When Isabella Beeton first published her Book of Household Management in 1861, confectionery would have been a rare and expensive treat for all but the wealthiest members of Victorian society. Mrs Beeton published many recipes for traditional confectioners, and these recipes ― updated with the latest modern techniques by Gerard Baker ― can now be found in the gorgeous new cookbook Mrs Beeton’s Homemade Sweetshop. We’ve picked out a few of the recipes for you to try.
The book takes you through all the tips and techniques of sugar work, including making traditional boiled sweets. These Rose Candy Canes are an old-fashioned fairground treat.
Fudge is thought to have originated in the late 19th century, so it’s unlikely that Isabella Beeton ever tasted it before her early death. This recipe combines the flavours of citrusy cardamom with the texture of fresh coconut.
For Isabella Beeton, nuts were a seasonal and special treat, something it’s easy for us to forget now they’re available year-round. This simple recipe for Honey Sesame Squares makes a great mid-afternoon snack.
Of course, we could not skip on the chocolate recipes! Mrs Beeton’s Homemade Sweetshop includes a whole chapter of recipes, including instructions on melting and tempering different types of chocolate. You can test your skills with this simple Vanilla Cream Truffles or wow your dinner party guests with these stunning Marbled Chocolate Bars with Chilli and Gold at the end of the meal. To be true Victorian confectioner, served in a decorated box!