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Recipes from Lost in Temptation

Ratafia Puffs

(Which Alexandra and her sisters make for Lord Shelton in Chapter One)
Take halfe a pound of Ground Almonds and a little more than that of Sugar. Make it up in a stiff paste with Whites of five Eggs and a little Essence of Almond whipt to a Froth. Beat it all well in a Mortar, and make it up in little Loaves, then bake them in a very cool oven on Paper and Tin-Plates.

I call these my magical sweets…my husband proposed directly after eating only one!

—Eleanor Chase, Marchioness of Cainewood, 1728

Preheat oven to 300°. Lightly grease two non-stick baking sheets or cover two regular baking sheets with parchment paper. Mix ground almonds and sugar, then set aside. Mix almond extract into the eggs whites, then beat until quite stiff. Fold in almond-sugar mixture. Drop small spoonfuls of mixture onto prepared baking sheet, well-spaced (they will spread). Bake for half an hour, or until puffs are just turning golden. Allow to cool before removing them. Makes about four dozen.

Lauren's notes: These almond cookies are very sweet! A lovely little treat, but one or two per person will probably be enough.

Small Lemon Cakes

(Which Alexandra and her sisters make to take to the villagers in Chapter Fourteen)
Take half a pint of milk and heat to boiling, then pour over a like amount of breadcrumbs and leave until heat has abated. Melt 8 spoons of butter and to this add grated rind of lemon, a fair measure of sugar and three eggs well beaten. Mix all together and pour into buttered cake cups and bake until browned.

Medicine for the heart. These cakes will brighten the most melancholy of days.

—Belinda Chase, Marchioness of Cainewood, 1811

Preheat oven to 350°. Mix all the ingredients, pour into greased mini-muffin tin, and bake 30 minutes or until tops of cakes are lightly browned. Makes 12 cakes.

Lauren's notes: I tried boiling the milk and mixing it first with the breadcrumbs as directed in the original 19th century recipe, but that made the batter very lumpy. It worked out much better on my second try, with cold milk and mixing everything together at once. These cakes are good for snacking—they're small and not too sweet. Enjoy!

Chocolated Sponge Cakes

(Which Alexandra serves during the dancing lesson in Chapter Eighteen)
Take a measure of sugar and a like amount of butter and mix together well. To this add two beaten eggs and then flour in the same amount as the butter and sugar. Put together with a little milk to make soft and pour into your pan. Put in your oven for half an hour until well risen, then cut into little squares, cover with chocolate icing, and decorate with white icing strands to make them look like little presents on a plate.

Mere acquaintances have been known to call on me hoping to find these offered…they look like tiny gifts and are reputed to be irresistible!

—Katherine Chase, Countess of Greystone, 1769

For the cakes:

For the icing:

Preheat oven to 375°. Grease a loaf pan or other small cake pan. Beat the butter and sugar together until light and creamy. Beat the eggs and slowly add them to the mixture. Fold in the flour and mix, then add a little milk if necessary to soften the batter. Pour into the greased pan and bake about 30 minutes, until golden and firm to the touch. Cool and cut into squares.

Mix icing ingredients until smooth. Add a little more water if necessary to make icing the desired consistency. Coat the cakes with chocolate icing, let dry, then pipe white icing on top to resemble ribbons and a bow, so each square looks like a little gift.

Lauren's notes: Frankly, piping white icing onto these little cakes was too much work for me. But if you're not as lazy as I am, they'll look prettier that way!

Marchpane Fruits

(Which are served at the Cainewood ball in Chapter Twenty-One)
Take a Pounde of almonds, Blanched and Beaten in a stone mortar, till they begin to come to a fine paste, and then add a Pounde of sifted Sugar and make it into a perfect paste, putting to it now and then the white of an egg and a spoonful or two of rose-water. When you have Beaten it sufficiently, separate into balls and colour as for fruit, red for apples and cherries, yellow for lemons, orange for oranges, purple for grapes, and the like. Shape small pieces of your coloured Paste into fruits and leave out to dry.

These festive fruits are lovely for parties and elegant enough for a ball. Or anytime at all, for like all sweets, they are truly delicious.

—Kendra Chase Caldwell, Duchess of Amberley, 1690

Combine the ground almonds and sugar in a bowl with the egg white. Using your hands, form a paste, adding rose water as needed. Color some of the mixture red, some purple, yellow, orange and green (you will use more red than the other colors). Form small pieces of the red paste into apple, cherry, and strawberry shapes. Roll strawberries in granulated sugar to simulate seeds. Use green to add leaves to the apples and strawberries, pressing well to attach. Purple can be made into grapes by forming tiny balls and pressing together into bundles. Purple is also good for plums; use a knife gently to score an indentation down one side. Use yellow to form bananas and lemons, orange to make oranges. Roll the lemons and oranges on a fine grater to give the illusion of textured rind. Be creative, and have fun!

Lauren's notes: Forming the fruits takes a lot of work, but if you have the time and talent, the final results are charming. And delicious, too!

Coriander Biscuits

(Which Alexandra makes to take to Hawkridge House in Chapter Twenty-nine)
Take eight eggs, a little Rose water, some Madeira, and a pound of fine Sugar; beat them together for an Hour; then put in a Pound of Flour and half an Ounce of Coriander seeds; then beat them well together, butter your Pans and put in your batter, and set it into the Oven for half an Hour; then turn them, brush them over the Top with a little of the Eggs and Sugar that you must leave out at first for the Purpose, and set them in again for a quarter of an Hour.

