Shakespeare’s Kitchen: 1610 Rose Cakes

April 20, 2018 Updated: April 20, 2018

This recipe is from the 1610 handwritten recipe book of Sarah Longe. Ms. Longe intended the book only for her personal use and the recipes were not published during her lifetime. Holding this small, 400-year-old book and reading Ms. Longe’s artistic calligraphy, in faded ink, I could easily imagine Shakespeare writing on similar paper and using similar ink, perhaps even purchased at the same London stationer’s shop.

Makes about 36 cookies

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground mace
  • 1/4 cup rose syrup
  • 2 tablespoons cream
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 cups pastry flour
  • 2 tablespoons crushed candied rose petals (optional)

Using an electric mixer on medium speed, cream the butter, sugar, mace, 2 tablespoons of the rose syrup, and the cream until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the flour, one cup at a time, and mix until just incorporated.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Using a cookie press in the shape of a flower, press out the cookies (or drop with a tablespoon) onto a well-buttered, nonstick baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Brush the remaining 2 tablespoons of rose syrup on the hot cookies and sprinkle with the crushed rose petals.

Recipe reprinted with permission from “Shakespeare’s Kitchen: Renaissance Recipes for the Contemporary Cook” by Francine Segan. Published by Random House.