Welch Cookies (Welch Cakes)

12 cups all-purpose flour (51 oz.) (More may be needed to achieve a stiff dough)
¼ tsp. Salt (if you use unsalted butter increase to 1-¼ tsp.)
4 cups sugar
1 lb. Butter
1 lb. Lard
6 eggs
½ tsp. nutmeg
1 lemon or orange zest
2 tsp. Vanilla
1-½ tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cream of tarter
4 tsp. baking powder
1-½ cup currants (I substituted dried cranberries once, delicious but not tradition!)

Cream the butter, lard and sugar until light and fluffy, add the eggs one at a time, nutmeg, zest, and vanilla and combine thoroughly.
Mix the flour, salt and other dry ingredients; whisk to distribute evenly.
Combine the wet and dry ingredients. Add the currants. Work gently, only until a homogenous, stiff dough is formed; don’t overwork it. Note: the original recipe calls for milk if the dough feels too stiff. That’s never happened for me. I always need to add a bit more flour to achieve the desired stiffness.

Divide the dough into four equal pieces, roll into balls, and flatten into 1 inch thick discs (just like pie dough). Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least three hours. (I sometimes leave it overnight.)

Work with one disc of dough at a time, leaving the others in the refrigerator. Roll out evenly to ¼ inch thickness on a lightly floured board. Cut out cookie size circles. (You can use a 2-3/8 inch diameter biscuit cutter or Welch’s grape jelly glass)

Preheat your griddle. I use an electric, non-stick griddle, with the temperature control set to 175-350°F.  It varies, so you will have to experiment. On a non-stick surface no oil is needed. Fry until deep golden brown on both sides, turning once. Do not try baking Welsh cakes. Cool thoroughly. Expect a light, almost flaky texture, and a clean taste with hints of citrus and nutmeg.

This recipe makes about 10 dozen. The cakes freeze very well.

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