doubts.
Mrs Thomas would always ask after the case and its contents and listen intently as I enthusiastically relayed my latest acquisitions and my plans for my future perfect married life. Looking back, I don’t think she approved of marriage and always encouraged me to perhaps see my future as an independent woman. At the age of 10 I couldn’t understand how this could ever be possible. Not married? What was she thinking?

She must have eventually seen me as a lost cause because one day when I was a little older, she handed me a folded piece of paper and as I opened it I read the words ‘Melting Moments’ recipe. That was when I felt I had a break through. Perhaps she did like me after all? Perhaps in her own way she was giving me her blessing to (one day) get married.

I kept that recipe in the navy blue vanity case along with the other trifles of rubbish I felt were the vital ingredients to a happy marriage. Over the years it moved around with me and every time I went through the case I would fondly open up the paper and see her handwriting and feel comforted. My times in her company might have been difficult but I really respected her and deep down loved her.

Today I no longer have that vanity case, I don’t know what happened to it, it might have got lost in the endless moves.  What pains me the most is that the recipe is long gone. I have tried to recreate it but there is something missing, perhaps it is the ingredient X that Mrs Thomas added.  I just don’t know and will never know as neither recipe nor Mrs Thomas are around to enquire of anymore.

Melting Moments with coconut

Melting Moments with coconut and natural glace cherries

Melting Moments

Ingredients

150g / 5 oz self raising flour
75g / 3 oz caster sugar
40g /1½ oz lard (if you don’t want to use lard replace this with butter)
65g / 2½ oz butter
1 egg beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
Desiccated coconut or rolled oats for rolling the biscuits in
Glace cherries for decoration

makes about 20-24

Gas Mark 4/180C/350F

Method

Grease two baking trays with a little butter.
In a bowl beat the butter, lard and sugar until very light and fluffy. Add the beaten egg and vanilla extract.
With a spoon stir in the flour making sure it is well mixed. The mixture will be quite stiff.
Take a small amount (about a teaspoon full) and roll into balls with damp hands. Then roll each ball in the desiccated coconut or rolled oats and place onto the baking tray – leaving a gap between them as they will spread as they cook.
Place a quarter of a glace cherry to each one flattening the ball slightly.
Place in the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes.
They should be golden brown when cooked.

They will be slightly fragile straight out of the oven so wait a few moments and when you are able to handle them move them onto a wire rack to cool.  If they are not all eaten they can be stored in an airtight tin for about 5 days.

N.B.  Lard doesn’t have a very good PR agent which is a shame because if used half and half with butter it will give a more flaky and short pastry/biscuit than all butter.  Another surprising fact is that lard is actually healthier than butter – it contains less saturated fat and is high in monounsaturated fat.  If that is not enough, it is also an excellent natural source of vitamin D.

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