Singing Hinnies are a a traditional griddle cake or fried scone from North East England. They make a great treat for breakfast or afternoon tea.
The name singing hinnies is magical. It conjures up a mystical world where singing entices you. As I live in Newcastle I knew I had to this recipe from the North East. Singing hinnies are a traditional Northumberland fried scone or griddle cake.
Every culture has a recipe that is a variant on a griddle cake. The difference tends to be in the name rather than the ingredients. A singing hinny is north east England’s version of the griddle cake. They are a bit like skinny scones which you cook on the griddle. In Scotland they are known as fat cutties.
Hinny is a Geordie word for a girl or woman. Imagine the word honey spoken in a lilting Geordie accent, ‘Y’areet hinny?” It may refer to the dried fruit which adds sweetness to the scone. Singing hinnies are a traditional Geordie recipe.
The singing refers to the way the scone sizzles in the pan as the cake cooks on the griddle. It is easy to imagine these cooking on a large griddle pan over a coal fire in a coalminers cottage while the children look on.
Simple dishes that could be cooked on one pan over the fire were the mainstay of the ordinary working family. Miners wives would cook the food over open fires at home. Pots and kettles would simmer and boil. Griddles would sizzle with bread and scones. Mining was a hard life and required plenty of food. Singing hinnies were a favourite treat.
Read more: Teatime treat – Felton Spice Loaf
The recipes for singing hinnies and Welsh cakes are not dissimilar. They are both scone like cakes which cook on a griddle.
The main difference is that Welsh cakes are sweetened with sugar. All the sweetness in the singing hinnies comes from the fruit.
A griddle is a broad flat surface for cooking on. In olden days they hung over the fire. If you haven’t got a griddle a frying pan is perfect.
The singing hinnies are really easy to make. The ingredients are flour, baking powder, butter and sultanas. A little milk binds them together.
Rub the butter into the flour until you get a breadcrumb like mixture. Rubbing in just means rubbing the butter and flour together with your fingers. Add the baking powder, salt and sultanas or currants. Stir in the milk until the mixture forms a dough.
There are several different ways you can make the singing hinnies. You can make little balls of dough and flatten these to make small circles. For a more uniform shape roll out the dough and cut circles using a cutter.
Add a little oil to a frying pan and warm. Place the singing hinnies on the frying pan and cook gently for fifteen to twenty minutes. You will need to flip them over halfway through the cooking time. Both sides should be golden brown.
Eat the singing hinnies hot from the pan with a little butter and jam.
The mixture for singing hinnies is very like a scone mixture. To prevent the hinnies being tough you need to handle the mixture carefully. You want them to be light and crumbly when eaten.
The best way to do this is to keep everything cool when working the dough. Use cold butter and make sure your hands are cool when rubbing the mixture in. Be careful not to overwork the dough. It just needs to be a light pliable mixture so you can roll it out. Work as quickly as possible so the dough does not get too warm.
Read more: Lardy cake – a traditional fruit loaf
Singing Hinnies Recipe
The singing hinnies are best served straight from the pan with butter and jam.
Whilst you can freeze cooked singing hinnies it is better to freeze the raw dough. When you defrost them just cook them as normal for that freshly cooked taste.
Put the singing hinnies on a baking tray to freeze them. Once they are frozen you can put them into freezer bags. Put a bit of baking parchment in between them so they are easier to separate when you come to defrost them.
Why not pin the recipe for later?
Have you made singing hinnies before? Let me know below.
This post was first published on 22 Oct 2013 but I have recently updated the content and photos.