A Cornish girl's food adventures


It is Mr Colonial Cravings turn to provide his contribution to his offices ‘cookie-club’. Obviously when I say it is his turn I mean that it is my turn, and I don’t mind in the slightest. Any excuse for a big batch of biscuit making.

It appears that come October everything that you consume in the USA, in any form, is obliged to be flavoured with something mysteriously known only as pumpkin spice. Coffee, cakes, biscuits, candles and even lip balm! I’ve decided to buck the trend slightly with my own spicy offerings – Cornish Fairings.

Cornish fairings

Whilst this is a taste of home it’s not actually something that I ever eat when I’m back in Cornwall. This is probably largely due to them generally being mass produced and packed in Emmett-friendly boxes embellished with pictures of St Ives. (Emmett, for the un-initiated amongst you, is the Cornish equivalent of the word Muggle. It means non-Cornish folk.)
The recipe calls for golden syrup, which isn’t impossible to find in the USA but is very expensive compared to the price in the UK. Because I only need a couple of table spoons I made my own, which isn’t hard but is a bit of a faff and takes some of the spontaneity out of biscuit making.
golden syrup Fairings are a lovely thing to make at this time of year, just working with the sweetly spiced soft dough should be enough to lift your spirits on a gloomy day. Soft and chewy whilst warm these become crisp and crunchy once they’ve cooled and will keep pretty well in an airtight container. They would make a nice little gift at Christmas – wrapped in waxed paper and ribbon, without a picture postcard in sight!

Makes 20-30

175g plain flour
50g soft light brown sugar
50g white sugar
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground all spice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
100g butter
2 tbsp golden syrup
1 tsp lemon juice

Cornish fairings

Pre-heat your oven to 180°c.
Sift the flour with the raising agents. Add in the spices and the sugars and use a whisk to mix it all together well.
Using a small pan gently melt together the butter, syrup and lemon juice. Don’t let it get too hot, you don’t want to burn the sugars in the syrup.
Cornish fairings Carefully pour this into the dry ingredients and mix together with a wooden spoon, resulting in a wonderfully soft warm dough.
Pull off small chunks of dough and gently roll them into little nuggets, placing them onto a lined baking sheet. Make sure that they are spaced well apart as they will spread a tad. Squish each one a little with a knife, don’t worry if the edges crack.
Cornish fairings Bake for 10 minutes, by which time they should be golden brown and your kitchen should smell amazing.
Leave to cool on the tray for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely and become crisp.
Now pop the kettle on because these are perfect for dunking….

Cornish fairings

I feel that I should confess to eating at least five of these whilst writing this post, but that’s just between us…


3 thoughts on “CORNISH FAIRINGS”

  • My husband was the recipient of one (probably more) of your cookies. I’ve been sent on a search for “golden syrup”. Could you tell me how to make it? Thanks. BTW the best “pumpkin spice” is a mixture of cloves, cinnamon, allspice and ginger, at least in my humble opinion.

    • Glad they were well received! I mixed about 1/2 cup granulated sugar with about 1 tbsp of water in a small saucepan and heated it until the sugar had melted I then added boiling water and more sugar until I had the right quantity. I popped a thick slice of lemon into the pan and let the mixture bubble away until it became a yellow-golden colour. Then I just carefully fished out the lemon (which you can use as candied peel) and poured the syrup into a sterilised jar. Once it has cooled it should have a similar viscosity to honey. Sorry I can,t be more specific about amounts but I have a tendency to wing this sort of thing. Hope that helps!

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