I have made these little gems for years! They make good gifts for friends, visiting royalty and relatives alike.
Medieval Recipe from The Widowes Treasury by John Partridge, 1585 and redacted by
Cindy M. Renfrow, author of Take a Thousand Eggs or More and A Sip Through Time as found here
To make fine Cakes. Take a quantity of fine wheate Flower, and put it in an earthen pot. Stop it close and set it in an Oven, and bake it as long as you would a Pasty of Venison, and when it is baked it will be full of clods. Then searce your flower through a fine sercer. Then take clouted Creame or sweet butter, but Creame is best: then take sugar, cloves, Mace, saffron and yolks of eggs, so much as wil seeme to season your flower. Then put these things into the Creame, temper all together. Then put thereto your flower. So make your cakes. The paste will be very short; therefore make them very little. Lay paper under them.
Baked flour: Take some flour (4 cups, unsifted, made enough) and bake, covered, at 350F for about 1hr 15min, until slight color change and a nutty smell.
To every 3 cups of sifted baked flour, take the following:
1 1/2 cups butter
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon clove powder
1/4 teaspoon mace powder
1/2 pinch saffron, crumbled
3 egg yolks
Preheat oven to 350 F.
In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Add the spices and egg yolks, and beat to mix thoroughly. Add the flour, and beat until smooth. Use a non-stick cookie sheet, or line a cookie sheet with baking parchment. Take the dough, 1 level teaspoonful at a time, and roll into small balls with your hands. (Resist the temptation to make them larger -- they won't cook in the middle if they're too big.) Flatten the balls slightly, and place them 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet. Bake for 9-12 minutes, or until the cookies are puffed and golden around the edges. Remove from oven and cool on wire racks.