Carla J. Nelson's
Fairy and Herb Recipes
Come back often to see
what fairy delights have been added.

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Christmas Thyme
at Oak Hill Farm

By:  Marge Clark

A treasury of gorgeous pictures, delightful holiday crafts & delectable recipes.
A classic still available at:
It's About Thyme
By:  Marge Clark

Packed with wonderful recipes and culinary herb information.  A must-have in any kitchen if you
want to create true comfort food.

Available on:

Have you ever seen a "Chocolate Fairy" like the image on the left?  Well, gifted artist, James Browne envisioned one and created it.  Doesn't she look charming - and, oh, so delectable!  You can purchase this lovely fairy at:
Brown Sugar Shortbread Cookies

1 cup butter, softened (no substitute)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

Cream butter and brown sugar together.  Gradually stir in the flour.  Turn onto
lightly floured surface and knead until smooth.  Pat into 1/3 inch thick rectangle
 (about 11 x 8).  Cut into 2 x 1 inch strips.  Place on ungreased baking sheet.  Prick each
 with fork.,  Bake at 300 degrees for 25 minutes or until bottom begins to brown.
Remove.  Cool 5 minutes.  Transfer to wire rack and cool completely.
Best made several hours or a day ahead.

These are the cookies Claraya served the Faya ladies at the Winter Tea she tells about in her January 23, 2013, journal entry.  Read about it on Claraya's Fairy Blog page.

Fairy Gingerbread Cookies

Thanks to the folks at America's Test Kitchen and Cook's Country, the Internet is a-buzz with Fairy Gingerbread Cookies.  According to Ericka Bruce, at these acclaimed institutions, the first known mention of this recipe was found in Jessup Whitehead's 1893 book Cooking for Profit.  There the Fairy Gingerbread Cookies were said to be a popular treat when people were playing Euchre, a popular card game in the Midwest then and now.  Ericka and America's Test Kitchen went to work tweaking, updating, and enhancing the original.  Their results can be found on their website.
Well, I certainly couldn't resist the whole concept of Fairy Gingerbread Cookies, especially when they're described as being as light as fairy wings with melt-in-your-mouth delectability.
So after further investigation, I made some. 
The recipe I gravitated to was one published in Fannie Farmer's, The Boston Cooking School Cook Book, the 1st Edition having been published in 1896.  Multiple updated editions have followed and it has never been out-of-print.  Her recipe is simple, basic and one I'm sure a fairy would love.  I show it here as it was given:

Fairy Gingerbread

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup milk
1 cup light brown sugar
1 7/8 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons ginger

Cream the butter, add sugar gradually, and milk very slowly. Mix and sift flour and ginger, and combine mixtures. Spread very thinly with a broad, long-bladed knife on a buttered, inverted dripping-pan. Bake in a moderate oven. Cut in squares before removing from pan. Watch carefully and turn pan frequently during baking, that all may be evenly cooked. If mixture around edge of pan is cooked before that in the centre, pan should be removed from oven, cooked part cut off, and remainder returned to oven to finish cooking.

Now I made a few alterations.  I used regular, all-purpose flour.  And while I made some of them as directed, spreading the batter out thinly on an inverted pan, I also rolled some out and cut it with a butterfly cookie cutter and baked those on an inverted pan.  I was thrilled that this worked.  A word of caution:  My  four year old granddaughter helped me with this project and it was a trick trying to keep her from eating all of the raw dough.  It is delicious and irresistable.  But then, so are these lovely cookies when they're done.

Here's a picture of my Fairy Gingerbread Cookies.
While I used a butterfly cookie cutter, with a little imagination, you
can see how they could be fairy wings.
Isn't this just a beautiful plate to serve the Fairy Gingerbread Cookies on?
Doesn't it conjure up a lovely fairy garden tea party with little girls
dressed up in tiaras,  sparkling gowns and glittery fairy wings?
This is a vintage Blue Ridge plate in the Rose Hill pattern.
My friend Ruth, gave it to me.  It was her husband, Stan's, Mother's.
Which all elevates it to "treasure" status
Fairy Gingerbread
The fairies made some gingerbread
Of sugar, flour, and spice.
"They said, "We'll give some to our queen,
It looks so very nice!"

So they put some on a napkin,
Laid on a pretty plate,
And took it to the rose bower
Where she was sleeping late.

When the little queen awakened,
It lay before her eyes
And then she cried with great delight,
"Oh what a big surprise!"

"For gingerbread so nice and brown,
So yummy and so airy
My royal thanks and compliments
to every cooking fairy!"

