As the cookbook says, “little cakes folded over in the form of love knots are nice for tea”, and I couldn’t agree more. The finished knots are somewhere between shortbread, sugar cookies, and cake. Delicate and doughy, they are not especially sweet on their own, but make an ideal conduit for clotted cream and jam.
I struggled a bit with the obscure directions to “lap across in a true love knot”, but after a bit of experimentation, I think I found a great method. It results in 2-3 bite little cookie-cakes that fit snugly next to a cup of tea on a saucer.
Recipe for Love Knots
Prep: 30 minutes Baking: 10-12 minutes
Makes: 3-4 dozen knots
Cook’s Note: I’ve given instructions for the knot shape I used, but feel free to innovate!
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 5 cups flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup butter
- 1/4 cup lard or shortening
- 2 eggs
- 3 Tbs. milk
- grated nutmeg or cinnamon
Combine the soda, flour, and sugar, then rub in the butter and lard/shortening. When the mixture resembles small breadcrumbs, add the beaten eggs, milk, and any spices you’d like to include. You may need to tweak the proportions a bit in order to get a nice cohesive dough.
Roll the dough out on a floured surface to a thickness of about 1/4″. Slice into strips about 1″ wide and 5-6″ long. Take each of these strips, roll into an even rope about 8-10 inches long.
To arrange in the shape of a love knot, take a rope and tie it into a simple knot. Looking at the knot, you’ll see that one end seems to come out the bottom, and one out the top. Fold the top end over and under the knot, and take the bottom end and fold it up over the curve of the knot and into the hole in the center. It takes some practice, but in the end, you should have a knot with no visible ends, and five strands that all lie in the same direction. You’ll probably get better as you go, and since the dough is forgiving, you can redo some of the uglier knots.
Arrange the knots on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 35o F for 10-12 minutes, until bottoms are nice golden brown and the tops are just beginning to color. Remove to cooling rack.