Somewhere between a sugar cookie and a scone, these tender heart-shaped cakes, baked as gifts for Christmas stockings, reflect the simplicity of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s pioneer childhood, when at times ingredients like white flour and sugar were a precious rarity.
- Baking sheet
- 2-quart bowl
- Rolling Pin
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus extra for dusting
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar plus extra for dusting
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- Pinch of ground nutmeg
- 1/4 cup lard chilled, plus extra for the pan
- 1/3 cup cultured buttermilk
- Preheat the oven to 425 F. Grease the baking sheet.
- In the bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking soda and nutmeg.
- With cold fingers (dipped in cold-water and dried), rub the cold lard into the dry ingredients. Make a well in the center, add the buttermilk, and work with one hand into a dough that can be rolled out.
- Cover the pastry surface with flour. Shape the dough into a ball and roll it out into an 8-inch circle.
- With a table knife dipped in flour, cut the circle in half, then the halves in thirds to produce six equal wedges.
- Shape each wedge into a heart and place the hearts on the baking sheet, making sure they do not touch.
- Bake for about 10 to15 minutes or until the cakes are puffy and nicely browned. Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle the tops with sugar; the crystals will melt slightly and stick.
- When cool, eat or wrap with blue tissue paper, the traditional wrapping of white sugar crystals, for gift-giving.
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