I was hiding by the rose bower
And was quiet as could be
When she asked the happy fairies
For their secret recipe.

I had a little notebook there
And wrote down what they said,
So that is how I learned to make
This Fairy Gingerbread!

From: Tummy Tingles By Josephine Brandenburg Beardsley and illustrated by Majorie Peters.
Pitter's Favorite Rosemary Shortbread

This is the Rosemary Shortbread that Faye made for Pitter
in Beyond Betwixt Between.  He so loved it that she made
it for the fairy wedding party when Pitter and Alaina married.
You can enjoy it too!

1 cup softened butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 - 3 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped
2 teaspoons finely minced lemon zest

Cream butter and sugar.  Stir in lemon zest and vanilla.  Add the rosemary to
the flour and stir to blend.  Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture and blend
just to combine.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.  Knead gently about ten times.  Roll out to 1/4 inch thickness.  Cut into square or rounds.  Place on ungreased cookie sheets and bake at 275 degrees for 40 - 50 minutes and set and lightly golden brown on the edges.  Remove to wire racks and cool.  Store in airtight container.
Always better the next day after flavors have had a chance to meld.


Bertha Reppert's Lavender Fairy Cakes

3/4 cup self-rising flour
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
4 teaspoons lavender blossoms

Spray the smallest cupcake tins ((1 1/2 inch size) with non-stick spray or line with little cupcake liners.  Cream the butter and sugar.  Add the lightly beaten eggs, then flour and lavender heads.  Fill each casing about half full.  Bake 8 - 10 minutes.  Remove from oven.  Cool about 10 minutes.  Remove cakes from tins.  Cool completely before frosting.


1 stick of butter, softened
3 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 t. vanilla
approximately 1/4 cup water

Beat all ingredients together adding additional water a tablespoon at a time to achieve spreading consistency.  Spoon the frosting into a pastry bag with a large flower tip.
Top each fairy cake with a frosting "flower" then sprinkle lightly with
lavender-colored edible glitter or decorating sugar.  Makes 36

Bertha Reppert was the founder of the Rosemary House (still a delightful herb and fairy lover's destination)  in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania and author of numerous herb books including Herbs For Weddings and other Celebrations, Growing Your Herb Business, and
Mrs. Reppert's Twelvemonth Herbal

Above is a picture of Bertha Reppert's Lavender Fairy Cakes.
Lovely, delectable little treats sure to please any fairy or fairy friend!
Little Mountain Pottery shown here, is located outside Tryon, North Carolina.  Owned by Claude and Elaine Graves, this is where Claude creates beautiful pottery renowned throughout the region.  My husband, Rich, my sister, Judy, and her husband, Joe, all attended a Kiln Opening there a number of years ago.  It is a magical place.  Elaine Graves and a friend served a wide array of delicious treats to visitors.  Among those was a rich buttery pecan, mini tea cake.  Judy asked Elaine for the recipe and she graciously shared it.  I have since dubbed these Little Mountain Fairy Cakes and I proudly serve them in a gorgeous Claude Graves bowl (shown below).

Little Mountain Fairy Cakes

1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 cup finely chopped pecans
pinch of salt
2/3 cup melted butter, cooled
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 t. vanilla

Mix brown sugar, flour, salt and pecans until well blended. In separate bowl, combine
melted butter, vanilla and eggs. Blend well.
  Add butter mixture to dry ingredients and
stir to blend completely. Drop by teaspoonfuls into mini muffin pans sprayed
with non-stick spray. Bake 10 - 12 minutes at 350 degrees.  Remove.  Cool in pan for ten minutes before removing
Little Mountain Fairy Cakes
Served in a Claude Graves bowl - a true work of art!
The flowers are in Claude's ingenious instant flower arranging vase.


Spice Tea Cake

1 Cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 Cup softened butter cut into 8 pieces
1/2 Cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. ground cardamom
1/4 t. ground nutmeg
1 1/4 Cups all-purpose flour

Using a food processor with steel blade, blend eggs and sugar for 1 minute. Stop. Scrape down sides of work bowl. Blend another 10 seconds. Add butter chunks distributing them evenly around the bowl. Process 1 minute. With machine running, pour cream slowly through feed tube. Blend 15 seconds. Mix dry ingredients together. Add to work bowl. Process using short pulses just until incorporated. Pour batter into greased 8 inch springform pan. Bake at 325 degrees for about 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool several minutes. Remove outside rim of pan. Dust top lightly with powdered sugar. Cut and serve warm.
Recipe from: Fairy Crafts, Gardens and Teas by Carla J. Nelson.



