Spiced shortbread. Gluten Free. Coriander/Cilantro Free.
These have a long history and are popular in my re-enactment group. Usually they are made with glutinous flour and coriander seeds, but as I am a celiac and allergic to coriander, I have replace them with gluten free flour and fennel seeds.
These come from Sir Hugh Platt ‘Delightes for ladies’, which is translated on page 48 of ‘A Miscellany’ (10th Edition) by David Friedman and Elizabeth Cook.
To Make Iumbolls
Take ½ a pound of almonds being beaten to paste with a short cake being grated, and two eggs, two ounces of caraway seeds, being beaten, and the juice of a lemon: and being brought into paste, roll it into round strings: then cast it into knots, and so bake it in an oven and when they are baked, ice them with rose water and sugar, and the white of an egg being beaten together, then take a feather and gild them, then put them again into the oven, and let them stand in a little while, and they will be iced clean over with a white ice: and so box them up and you may keep them all the year.
My recipe makes 4 dozen biscuits.
What I will try next time
The flavour was a bit too subtle for me, I would have preferred a stronger flavour of rosewater and spice. I don’t much like the flavour of caraway seeds, but the fennel is lovely. I think it would be nice to try cardamom and fennel seeds and double the rosewater in my next batch. I am sure each cook had their own version of a buttery spiced shortbread, so I would like to develop my own. More modern recipes, particularly in America, commonly have recipes for honey jumballs.
Also, it would be nice to try the icing next time from the Sir Hugh recipe.
Finally, 4 dozen biscuits is too many for my household so I would look to halve the recipe.
With these adjustments, that would mean my ingredients and change in method for the next batch will be:
Then a very thin layer of icing sugar and rosewater (only) would be applied.
Dr. Nicola Boyd
I am trying to teach myself to be a medieval and renaissance confectioner. This has led to an interest in modern deserts too.