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…


13 Responses to “An election-day sweetener”

  1. Cameron Says:

    I’m eating one of Lindsey’s Parlies right now … it’s delicious.

  2. Simply Life Says:

    oh those look delicious!

  3. Ailsa Says:

    Not fair – why do you take biscuits into the office on the day I’m not working!

  4. Thanks Simply Life!
    Clearly my work colleagues thought they were delicious too, as they’ve all gone now – sorry Ailsa!

  5. Pam Says:

    Great info here with the story about the parlies! They look delicious!

  6. Choclette Says:

    Sounds like a good way to cheer yourself up. Hope you’re well on the way to 10,000 – sounds an awful lot!

  7. vincent Says:


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  8. Janice Says:

    Scots do have a notoriously sweet tooth! I can say that as I am one lol! What a great idea to bake ‘parlies’ for election day, they look great.

  9. Thanks everyone for your lovely comments! And, although I don’t yet know what the final count is in the general election, my count for today is 10,045 hits! I can’t believe so many people have checked out my blog – it’s amazing and very exciting! Thank you everyone who has supported me so far.

  10. hopeeternal Says:

    I’m sitting up watching the results come in – and have just come across your post via the UKFB site. What a great idea to do a topical post! I have never heard of ‘Parlies’ but they look delicious!

  11. Ravenous Ro Says:

    Well come down to our new Green republic on the south coast, the lentils are free.

  12. Anna Maria Says:

    Hi, can you pls, provide the recipe?
    Many thanks!

  13. Hi Anna Maria, thanks for reminding me that I hadn’t posted the recipe for these! If you look at my list of recipes over on the right, it’s there now.

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