Claraya’s Sugar ‘n Spice Shortbread

1 Cup (2 sticks) softened butter (no substitutes)
1/2 Cup packed dark brown sugar
2 1/4 Cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cardamom

1/8 tsp ground coriander

Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Mix flour and spices together in a separate bowl. Add dry mixture to creamed mixture and blend well. Place dough on floured surface and knead until smooth - about 2 minutes. Pat into 1/3 inch thick rectangle (11” x 8”). Cut into 1” x 2” strips. Place on ungreased baking sheet. Sprinkle with white sanding sugar. Bake at 300 degrees for about 20 minutes or until bottoms
begin to brown. Remove. Cool.  Enjoy!

Rocky Mountain Apple Pie

An old-fashioned favorite my grandmother
(Florence Kidwell Quaintance) used to make.

Pie Crust
1 1/2 Cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
2 T. sugar
2 T. milk
1/2 Cup vegetable oil

Mix flour, salt and sugar in a 9 inch deep-dish pie pan. Add milk to oil and whisk,
Pour into flour mixture directly in pie pan. Stir with fork until combined.
With floured hands, press dough mixture to cover bottom and sides of pan. Set aside.

Pie Filling
8 - 10 baking apples, peeled, cored and sliced into quarters or eighths.
Use a combination of apples, if possible. Two or three each of Winesap, Golden Delicious,
Granny Smith, Jonathan, York Imperials (if you can get them). Place the apples in a bowl and sprinkle 1 t. vanilla over them.  Toss to coat.
Heap apple wedges into unbaked pie shell. Apples should mound
up at least an inch above the pie plate edge, 2 inches in the center.

In a separate bowl, mix together:
1 Cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
5 T. flour

Spoon sugar mixture evenly over top of apples letting it sift down through the wedges with some remaining on top. Slice 1/2 cup of cold butter in 1/4 inch pieces. Break each slice into four pieces and distribute the dots of butter evenly over the topping. Place in 450 degree oven for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees. Continue baking for 45 - 60 minutes or until apples are soft and juice is bubbly and syrupy in center. Remove from oven. Allow to cool.
Serve warm with ice cream.
Rocky Mountain Apple Pie - Ready to cut and serve with ice cream.
This recipe is for the Saffron Rolls Claraya told about in the April 8, 2013 blog entry.  I've posted it here at her request.   They're deliciously yummy!

Sunny Saffron Rolls

1 pkg active dry yeast
1/4 C. warm water
3/4 C. warm milk
1/4 t. crushed saffron threads
1/3 C. sugar
6 T. softened butter
1/4 t. sea salt
3 - 4 Cups all-purpose flour

Scald the milk.  Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.  Add the saffron threads.  Stir to mix.  Set aside to steep and cool.  Do not strain the saffron from the milk.

Add the yeast to the warm water in a large mixing bowl.  Stir to dissolve and let stand until bubbles begin to form.  Add butter, sugar and salt to the saffron/milk mixture.  Pour this into the yeast.  Stir to combine.  Add the flour a little at a time until a stiff dough forms.  Turn out onto floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.  Place in a greased bowl.  Turn to grease top.  Cover and let rise in a warm place until double (about 1 hour).  Punch dough down.  Turn out onto floured surface.  Knead gently a few times.  Break off small pieces and form into balls.  Place in greased muffin tins.  Cover and let rise until double (about 25 minutes).  Brush with mixture of 1 egg yolk and two t. water, lightly beaten.  Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes.  Remove from oven.  Serve warm.  Can be made ahead and frozen.  Reheat before serving.

This is the fairy cake I made for our granddaughter Kenlie's, momentous 5th birthday.  The cake is three layers, made from a confetti cake mix (to look like fairy dust).  This sweet little fairy and her baby chick and duck friends are  centered in a fairy ring of meringue mushrooms.  It thrilled the heart of a now five-year-old.
Sure to please the sweet tooth of any fairy - or fairy lover!
Marvelous May Wine
I have it on good authority that the fairies in these parts love Sweet Woodruff (Galium odoratum). And how could they not?   It's a lovely, low-growing ground cover - just fairy height - with glossy green leaves.  In early spring, masses of tiny, star-shaped white blossoms blanket the verdant mounds ushering in a perfect excuse for a fairy revel in the "star light" even if it's a cloudy night. 

