This particular recipe was inspired by the Lord of the Rings trilogy, which I re-watched before going to see most recent onscreen adaption of The Hobbit.
After my refresher marathon, I went on the hunt to see if anyone else had tried to make any of the recipes mentioned in the movies and books, including the twice-baked honey-cake spoken of in both The Hobbit and passing in the Lord of the Rings trilogy; no luck. There have been attempts to make the sweet mead Miruvor, though I'm not brave enough to try and brew drinks just yet. I don't think my kitchen could handle that right now. Or my stomach.
This search led onto trying out the lembas bread recipe instead. It is a deliciously sweet bread with a doughy-fluffy texture on the inside and a gorgeous warm smell. As a bonus it is also vegetarian-friendly and true to the books as it is very filling!
The original recipe makes about 10-12 pieces of lembas though I have found that adding more spices and honey, a little less (and warm) butter improves the recipe, as well as relying on fingers instead of just a fork makes it easier in the long run.
Lembas Bread Recipe
275g of plain flour 1 tablespoon of baking powder 1/4 teaspoon of salt 110g of butter (room temperature) 60g of brown sugar
2 teaspoons of cinnamon (or similar)
1 1/2 teaspoons honey
160ml of milk
1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla
1. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C and prepare at least one flat tray with greaseproof paper (no need to butter the paper, just leave it plain and shiny side up).
2. Next sieve both the flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Add in the salt and mix until fine and set aside for a moment.
3. Prepare the butter and add into the dry mixture. Importantly use a fork for this stage as you will want the mixture to resemble fine granules. You can cheat once you have begun to breakup and coat the butter in flour by using the tips of your fingers to make the fine granules, careful not to put too much pressure/squeeze or you'll just make large lumps/paste.
4. Sieve in both the sugar and cinnamon (at this point you can change the spice to something similar, a suggestion being Allspice, Nutmeg, or something equally warm, use the same measure of it though). When mixing in continue to use the fork/fingers until the mixture has returned back to granules once more.
5. Measure out and add the all of the cold milk in one step. Still using the fork to mix at this point you should also add both the honey and vanilla. Stir and mix until you have a thick and sticky sweet smelling dough.
6. Leave the dough to sit for about 5-10 minutes.
7. Dust your surface with a fine layer of plain flour and roll the dough out. Aim to get it about half an inch thick and with a sharp knife cut it into squares around about 3 or 4 inches both ways (though larger or smaller depending on your preference).
8. Transfer the squares onto the prepared tray/trays.
9. Before putting the trays into the oven, use a sharp knife and criss-cross the surface of each slice from corner-to-corner.
10. Put into the oven for about 15 minutes (remember to keep a close eye on the bread as cooking time varies dependent on the thickness and size of the slices). The bread will be done when all slices are a golden tone around the edges and pale gold on top.
11. Allow the bread to cool before you attempt to remove them from the sheets and trays. Once they have cooked and been removed you can either wrap them of presentation like in the Lord of the Rings, or you can simply enjoy them with a cup of tea straight away!