You would be nuts (or from Lancashire!) to not like these.
Doncaster Nuts are oatmeal and flour biscuits sandwiched between a butter icing filling. The recipe was kindly donated by Mrs Glenys Godlovitch from Calgary, Canada. Glenys came from the Sheffield area of South Yorkshire originally and this was her mother’s recipe. recorded in an old family recipe book.
Our family was firmly based in Sheffield for as far back as we can go, so the reference in the name of the Nuts specifically to their being Doncaster Nuts suggests it wasn’t just a family recipe … My mother was born Gwennie (“Gwen”) Coldwell Carr in 1917. Her married name was Crowther. She and my Dad [Russell Crowther] married in 1940 and lived a long and happy married life.
The Doncaster Nuts were delicious little treats that Mum made every second or third weekend along with scones and cheese fingers. They store very well in biscuit tins. By the way, I know that by the 1980s she wasn’t using lard, but was cooking with Trex instead by then.
So here is the Carr-Crowther family Doncaster Nuts recipe, slightly adapted, for the present day. It makes around 12 filled biscuits. Does anyone else remember these? They don’t appear in any published regional recipe books, so this is (probably) the first time the recipe has been published. But please let us know if your family baked anything similar.
- 3 oz (85 g) lard (or Trex)
- 1 cup (4 oz/113 g) plain flour
- 1 cup (4 oz/113 g) oats (Quaker Oats work well with this recipe)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon Golden or other syrup
- 1 small teaspoon of Bicarbonate of Soda
- 1 tablespoon hot water
- Few drops of vanilla extract
- 1 oz (28 g) soft margarine
- 1 oz (28 g) softened butter
- 2 tablespoons (approx. 2 0z/50 g) icing sugar
- Mix the flour, oats and sugar together in a bowl
- Rub in the lard
- In a small saucepan heat together the syrup and water until the two blend; add and mix the Bicarbonate of Soda to the liquid
- Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and mix well together to form a stiff dough. Leave the dough to rest for five minutes or so to absorb the liquid
- On a floured board roll out (or pat out with the palm of your hand) the dough to approximately the thickness of a pound coin (around 3 mm). Cut into biscuit rounds. (see photograph below. However, see Glenys’s comments and photo, bottom of page, about alternative ways of shaping these).
- Place the uncooked biscuits onto a baking tin lined with grease-proofed paper and bake in a pre-heated moderate oven (gas 4/350 F/190 C) for around 10 minutes until the are just starting to brown. The cold biscuits should have a bit of a crunch and not too soft (or hard)
- While the biscuits are baking, make your filling by beating together the margarine, butter, icing sugar, and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth.
- Leave the cooked biscuits to cool
- When they cold, add a generous dollop of filling to one side of the biscuits and top it with another. You should end up with around 12 complete biscuits.
And the taste? A very more-ish blend of crunchy-oatey biscuit with a sweet soft centre. Thanks Gwen!
p.s. Glenys tells me that her Mum used not to roll out the dough, but to bake little mounds a bit like a half-walnut shape only bigger (see photo below).