But, there is more to this plant than just its looks!  Harvest the leaves, wash them gently, then let them air dry for at least a few hours.  You'll be rewarded with a delicate vanilla-like scent.  You can use the dried leaves in potpourri,  a delicious herbal tisane, or (my favorite!!!) May Wine.  And I assure you that May Wine is also a delicious treat any other month of the year!

Making May Wine

To make May Wine, add a handful of dried leaves (1/3 to 1/2 Cup) to a large glass jar.  Pour in a good white wine - Riesling, White Zinfandel, Pinot Grigio - whatever you prefer.  Cover and keep in a cool place for at least an hour - several is better.  Strain out the leaves and serve with a fresh strawberry garnish.  You can also make a wonderful party punch using May Wine.  Below is one of my favorite recipes from It's About Thyme by Marge Clark.  (Although Marge is now deceased, her wonderful herbal cookbooks are still available online). 

Marge Clark's May Wine Punch

1 bottle May Wine
1 13 - 15 ounce can pineapple chunks, drained
1/4 cup Gran Marnier (orange flavored liqueur)
1 bottle dry sparkling wine, chilled
fresh, ripe strawberries

Put a block of ice in your prettiest crystal or glass punch bowl.  Add pineapple chunks, the bottle of May Wine and the orange liqueur.  Stir well.  When ready to serve, add the sparkling wine and stir only once.  Garnish each punch cup with a fresh, ripe strawberry with green stem left on.

A cup or two of this and you might even catch a glimpse of one of the wee folk!

Note:  Authorities now caution not to use sweet woodruff in large amounts or long term.
Faux Cucumber Dip

Salad burnet (Sanguisorba minor), the pretty, scallop-leafed herb shown here, is often overlooked by herb gardeners.  But it's leaves have a flavor very akin to that of fresh cucumber.  Combine it with cream cheese and you have an instant winner.  Here's how to make the Faux Cucumber Dip shown above with the May Wine. 

1-  8 oz package of cream cheese, softened 
1/2 C. mayo
1 T. finely minced, fresh salad burnet leaves
1 T. finely minced, fresh parsley
1 T.  finely minced, fresh chives

Blend cream cheese and mayo in a food processor until very smooth.  Turn into a small bowl and carefully blend in the minced fresh herbs.  Do not add the herbs to the food processor
Cover and chill until ready to serve.  It's best to let the flavors meld for an hour or so. Delicious with an assortment of fresh crudites or crackers.
Lemon Verbena Liqueur
From:   Fairy Crafts, Gardens & Teas
By Carla J. Nelson
2 Strips of lemon peel, no white part
4 cups of brandy
1 1/2 cups of sugar
1/2 cup fresh lemon verbena leaves, packed
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise to expose seeds

Place all ingredients except the sugar in a glass jar.  Cover tightly and store in a dark cabinet away from heat and light.  After three days, add the sugar.  Cover tightly and shake gently.  Store again for two months away from heat or light.  Shake the jar gently once a week.  After two months, strain and bottle.  Lovely to sip leisurely in a small, dainty glass after a long stressful day - or any day!

Note:  This recipe was given to me years ago by herbalist, Janice Dinsdale.  She had gotten it from another herbalist friend, Martha Paul.  I modified it by adding the vanilla bean.  I also sometimes reduce the amount of sugar to 1/2 cup and add some stevia leaves for sweetener instead.  Taste-wise, you never know the difference but your body might be grateful for the effort.  If you have no lemon verbena leaves (shame on you!) add an extra strip or two of lemon peel. 

From the Epilogue:  Fairy Crafts, Gardens & Teas by Carla J. Nelson
Faye leaned back in her comfy chair, propped her feet up on the hearth and
took a long,
leisurely sip from her glass of lemon verbena liqueur.
The smooth, amber liquid warmed her like a sultry summer day.
Ah, those were busy times, she thought - and so rewarding.

Her mental meanderings lingered on memories of the van loads and bus loads of visitors that had descended on The Land of Faye over the past few months just as Pitter had predicted they would.  Together they had explored the woodlands and learned about the plight of the goldenseal, the American ginseng and the bloodroot.  They had trekked through acres of vibrant prairie garden observing the complex inter-workings of plants, insects, birds and furry wild creatures.  They had spent hours by the lake and brook marveling at the wonder of water plants and the vulnerability of toads, frogs and dragonflies.  They had enjoyed countless flavor and fragrance experiences with
the herbs from the garden and created an array of delightful items to
take home to savor through long winter days.

