International Recipes - Shrewsbery Cakes  -“Medieval Shortbread”
Shrewsbery  Cakes
("Medieval Shortbread")

To make Shrewsbery Cakes

a quart of very fine flour,
eight ounces of fine sugar beaten and sifted
twelve ounces of sweet butter
a Nutmeg grated
two or three spoonfuls of damask rosewater

work all these together with your hands as hard as you can for the space of half an hour, then roll it in little round Cakes, about the thickness of three shillings one upon another, then take a silver Cup or a glass some four or three inches over and cut the cakes in them, then strew some flower upon white papers & lay them upon them, and bake them in an Oven as hot as for Manchet, set up your lid till you may tell a hundredth, then you shall see the white, if any of them rise up clap them down with some clean thing, and if   your Oven be not too hot set up your lid again, and in a quarter  of an hour they will be baked enough, but in any case take heed your Oven be not too hot, for they must not look brown but white, and so draw them forth & lay them one upon another till they bee could, and you may keep them half a year the new baked are best.

Nic's Version
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter
2 tablespoons Orange Flower Water (as needed, could be more)
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg


Combine dry ingredients. Cut in butter as for pie crust. Moisten with just enough chilled orange flower water to make a dough that holds itself together. This will vary depending on the qualities of the flour you use, but should be near 2 Tablespoons.  Work with your hands and finger tips until well blended. Roll out 1/8-1/4 in. thick.

Cut with a round cutter approximately 3 inches in diameter, stamp with a floured cookie stamp, or dock with a dinner fork (prick lots of little holes to keep from puffing up). Bake at 325° F. for about 15 to 20 minutes until set, but not browned.

By fra niccolo difrancesco, original and translation by: Beebe, Ruth Anne. Sallets, Humbles & Shrewsbery Cakes. Boston: Godine, 1976. p.64.