I like cake, biscuit, and all manner of baked goods in equal amounts, but it’s the sense of nostalgia that comes with many of them that make them taste better- and so it is with today’s cherry bakewell cookies.
Back when I began my first year at university in Birmingham, there used to be a Millie’s Cookies in the train station, and I’d often buy two when I was catching the train home at the weekend. (One was a bit tight, three was greedy). I don’t know what it is that I liked about Millie’s Cookies so much; whether it was the chewy, gooey cookie, that slightly undercooked centre, or the fact the biscuits always came with a train home at the end of a long week. (I didn’t like staying in halls so much).
In my second year, the station got a refurb and the Millie’s Cookies disappeared. I’d moved out of halls and commuted from home, so I didn’t need cheering up any more. I never saw a shop after that, so I thought they’d fallen to the wayside, another high street victim of our extended recession.
But last week, I saw it. Tucked away in a somewhat run-down, creaking shopping centre in an even more run-down, creaky town it stood: A tiny Millie’s Cookies counter. For old times’ sake, I bought two cookies.
They were glorious and just as I remembered; the cookies reserved for the angels. And they reminded me of every time I had sat on the train home, having made it through another week, and reminding myself that I was another week down.
(Sob story over.)
After lamenting on Instagram over the fact I could never really recreate the cookies, I was really excited when Ellie pointed me in the direction of her favourite recipe. A few amendments later and we have this: cherry bakewell cookies. If I thought Millie’s Cookies couldn’t get any better, I was wrong. These are practically perfect. So easy, so tasty, and so like the real thing. These cookies are flavoured with ground almonds and glace cherries, with a drizzle of fondant icing: the classic cherry bakewell reimagined in biscuit form. I’ve already had requests from family to make them whole batches, and the cookies I froze lasted all of two days in the freezer before I had to get them out again. Make these: you won’t regret it.
It was so easy to modify this recipe and I’m already thinking of what other flavour combinations I could try. (Say it with me: Trifle Cookies). These cherry bakewell cookies are just the beginning. I’ve caught the bug now so expect plenty of Millie’s Cookies-inspired recipes in the future!
(P.S. This ode to Millie’s Cookies is definitely not sponsored. I just really like those cookies.)
* * *
- 110g butter
- 75g golden syrup
- 275g self-raising flour
- 75g ground almonds
- 200g golden caster sugar
- 100g glace cherries
- 1 free-range egg, beaten
- 60g fondant icing sugar
- Few drops of water
- Pre-heat the oven to 170°c/325°f/gas mark 3 and line two baking trays with a sheet of greaseproof paper.
- Melt the butter and golden syrup together in a saucepan over a medium heat, stirring to combine. Once melted, remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly.
- Sieve together the flour, almonds, and sugar in a large bowl. Press through the almonds but throw away any bits that are too big to go through. Next, chop the cherries in half and run them under water to get rid of the sticky juice. Drain in a sieve, then pat dry on a piece of kitchen towel.
- Pour the cooled butter and syrup over the dry ingredients and mix in. Add the beaten egg and mix, then finally add the glace cherries. Stir well and bring the mixture together (you might need to use your hands).
- Take generous teaspoons of the mixture, press together into a ball, and place onto the baking tray. Leave space between the cookies to allow them to spread.
- Bake the cookies in the pre-heated oven for about 12-15 minutes or until just golden brown in colour and still soft in the middle. Allow to cool on the tray then transfer to a baking tray. For the icing, mix the fondant icing sugar with enough water to form a smooth, runny icing, then add to a piping bag, snip off the end, and drizzle across the cooled biscuits. ▪
NOTE: If, like me, you can’t eat 30 cookies at once (or you don’t want the biscuits to go stale), you can freeze half the mixture to cook at a later date. Form the mixture into cookie-sized balls, place on a baking tray, cover with clingfilm, and freeze. Decant into a freezer bag once frozen. Cook from frozen at 170°c for about 18-20 mins.