And every so often, when it had been a particularly pleasant day with a highly  perceptive group, there had been a few who had confided they were sure they'd seen a fairy!
Just a wisp of a thing and then it was gone!  Imagine that!


Making Herb Butters
Herb butters are magical in the kitchen.  They can quickly transform any ordinary
bread, vegetable, pasta, egg dish and more, into something uniquely delicious.
Keeping one or two on hand at all times makes quick work of sprucing up
ordinary foods and winning glowing accolades from friends and family.  And
they're so simple to make.  Here's a great basic recipe to start you off.

It only gets better from here.

Chives and Parsley Butter

1 stick of softened fresh butter
2 T. finely minced fresh parsley leaves
2 t. finely minced fresh chives

Place all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix together gently with a fork until
well blended.  Spoon onto a sheet of clear plastic food wrap.  Draw the wrap
over the mound and shape it into a ball or roll.  Seal and refrigerate for
at least three hours to allow the flavors to develop. 

To serve, slice the roll into rounds or scoop into small balls with a melon baller.
These can then be piled into a pretty dish for serving.

NOTE:  When making any herb butter, be sure to use the freshest herbs
available (organic is best).  Wash them thoroughly but gently.  Roll in paper
towels to absorb as much moisture as possible before proceeding.

Also:  The question is often asked:  Do you use salted or unsalted butter.
Some insist that you must use unsalted butter.  I never do.  I prefer
salted butter and have encountered no problems using it.

Ways to Use an Herb Butter For Rave Reviews

Serve with baked potatoes.  Great all by itself or with a dollop of sour cream.
Add it to mashed potatoes.
Add to steamed or boiled new red potatoes.  Toss to coat.
Use a pat to saute vegetables in a non stick pan.
Saute fresh mushrooms in a pat or two.

Other Combinations That Work Well

Marjoram, chives & rosemary
Parsley, lovage & chives
Rosemary & lemon zest
Rosemary & parsley
Rosemary & thyme
French tarragon & lemon zest
French tarragon & chervil
Dill, parsley & chives
Dill & salad burnet
Dill, salad burnet & chives
Oregano & basil


Simple Yet Fabulous!

Chives & Parsley Herb Butter
(Recipe Above)

Taste of Italy Herb Butter

1 stick of butter, softened
2 tsp. finely chopped sun-dried tomato
2 tsp. finely minced, fresh oregano
2 tsp. finely minced, fresh basil
1/8 tsp. garlic powder

I use oil packed, sun-dried tomatoes and pat off some of the excess oil with a paper towel before chopping.  Mix all of the ingredients gently in a bowl with a fork.  This can be rolled in plastic wrap for slicing later or scooped into a small dish.  Refrigerate for at least two hours before serving so flavors can meld. 

Note:  Years ago when I was on the speaker circuit, I used to give

away recipe cards for this herb butter.  It is absolutely delicious on
slices of lightly toasted Italian bread.  But don't stop there!

Cardamom Butter Cake
This is one of my favorite cakes to indulge in either for breakfast, an afternoon tea, or evening dessert.  It is moist and buttery with just the right amount and combination of spices.  The cardamom adds an unusual, distinct flavor that sets this apart.  It must be made in a food processor or the end result will be totally different.  I used a mixer once and was thoroughly disappointed.  The picture here shows the cake dusted with powdered sugar and topped off with a few marigold petals for a little pizazz!  It all disappeared in the blink of an eye!

Cardamom Butter Cake

1 1/4 C. all-purpose flour
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. ground cardamom
1/4 t. ground nutmeg or mace
1/4 t. salt
1 C. granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 stick of softened butter  (no substitute) cut into 8 pieces
1/2 C. heavy cream
1/2 vanilla

Mix the flour, salt and spices in a small bowl and set aside.  Using a food processor with a steel blade, blend eggs and sugar one minute.  Stop.  Scrape down the sides of the work bowl.  Process again for 15 seconds.  Distribute the butter chunks evenly in the bowl.  Process 1 minute.  With the machine running, pour the cream and vanilla slowly through the feed tube.  Blend 15 seconds.  Remove the top and sprinkle the dry ingredient mixture evenly over the batter in the work bowl.  Cover and process using short pulses until completely incorporated.  Do not over blend.

