Dumplings and Cocky's Joy

Coonie Lovatt

Adapted from The Dumpling: A Seasonal Guide (William Morrow Cookbooks, 2009)

"Sometimes called "Dampers and Cocky's Joy," these ridiculously good dumplings are like glazed doughnuts minus the frying. Big spoonfuls of soft, eggy dough are cooked in a pot of sugar syrup known as Cocky's Joy, an affectionate term for golden syrup. A similarly wonderful dumpling dish from Canada, grand-père, is made with maple syrup, but we think that the deep caramel taste of the golden syrup and muscovado sugar is outstanding."

–Wai Hon Chu & Coonie Lovatt


  • Syrup:

  • 1/2 cup golden syrup
  • 1/2 cup light muscovado or other unrefined sugar
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • Dumplings:

  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk


To prepare the syrup, pour 1 1/2 cups water into a large pot. Stir in the golden syrup, muscovado sugar, and butter and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to very, very low and cover to keep the syrup hot while you make the batter.

To prepare the batter, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Add the butter and work it into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter or 2 butter knives until the mixture looks like a coarse, damp meal.

Whisk the eggs and milk together in a small bowl. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and mix until all the liquid has been absorbed and you have a thick, slightly lumpy batter. Do not overmix. This batter should not sit around. Once mixed, it should be dropped immediately into the syrup.

Scoop up a heaping tablespoon of batter. Use another spoon or your finger to move the batter gently off the spoon and into the syrup. Drop in spoonfuls of the remaining batter, leaving as much space as you can around each. You will get 10 to 12 dumplings. Cover, raise the heat to medium, and cook for 10 minutes. Uncover and cook for 5 minutes longer.

Carefully scoop up the dumplings with a slotted spoon and serve with a generous helping of the hot syrup. These dumplings are great as is or topped with vanilla ice cream.


4 to 6 servings