Fairings were sweet snacks traditionally bought for children and sweethearts at fairs, and were recorded as far back as the 1100s. At one point in history, every region in the country would have had their own take or their own speciality, but it seems that gingerbread was a common incarnation.
Cornish fairings - sweet, spiced biscuits - were originally bundled up with sugared almonds and macaroons, but it is now just the biscuits which have retained the name.
In Victorian times, a baker from Truro (Furniss) started to produce them on a larger scale using a recipe from Launceston, our local town. This company ended up baking them for over a century, and supplying them by mail-order across the world.
However, in our humble opinion, nothing can beat the freshly made version. Sweet, spicy, crunchy and just a little chewy, they are a real treat, and very easy to make. Have a go and let us know how you get on.
Heat oven to 200°C (180°C fan-based ovens) / Gas mark 6.
Line 2 large baking sheets with greaseproof paper.
Mix the flour, salt, baking powder, bicarb, spices and mixed peel in a large bowl.
Add the diced butter and rub in with your finger tips until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
Stir in the sugar.
Warm the golden syrup gently, either by briefly heating it in a microwavable mug, or by gently warming in a pan, and add it to the dry mix.
Stir with a spoon, and then bring together with your hands to form a dough. (Add extra golden syrup or water if the mix doesn't hold together).
Pinch golf-ball sized lumps of the dough and space them out onto the baking sheet, with approximately 1 inch between them. (You can make them smaller if you like). Don't worry about making them perfectly spherical - they sink down anyway.
Bake for 8-10 minutes but keep an eye on them as they can burn quickly.
Let them cool on the baking sheet before moving them to a wire rack.
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