Scrape the batter into a greased 8 inch springform pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool in the pan several minutes.  Remove outside rim.  Dust with powdered sugar.  Best eaten the day it's baked , warm or slightly cooled.  Absolutely scrumptious with a steaming cup of tea or coffee.
Adger's Wharf was a popular restaurant on the road to Folly Beach, South Carolina years ago.  Unfortunately, it feel victim to "progress" a long time ago and was replaced with a strip mall.  My sister, Judy, was able to get the recipe for their scrumptious Crab Dip before its demise.  It has been a family favorite ever since.  No summer get-together is complete without it.
Adgers Wharf Crab Dip
& Marge Clark's The Best of Thymes
1 Cup crab meat, coarsely shredded
1 Cup JFG Mayonnaise
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1 t. French dressing
1 t. Worcestershire sauce
1 t. horseradish
1 t. fresh dill weed, finely chopped
or 1/2 t. dried dill weed

Mix all of the ingredients together.
Cover and refrigerate

at least one hour before serving
to allow flavors to meld.

Serve with crackers

The original recipe called for JFG Mayo, a product popular

in the southeastern US.  I purchase mine at
You can use imitation crab meat for this dip, if you'd like.
You can, of course, use other brands of mayo.
I have with equally delicious results.
But to me it just doesn't taste the same without JFG.

The Best Of Thymes
By: Marge Clark

I was extremely honored that in 1997, this recipe was included in Marge Clark's, beautiful herbal cookbook, The Best of Thymes.  For many years, Marge, an accomplished cook and award-winning cookbook author, was a favorite speaker throughout the Midwest.  Sadly, an automobile accident claimed her life in 1999. 
Marge's wonderful cookbooks are still available at    It's About Thyme, Christmas Thyme At Oak Hill Farm and The Best Of Thymes - each one a treasure trove of delectable recipes, culinary herb information and more.
Orange Currant Scones
1 3/4 C.  flour
2 1/2 t.  baking powder
2 T. sugar
1/2 t. salt
1/3 C. cold butter
2 egg yolks
1/2 Cup Half and Half cream
1  t. orange zest
1/3 C.  dried currants

1 egg white
2 teaspoons water

Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl.  Cut in the butter with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Stir in orange zest and currants.  Combine egg yolks and Half and Half.  Add to the crumb mixture, stirring to form a soft dough.  If the dough is too dry, add additional Half and Half.

Turn onto a floured surface and knead until smooth, about 20 times.  Roll into a circle about 1/2 inch thick.   Cut into wedges.  Place wedges one inch apart on baking sheet sprayed with non-stick spray.  Lightly beat egg white and water together and brush on tops of scones.
Bake at 425 degrees for about 12 minutes.  Remove and cool.

An incredible treat when served with butter and orange marmalade in front of a cozy fire on a chilly evening.  And fairies love to nibble on their tender goodness anytime.
Panna Cotta - A Faya Fairy Favorite
1 Cup whole milk
3 Cups heavy cream
1 Envelope of Knox unflavored gelatin
1/2 Vanilla bean - split to expose seeds
6 T. sugar
pinch of salt

Combine milk and cream in small pan.  Add vanilla bean. Sprinkle gelatin over the surface and let the mixture sit for about 10 minutes so gelatin can "bloom."  Place over low heat and warm mixture to 135 degrees, stirring frequently.  Remove immediately from the heat and take out the vanilla bean.  Blend in sugar and salt until completely dissolved.  Cool mixture to 50 degrees.  You can speed this process by placing the pan in a bowl of ice water.  Pour into ramekins.  Place in refrigerator for several hours to set.  Serve plain or with fresh fruit or fruit sauce. 

If you want your Panna Cotta firmer so you can unmold it onto a plate, increase the amount of gelatin by 1 teaspoon.

Note:  An instant read thermometer is very helpful when making this.

Etta Kidwell Miller's Christmas Pudding
This recipe can be traced back in my family over a hundred years.  It is an old-fashioned English pudding recipe like many others that were a Christmas treat in the 1800's.  It calls for suet, a white, crumbly, tasteless, digestible beef fat that can usually be found in the meat case at the supermarket in the winter. 

1  1/2 C. raisins
1 C. suet, chopped fine
1 C. sour milk
1 C. sugar
2 - 3 cups flour - divided
2 t. baking soda
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. nutmeg
1 t. allspice
1 t. nutmeg

Place raisins in a pint glass canning jar.  Add brandy to cover.  Put the lid on and set aside for at least 3 hours - preferably several days.  Strain.  Reserve the raisin flavored brandy.

