Dear Constant Reader,
I am extremely enamoured of the Victorian cooking web series at English Heritage and recently I tried one of their recipes. The results were interesting!
The recipe for Queen Drop Biscuits is from the personal receipt book of Mrs Avis Crocombe, the cook at Audley End House in the early 1880s. They’re a buttery cookie, packed with currents and a delightful almond flavor.
1/2 lb of butter beet to a cream, 1/2 lb of sugar, 4 eggs 1/2 lb of currents 3/4 of a lb of flour a few drops of almond flavour drop them on paper
It’s pretty straight forward as historic recipes go, with measurements for almost all of the ingredients. You need butter, sugar, flour, eggs, currants, and almond extract.
The method is super simple. Cream the butter and sugar. Add the flour, then the eggs (Victorian eggs were smaller than ours, so probably only 2), then some almond extract and the currents. Drop by tablespoons onto parchment-lined baking sheets at bake at 350F for 10-15 minutes, until lightly browned on the bottom.
The first time I baked them, I made a rookie mistake. I only used one stick of butter (1/2 cup) instead of two (1/2 pound). The biscuits were more like small cakes than cookies, but so delicious! I brought them backstage at one of our shows and everyone loved them. So, either way, you win. I think I actually like the less butter version better.
Queen Drop Biscuits
8 ounces (2 sticks) butter, softened
8 ounces sugar
8 ounces currants
12 ounces flour
2 teaspoons almond extract
Cream the butter and sugar. Mix in the flour. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add almond extract. Mix in currants.
Drop by tablespoonful onto parchment-lined baking sheets at bake at 350F for 10-15 minutes, until lightly browned on the bottom.
Makes about 2 baker’s dozens.
Note: If you go the less butter way, use 3 eggs.