Thursday, 19 January 2017

Amish Sugar Cookies (#ReadCookEat)

Sense and Sensibility by Sarah Price, Jane Austen's spin-off

There is a whole sub-genre of spin-offs of Jane Austen's works - sequels, prequels, adaptations of the classic stories as retold by different protagonists. Most of it is mediocre. Some of these books are amusing, and are a decent homage to the genius of Jane Austen.
Sense and Sensibility by Sarah Price is an Amish retelling of Jane Austen's classic. I have found this book in a charity shop, and just had to buy it. I have read a couple of books by Sarah Price in the past, so I was familiar with the Amish romance genre.
If you assume that's a bit of an improbable setting, think of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies which gained lots of fans...

The Dashwoods - Elinor, Marianne and Margaret - become Eleanor, Mary Ann and Maggie Detweiler. Three sisters and their mother are forced out of their family home by their step-brother John and his unbearable wife Fanny. Their distant cousin offers them a chance to move to a run-down cottage on his land.
Eleanor, practical and sensible, falls in love with Fanny's brother, Edwin Fischer. Mary Ann, impulsive and immature, becomes infatuated with handsome Willis who is set to inherit his aunt's farm. She is the opposite of her older sister, as she is not able to hide her emotions.
As in Austen's novel, sisters' lives go through heartache before they manage to find their happy end. The relationships in the book are pretty close to the original, but the setting is very different.
Sarah Price has skillfully transferred Austen's story to blend with the Amish way of life.

I tend to read novels, looking for food descriptions and references, and this book didn't disappoint. I had quite a choice of quotes to pick from the novel, deciding which recipe to recreate.

"Perhaps, Eleanor said, you would like to come inside. Maem prepared some fresh meadow tea and sugar cookies for your arrival". She said the last part directly to Henry, a smile still on her face...

While the rest of the family enjoyed the fried chicken, corn salad, and sliced tomatoes, fresh off the vine, Eleanor had merely picked at her food...

Shortly after Saturday's supper, a simple fare of fresh bread, pasta salad, tomatoes and meatloaf, Mary Ann stood by the open kitchen window, her face turned to the breeze...

She tried to focus on baking chocolate chip cookies and double fudge brownies to donate to the local firehouse for their fund-raiser.

Sense and Sensibility by Sarah Price, Jane Austen's spin-off

I started looking up Amish sugar cookies recipes, but they all seem to be catering for big families or events. They also seem to differ from author to author: some use butter, some oil, or a mix of oil and butter.
Then I remembered that I have downloaded The Best Amish Baking Recipes book by Jamie Smith a while ago, when it appeared as a freebie on amazon.
I halved the amount of every ingredient, and even then I got over 40 cookies. All the amounts are converted from cups into grams. I had to add more flour, as simply halving the original recipe made for a very runny batter, not suitable for cookies.

Amish baking recipes

Amish Sugar Cookies
280g caster sugar
2 medium eggs
180ml vegetable oil
250ml buttermilk
2tsp baking soda
1/2tsp salt
2tsp vanilla extract
1/2tsp cinnamon, ground
500g self-raising flour

In a big mixing bowl beat the eggs with caster sugar. Add the oil and buttermilk, baking soda, salt, vanilla and cinnamon and sift in the flour. Mix well.
You will need to bake these cookies in batches. Place the foil over the cookie trays, and place spoonfuls of the cookie dough on the tray, leaving about 4-5cm space between the cookies because they expand quite a bit. Sprinkle brown sugar on top of each cookie and flatten it a bit with a glass.
Bake at 180 for about 12+ minutes until golden in colour. They will still be very soft when you take the trays out. Once cooled a bit, carefully place cookies on the cooling rack, and later in a cookie tin.
These cookies are soft and chewy, and lovely with a cup of tea.
They will keep well for a few days in a closed container.

In this recipe I used two types of Tate & Lyle sugar - caster sugar and brown sugar with stevia (which is made from the natural extract of the stevia plant. 1 tsp provides approximately the same sweetness as 2tsp of sugar). If you are using just the brown sugar in the recipe, halve the amount of sugar for the cookie dough.

Have you read a book recently which inspired you to run to the kitchen and cook to your heart's content?

I hope you are inspired by books to join in the #ReadCookEat challenge.

The idea is to choose a book, either a world classic or modern fiction, or even memoirs and pick up a dish mentioned or described in that book and then recreate it in a recipe. Please say a few lines about your chosen book, and maybe even do a quote from the book.

If you decide to take part, please add the badge to your post and link up back to me, and either use a link-up tool or add the url of your post as a comment. Alternatively, email me with the link to your post (my email is sasha1703 at yahoo dot com).

I promise to Pin all blogs posts taking part in this challenge, as well as RT and Google+


  1. I love the idea of the book, transposing a classic novel to a different setting/time period, and the biscuits look lovely - old-fashioned comfort food !

    Right, are you ready for this ? I probably have a million #readcookeat recipes to link up ... I apologise in advance !! lol

    1. The biscuits were quite old-fashioned indeed. I am happy with a million links, so bring them on.

  2. The Amish sugar cookies sound really interesting. I might try it. x