In a mixing bowl, combine suet, milk and sugar and 2 T. of the reserved brandy.  In another bowl, mix two cups of the flour, the spices and baking soda.  Stir to combine.  Add to the milk mixture.  Stir well.  Add enough of the remaining flour a little at a time just to create a stiff batter.  Fold in  1 cup of the raisins.  Spoon into a mold sprayed with non-stick spray.  The batter should fill the mold no more than half way.  If your mold doesn't have its own lid, cover tightly with several layers of foil.  Place the mold in a large stockpot.  Add enough hot water to come up the sides of the mold about halfway.  Cover the stockpot and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to just enough to keep the pot steaming throughout the cooking process.  Steam covered for 3 hours.  Remove from the pot.  Allow to cool for 15 minutes.  Remove lid or foil.  Turn out onto cake plate.

In small saucepan combine 1 C. sugar, 1 T. flour and 1 T. butter.  Gradually stir in 1/2 C. boiling water.  Cook gently over low heat just to warm.  Remove from heat.  Stir in 2 T. reserved raisin flavored brandy.  Serve warm over slices of the pudding. 

A slice of this Christmas Suet Pudding garnished with some of the brandy-flavored sauce and a few of the extra raisins.  A sweet, spicy treat that hearkens back to days of old and simpler times. 
Claraya's Red Velvet Cookies
This is the cookie recipe Claraya mentions in her February 22, blog entry.  She made these for the students in her pottery classes for Valentine's Day.  They're so easy to make & delicious! 

1 Pkg Red Velvet Cake Mix
3/4 C softened butter
1 t. vanilla
1 egg

Beat egg, butter, vanilla and half of the cake mix together until smooth.  Stir in the remaining cake mix until thoroughly combined.  Roll out on a floured surface and cut into desired shapes. Sprinkle with red sanding sugar.  Bake on a cookie sheet sprayed with non-stick spray
6 - 8 minutes at 375 degrees until set.  Remove.  Allow to cool slightly before transferring to cooling racks.

These cookies are delicious as is or they can be frosted with your favorite cream cheese frosting.  They make fabulous ice-cream sandwiches too. This cookie dough is also a fantastic base for a Red Velvet Cheesecake.  Just press half of this recipe into your springform pan and bake it until just slightly underdone before adding the cheesecake batter and proceeding.

Rose-scented Geranium Teacakes

1 White, Yellow or Confetti Cake Mix
Fresh Rose-scented Geranium Leaves

Rose-scented Geranium
Sanding Sugar

To make Rose-scented Geranium Sanding Sugar
Add a dry fresh leaf or two to a container of sanding sugar
the color/s of your choice.  Seal.  Store in a cool, dry place
for at least 24 hours or indefinitely.

To make the teacakes, prepare the cake mix according to directions.  Line mini cupcake pans with cupcake liners.  Place a small piece of fresh Rose-scented Geranium leaf in the bottom of each.  Fill the liners to about 1/3, being careful to keep the leaf on the bottom.  Sprinkle tops with colored sanding sugar. Bake according to directions.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.  At this point, you can remove the cakes from their liners and discard the liner and the geranium leaf.  There is no harm in eating the leaf, but some people prefer not to.  It will have already scented and flavored the teacakes while baking and is no longer needed.

These teacakes are also delicious plain, without the sanding sugar.  It's also lovely to frost them and sprinkle the sanding sugar on the frosting for some extra bling.  Fairies love bling!  Be advised - don't leave any of these teacakes unattended if fairies are about!  They will disappear - like magic!

Note:  For more about Rose Scented Geraniums and these Teacakes, check out Claraya's April 3, 2014  post on her blog page.
Old-Fashioned Strawberry Shortcake

2 cups flour
2 T. sugar
3 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1/2 cup butter
1 lightly beaten egg
2/3 cup half and half
4 cups sliced, sugared fresh strawberries (cover and allow to macerate in the
refrigerator for 1 -2 hours before serving)
1 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped and sweetened to taste

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl.  Cut in the butter to form coarse crumbs.  Combine egg and cream and add to dry ingredients.  Stir just to combine.  Spread dough in 9 inch cake pan that
has been buttered or sprayed with non-stick spray. Bake at 425 degrees for approx 15 minutes.
Remove from oven and cool.  Slice shortcake horizontally into two layers.  Spoon berries
and whipped cream between layers and on top. Garnish with a few whole berries.  Best if covered and allowed to sit in the refrigerator for 15 minutes or so before serving.

Rhubarb Custard Pie
In a heat proof bowl, pour boiling water over 2 1/2 cups of fresh rhubarb cut into 1 inch pieces. Let stand 5 minutes, then drain off the water and allow to cool to room temperature.

