Stuffed Monkeys
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For the Biscuit Dough

  • 340 g flour
  • 5 tsp cinnamon
  • 225 g brown sugar
  • 225 g butter
  • 1 small egg

For the Filling*

  • 55 g mixed candied peel
  • 55 g sultanas
  • 15 g blanched almonds
  • * I have halved the quantities given in the original recipe since I ended up with lots of filling left over.

For the Biscuit Dough

  • ¾ lb flour
  • ½ oz cinnamon
  • ½ lb brown sugar
  • ½ lb butter
  • 1 small egg

For the Filling*

  • 2 oz mixed candied peel
  • 2 oz sultanas
  • ½ oz blanched almonds
  • * I have halved the quantities given in the original recipe since I ended up with lots of filling left over.

Stuffed Monkeys

I had often noticed this recipe - and its slightly off-putting name - in my mother Paula's copy of the 1945 Women's Institute Home Cookery Book, since it is on the same page as Sponge Drops which I make regularly. But it hadn't occurred to me to try them until the sister-in-law of my friend Margaret Sadler told me that she had made them for many years and are a favourite with her family. This is just the sort of recommendation I like so I decided to give them a go. They are simple to make and have met with universal acclaim from my family and the friends and neighbours who have tried them. The biscuit is a buttery, brown sugar mixture with a lot of cinnamon - ½ oz or 5 level teaspoonfuls. The cinnamon makes the biscuits a nice monkey-brown and is an essential part of the flavour. Stuffed Monkeys look set to take their place alongside Fly Cemeteries (See A Second Helping) among our family favourites - the names always raise a smile and the taste and texture are outstanding.

Getting Ready

  1. Preheat the oven to 350º F/180º C and lightly grease two baking trays or line them with baking paper.
  2. Bring the butter and egg to room temperature. The butter needn't be very soft, just not fridge-hard.
  3. Chop all the filling ingredients finely together.

Mixing and Baking

  1. Sift the flour and cinnamon into a large bowl and rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  2. Mix in the brown sugar.
  3. Add the egg yolk and combine everything to form a soft dough. If you need more liquid, add the lightly beaten egg white a little at a time. (You may not need all the white if the butter is soft.) To make the dough in a food processor just combine everything except the egg and then add the yolk, followed by the white if you need it.
  4. Knead the dough lightly into a ball, cut it into four, wrap in waxed papper and refrigerate for about 10 minutes to make the dough easier to roll out.
  5. On a lightly floured board gently roll out the dough one piece at a time, to a thickness of about 1/8 inch / 3 mm.
  6. Cut out fluted or plain circles about 2¼ in / 5cm diameter. Re-roll the scraps from each lot of dough a couple of times.
  7. Put a small spoonful of the filling mixture (or some Christmas Mincemeat) on half of the circles, place another circle on top and press the edges gently together.(If you have a very floury surface and the two halves won't stick easily, dampen the edges of the lower circle with a little water.
  8. Place the filled biscuits on the baking trays and refrigerate each tray for about 5 minutes before putting them in the oven.
  9. Bake for 12-15 minutes until the biscuits are firm and just beginning to change colour.
  10. Remove from the oven, cool and wire racks and store airtight.
  11. Makes about 30 biscuits.