These biscuits are perfect to take visiting. My mother always brings some when we're to meet someone new.

—Lady Elspeth Caldwell, 1691

Preheat oven to 350°, and grease a baking sheet. Beat eggs, sugar, rose water, and liquor together very well (you might want to use an electric mixer). Add flour and coriander and mix. Drop by the spoonful spaced on the baking sheet, and bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until biscuits are lightly browned around the edges. Makes two to three dozen.

Lauren's notes: The original recipe says to leave out a little of the egg-sugar mixture before adding the flour and coriander, and then brush this over the cookies halfway through the baking. Frankly, we didn‛t think the small improvement in appearance was worth the trouble, but you could leave out a tablespoonful and try it if you'd like! These cookies are dense and not very sweet; they go very nicely with tea. We like them best served still warm from the oven.

Gingerbread Cakes

(Which Alexandra makes her first morning at Hawkridge House in Chapter Thirty-four)
Take three pounds of flour, one pound of sugar, one pound of butter rubbed in very fine, two ounces of ginger beat fine, a large nutmeg grated then take a pound of treacle, a quarter of a pint of cream, make them warm together, and make up the bread stiff. Wait a while and then make round balls like nuts and bake them on tin-plates in a slack oven.

These are reminiscent of home, and excellent with a good gossip.

—Helena Chase, Countess of Greystone, 1783

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour baking sheets. Sift the flour, spices, and salt together. Cream the butter, add the sugar, and beat until light and fluffy. Put the corn syrup and cream together in a small saucepan and heat, stirring to blend. Add the flour mixture and the hot corn syrup mixture to the butter and sugar, stirring just until mixed. Allow to stand for 10 minutes. Dust your hands with flour and roll dough between them to form 1-inch balls. Place on baking sheets, leaving a little room for them to spread (they won‛t spread a lot, just flatten a bit). Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until they are golden brown. Makes about five dozen.

Lauren's notes: Yummy and not too sweet! Don't overbake or they'll turn into little rocks (can you tell I overbaked my first batch? <grin>).

Sugar-Cakes

(Which Alexandra makes to bring to Hawkridge‛s villagers in Chapter Thirty-eight)
Take Sugar and half again as much Butter, Beaten together, and add Eggs, as much Flour as sugar, a little Cream, some Sherry, a generous amount of Currants and a spoon of shaved nutmeg. Shape into thin round cakes and Prick all over, then bake in a warm oven. Cover with icing Sugar mixed with white of egg and return to oven until Crisp.

These travel well and are good for visiting.

—Lady Diana Caldwell, 1692

Preheat oven to 350°. Cover two baking sheets with parchment paper. Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add the eggs one at a time. Add the flour, cream, sherry, and nutmeg, and continue beating until mixed. Fold in the currants. Spoon batter onto prepared baking sheets, forming into 2-inch rounds about ¼-inch thick. Prick on top with a fork and bake for 10–15 minutes or until the edges are beginning to brown. While cakes are baking, mix powdered sugar and egg. Glaze cakes and return to the oven for a few minutes until the icing is dry and crisp. Makes two to three dozen.

Lauren's notes: These cookies spread as they bake, so space them accordingly. They're thin and crisp and quite lovely!

Lemon Puffs

(Which Alexandra makes with Hawkridge House's servants in Chapter Forty-seven)
Beat the whites of four eggs till they rise to a high froth. Then add as much sugar as will make it thick; then rub it round for half an hour, put in a spoon of lemon peel gratings and two spoons of the juice. Take a sheet of paper and lay it on as broad as a sixpence and as high as you can. Put them into a moderately heated oven half a quarter of an hour, and they will look as white as snow.

Give these sweet and sour biscuits to a sour person you wish to turn sweet. My husband has never proved immune.

—Elizabeth Chase, Countess of Greystone, 1747

Preheat oven to 250°. Cover two baking sheets with parchment paper. Beat the egg whites until frothy (you'll probably want to use an electric mixer for this). Gradually add the sugar, about a tablespoon at a time. Continue beating until the mixture is glossy and forms stiff peaks. Fold lemon peel and lemon juice into the mixture. Spoon very small dollops of mixture onto prepared baking sheets—the puffs will not spread, so you can place them fairly close together. Bake about an hour until dry. Makes four dozen.

Lauren's notes: These little meringue cookies are delicious! The puffs will bake in the exact same shape you put them on the pan, so try to make your little dollops fairly neat. Allow to cool completely before you peel them off the paper.

Chocolate Puffs

(Which Alexandra brings to the family picnic in the Epilogue)
Beat the white part of a good-sized egg till very stiff and then add a handful of sugar. To this add finely grated chocolate and then put small spoonfuls on a flat buttered pan with an area between them. Bake in an oven not overly warm for an hour or until the puffs are very dry.

Everyone loves chocolate, so these are perfect to take on a family picnic!

—Anne Chase, Marchioness of Cainewood, 1773

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Cover two baking sheets with parchment paper. Beat the egg whites until frothy (you'll probably want to use an electric mixer for this). Gradually add the sugar, about a tablespoon at a time. Continue beating until the mixture is glossy and forms stiff peaks. Gently fold cocoa powder into the mixture. Spoon very small dollops of mixture onto prepared baking sheets—the puffs will not spread, so you can place them fairly close together. Bake about an hour until dry. Makes four dozen.

Lauren's notes: These meringue cookies will bake in the exact shape you put them on the baking sheet, so try to make your small dollops pretty. Allow to cool completely before you peel them off the paper.

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