An election-day sweetener
May 6, 2010
I have a feeling that today’s general election is going to leave something of a bitter taste in my mouth – I don’t think I’ve ever entered a polling booth feeling quite so pessimistic.
So, last night I thought I’d attempt to relieve that bitterness with a little sweet treat – something that not only used some of my cupboard stocks, but also has a vaguely political edge to it.
Parlies – or Scottish parliament cakes – are, in fact, biscuits originating from Edinburgh about 300 years ago. Made with black treacle and ginger, they curiously became extremely popular with members of the then Scottish parliament – hence the name Parlies. I have no idea why these particular biscuits should gain such an odd following, but such is life…
The recipe I have is from one of those dinky little regional cookbooks that you can buy in souvenir shops in chocolate-box villages everywhere from the West Highlands to Cornwall.
The list of the ingredients suggested using black treacle or golden syrup, but, as I have an amount of both that needed to be finished (plus, if I’m honest, black treacle is not one of my favourite things), I put a spoonful of both in.
All the ingredients are combined into a fairly firm biscuit dough, then spooned into roughly shaped blobs on a baking tray. Into the oven for about 20 minutes, and out come some toffee-coloured, fairly soft biscuits.
Me being me, I couldn’t resist trying one straight from the oven, and although it was nice enough, I wasn’t entirely sure what James VI and his comrades were so enthusiastic about.
However, once I’d left the Parlies to cool, they turned into the most delicious crunchy, spiced, treacly biscuits.
Well, I’ve cast my vote, and now we just have to wait for the results. So, in the meantime, I shall settle down with a cup of coffee and a couple of Parlies…