Buns and Thumbs and Fizzy Cordial

It’s officially September.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

This means several important things.

A.) The first sickness of the schoolyear is over. They got me early. I was hacking and coughing by the middle of week two. So I didn’t bake for a while until I got over it. Plus, I didn’t feel like baking. Weird, right?

B.) I’m over that! This week, I got the fire in me again. But a nice, pleasant, smouldering little fire like you might have on a chilly, rainy, late-summer afternoon. This weekend, I’m making things because I want to.

C.) I’m a tad overemotional. I was flipping through one of my favorite blogs, The Little Library Cafe, and I came across this blog post: Currant Buns: The Tale of Peter Rabbit.

I love Peter Rabbit. I love everything Beatrix Potter. I always have. Her cozy little English farm scenes are the stuff of happy childhood dreams (despite how dark some of her tales are… Read The Tale of Jemima Puddleduck recently? Yeah, a fox eats all her eggs. Yikes). Basically, that evening ended with me sobbing quietly while browsing Peter Rabbit mugs on Amazon (I’d also like the Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cottontail mug). Thus, I must make these buns. The picture of these buns made me cry. I must make them.

I had a little tin box with this picture on top of it. It was a special box where the most special of things ought to be kept all while I was growing up. I will always be grateful to Beatrix Potter for helping infuse a sense of wonderment into my childhood.

Clearly, currant buns were on the menu for this weekend. See recipe above — it’s too long and complicated to necessitate me redoing it here. Plus, adorable picture of currant buns with Peter Rabbit teacup.

A few notes: I could not find currants (silly British people), so I used raisins instead. Regular old delicious raisins. If you do not like raisins, I pity you but I understand you. Too often, raisins are these sad, dry, awful things that threaten to crack your teeth. Get the raisins out of the big bins at someplace like Sprouts. They are soft and delectable and use them right away in delightful afternoon treats like currant buns.

Secondly, make sure you cut your makeshift piping bag nice and thin. My flour mixture came out soooooooooooo thick. It tastes fine, it just looks a mess.

Thirdly, the recipe calls for something called “mixed spice”. Hm? What now? Never heard of that before. Tricky Brits. This is how that goes:

Mixed Spice

  • 1 tbs allspice
  • 1 tbs ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbs ground nutmeg
  • 2 tsps ground mace
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground ginger

Mix it all up and you could pass for someone from the Cotswolds! It is quite spicy but will make your currant buns so flavorful.

Oh my god, so flavorful. They’re so good. They’re like cinnamon raisin bread, but on steroids. So much flavor because of that mixed spice. I kept making unladylike noises whilst eating. I could eat one of these with tea every day. I’d even drink the tea. Last note: butter is also glorious on these buns.

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Then, I made thumbprint jam cookies, because they’re my favorite. I always associate jam with Bread and Jam for Frances, one of my other favorite childhood books.

And let’s be real. Thumbprint jam cookies are amazing. They definitely do not get the recognition they deserve.

Thumbprint Jam Cookies

  • Servings: 20ish
  • Time: 1 hr
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 1 and 3/4 cup AP flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar, plus more for rolling
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 cup (approximately) jam/jelly

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350º.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about five minutes.
  3. In a smaller bowl, stir together the dry ingredients.
  4. Beat in the egg and vanilla with the butter and sugar. Add the dry ingredient in increments and mix (otherwise dry stuff goes flying everywhere).
  5. Chill for at least half an hour.
  6. After it has chilled a while, scoop the dough into 1 in. round balls, rolling them in the sugar. Smush a thumbprint into each one, making sure not to go down too far, or else your cookie will be structurally unsound after baking. Replace into the refrigerator to chill for at least fifteen more minutes. The more time they chill, the tighter their structure will be and the less they will spread. Thus, a more desirable jam-to-cookie ratio.
  7. When they are done chilling, scoop jam or jelly into the thumbprints. I used a 1/4 tsp as my implement of choice, because it is very easy to go over the amount of jelly you really want in there. Too much and it runs all over the place and then burns in the oven. No bueno.
  8. When you are done jamming, place the cookies in the oven for 10-13 minutes. I took mine out at around 9 or 10 and let them sit on the pan for a bit before I put them on the cooling rack and they were perfect.
  9. Enjoy as soon as they are cool enough to do so!

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Lastly, I also made a delectable raspberry cordial. Raspberries were crazy on sale at the Flagstaff Farmer’s Market (store), and that same lovely blog had an Anne of Green Gables recipe for raspberry cordial. That’s the hilarious incident where she and Diana think they’re being all fancy and drinking raspberry cordial but they’re actually drinking currant wine (there are those sneaky currants again!). They get a little….um…..sloshed and, like usual, Anne with an “e” gets in trouble. I recommend a little sloshing of your own with this cordial, or at the very least something fizzy that you add the cordial to.

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So refreshing. Excuse me while I stuff my face full of cordial fizz, buns, and cookies. It may be past “tea time” but “tea time” is exactly what I’m about to do.

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