Gran’s Sweet Treats

No long articles, no pretty pictures, just old fashioned recipes from Matt’s Nan, Gran or (possibly) great-great-gran. Most have one or more archaic ingredient, or directions steps which need translating for a modern readership.

For cakes, see Gran’s Cakes.

Malt Loaf / Malt Bread

I don’t remember this being made at home, but I grew up on the Soreen packaged version: soft, sweet, more of a sticky cake than a bread, and without any dried fruit at all.

Gran’s recipe uses dried egg which can easily switched out for a single fresh one. I didn’t have treacle or golden syrup (hard to find in US stores; a golden corn syrup might substitute), so used molasses. The texture was more bready than I’m used to, but the flavor was close. It needed a little more sweetness (the golden syrup would have supplied this) and definitely would benefit from a good teaspoon of salt. It does need to be wetter in texture.

“A little milk” required to create the batter turned out to be at least 1/2 cup. Gas mark 5 is 375F (although as I say, I’d advise 25 degrees cooler). My first attempt rose a little, perhaps halfway up a normal loaf tin, but remained firm, refusing to collapse in the center like a store-bought loaf.

See Felicity Cloake’s malt loaf roundup in The Guardian for more recipe variations and her preferred method. She advises that malt loaves should be kept wrapped for several days before eating for best texture.

So curious to try and compare Boston brown bread (from a can), which does contain molasses but doesn’t have any malt.

Malt loaf
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Malt Bread

An old-fashioned malt bread, sweetened with malt syrup and treacle and studded with raisins
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time45 minutes
Course: Snack
Cuisine: british
Keyword: malt, raisins
Servings: 12 slices


  • 8 oz flour
  • 4 oz any dried fruit
  • 1/2 tsp bicarb soda
  • 2 tbsp malt
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup or treacle
  • 2 tbsp dried egg
  • milk a little


  • Mix flour, soda, eggs, add dried fruit
  • Slightly warm syrup and malt
  • Add a little milk, mix into a stiff batter
  • Bake in moderate oven (Gas 5) for about 3/4 hour
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Gran’s Marzipan Slices

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: british


  • 1/2 lb icing sugar
  • 6 oz ground almonds
  • 2 egg whites
  • salt a pinch
  • lemon juice a few drops


  • Sift sugar in basin
  • Mix in ground almonds, add lemon juice and mix again
  • Whip egg whites to a froth and add salt
  • Slowly mix in with sugar and almonds till a stiff paste is formed
  • Cut in any shape and leave an hour to get firm
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Gran’s Peppermint Creams

Course: Party food
Cuisine: british


  • 1 lb icing sugar
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 gill real double dairy cream
  • peppermint essence


  • Sift icing sugar in basin
  • Add cream and egg white and stir until you have smooth cream
  • Add peppermint essence as you go, a few drops at a time
  • Roll out on board dusted with icing sugar
  • Stamp out into rounds with small cutter
  • Leave to dry in a warm place
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