Soul Cakes

Soul Cakes (or Soulmass Cakes) come out of the middle ages. Souling is the practice of going door to door to sing for a treat. Often associated at Samhain and Yuletide. The practice of our meditation is to offer prayers for both living and passed souls and their friends. The cakes are usually filled with allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger or other spices, as well as raisins, currants or cranberries and marked with a cross to signify that these were for alms.

Mulled Wine Soul Cakes

1/2 c raisins
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 c red wine
1/2c red currant jelly
1 pinch chili powder
1 t. ground cinnamon
1/4 t. ground cloves
1/4 c. hazelnuts, chopped*
1/4 c. whole blanched almonds, chopped
3.1/2 oz plain carob sweetened chips*
2/3 c self-rising flour
finely grated zest of 1 orange
1/4 C unsalted butter
1 egg
powdered sugar and extra dried fruit of choice

1) To make fruit mixture: put raisins and cranberries into a small heavy saucepan with wine, jelly, and spices. Heat until jelly dissolves, then bring to a boil and boil for 2-3 minutes until the syrup is reduced by about half. Allow to Cool.

2) Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a large baking sheet. Mix the nuts and chocolate in a bowl with the flour, orange zest, melted butter, egg, and fruit mixture to make a paste. Place spoonfuls of mister, spaced slightly apart, on the baking sheet.

3) Bake the cookies for about 20 minutes until they have spread slightly. Leave them on the baking sheet and gently place a cross of dried fruit into the top, after 3 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Generously dust with powdered sugar. Store in airtight container for up to 1 week.

Adopted from Mulled Wine Cookies, Christmas Sweets by Sara Lewis, pg 13. Hamlyn, Octopus Publishing Group, 2004

*can replace with walnuts and dark chocolate chips