One of the joys I had growing up in the late 60’s/early 70’s was coming home from school on a Friday evening to find the kitchen full of wonderful yummy cakes which were being readied for the weekend. My maternal grandmother (Nonna) was from Italian stock; she was born in England but both her parents were Italian, and most of her family still spoke Italian at home. She married an Englishman (Charlie) and had 5 children. My mother was the oldest daughter after her brother, and as my grandfather was ill for much of her teens during the war, my mother became second mum to her younger siblings while Nonna worked, cooking as her mum had, in the Italian style with spaghetti etc. Consequently my brother and I grew up with an accomplished homely cook with a very rich palette of food – not fancy but very tasty.
Obviously our leanings were towards the sweet things. One of the best was a little biscuit called a ‘walnut kiss’ using coffee as the flavouring. Not particularly Italian but it sat right alongside the Victoria Sponge cake or crunchy biscuits which were also favourites. I share it with you as it was written in my mother’s recipe book – some of it you will need to play around with to get it ‘right’!
- 2oz butter/marg
- 2oz sugar
- 1 tsp coffee essence
- 30z chopped walnuts
- 3oz SR flour
- Grated rind of 1 lemon
· Grease a baking tray and preheat the oven to Gas 6 200C, 400F.
· Cream the fat and sugar; beat in the coffee essence.
· Add the lemon rind and nuts.
· Mix in the flour and knead gently with fingertips (Author’s note: it is a dryish mix…if more moisture needed maybe add a drop of lemon juice?)
· Break into small pieces (about walnut size) and form into balls.
· Place on the grease baking tray, wide apart.
· Cook in the oven on the middle shelf for 15-20 minutes
· Leave to cool and top with coffee water icing (made with icing sugar and coffee essence).
I have a note that this may be too hot an oven…with the advent of modern ovens the heat can probably be reduced to Gas 5 (190C) for and cooked for 12 minutes.
Guess what I’m going to be cooking this Friday evening!
By Jackie Scott
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