Then add to the drained rhubarb; 1 C. granulated sugar, 3 eggs yolks, 1 T. melted butter, 2 T. flour and 3 T. water. Mix together and pour into an unbaked pie shell. Bake at 350 degrees until the rhubarb is tender and the juice thickened and bubbly. Remove pie and turn oven up to 400 degrees.

With the three remaining egg whites, make a meringue. Swirl onto the top of hot pie. Return to oven and bake for 4-8 minutes or until meringue is set and lightly browned. Remove. Cool. Enjoy!

Claraya's Apple Crumb

There's Apple Crisp

Then there's Apple Crumb.
What's the difference?
Here's a "rule of thumb."
Crisp has oatmeal,
Crumb does not.
A childhood treat,
 I never forgot.

4 large apples (preferably four different varieties)
peeled, cored, and cut into one inch chunks
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup butter

Toss apple chunks with one teaspoon vanilla
 and place in buttered baking dish.
Mix sugar and flour in a bowl.  Cut in the butter
distributing it evenly.  Spread over the apples.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or
until apples are tender and bubbly.
 Remove.  Cool.  Serve warm with ice cream or
whipped cream.

Rhubarb Dessert Cake
Rhubarb!  You know!  Those lovely red stalks that pop up in gtocery stores and farmers' markets (or if you're lucky - your garden!) in early Spring!  It's cheery, it's tart, and some consider it medicinal.  Or in other words, an herb!  In some circles, even today, it is valued as a Spring Tonic, thought to flush the body of toxins that have built up other the Winter months. It is even thought to have cancer-fighting properties.

For me, I love it in desserts - like the Rhubarb Custard Pie on this page.  But I recently found a new rhubarb dessert that I've added to my list of favorites.  You may want to try it too.  It's a little strange, but trust me, it all works out in the end.

4 Cups fresh rhubarb cut in 1 inch pieces
1 Box of Strawberry Jello
1/2 Cup sugar
1 Cup water
1 Yellow Cake Mix
3/4 Cup melted butter (or 1 1/2 sticks)

Spray a 13 x 9 inch baking dish with non-stick spray.  Distribute the rhubarb evenly over the bottom.  Pour in the cup of water.  Sprinkle the dry strawberry Jello over the rhubarb/water mixture.  Evenly distribute the sugar on top of the Jello.  Now spoon the dry cake mix on top.  Smooth carefully so all of the rhubarb/Jello base is completely covered.  Slowly pour the melted butter on the cake mix trying to coat as much of the mix as possible.  Cover with foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Remove.  Uncover and allow to cool.  Serve slightly warm with vanilla ice cream.

Fried Cucumbers
A favorite comfort food from childhood!  Summertime meant an excess of produce from the backyard garden. especially cucumbers!  Back in those days, my mother always used finely crushed, ordinary saltine crackers for breading fried foods. For these beauties, she would slice fresh cucumbers, dip them in beaten egg, then crushed saltine crackers and fry them - sometimes in Crisco shortening and other times in bacon grease.  Either way, they disappeared as soon as they cooled enough to eat.  I can't get through a summer without them!  Simple food is often the best!  Although, now and then, I dress them up with a sprinkle of fresh dill and/or grated Parmesan cheese. 
White Sangria
Again, this may not seem to you like a fairy recipe, but trust me, the Faya fairies love their "libations!"  When this is available, they don't hesitate to show up with their wine glasses!  Know what they use?  Thimbles!  Old-fashioned sewing thimbles!  They are the perfect size for this family of fairies.  Know where they got them!  They "borrowed" them in days long gone when the ladies of the houses did almost all of the sewing and darning of their family's clothes.

You see, fairies are genuinely opposed to stealing!  Thieves and thievery are definitely forbidden and frowned upon.  But "borrowing" is another matter.  Many a seamstress in the old days searched high and low for her lost thimble - never to find it!  Little did she know it had been whisked away by a fairy who needed to borrow it!  And so, to this day borrowed thimbles are still in use.  Many an herbal liqueur and other favorite libation (as the fairies refer to their drinks) have been sipped from borrowed thimbles.

Although the sangria shown above is considered a "white" sangria, it actually ends up being a peachy color.  Just add thinly sliced fruits like plums, nectarines, lemons & oranges to the bottom of a pitcher.  Use a potato masher to gently muddle them.  Then pour in two bottles of Moscato wine and 1/2 cup Cointreau (an orange liqueur).  Refrigerator for at least two hours before serving.  Lovely!  Sweet with a bit of tartness!  Refreshing!  And fairy approved!