Gingernuts are my favourite tea biscuit! The word ‘gingernut’ always reminds me of a dear German friend. Like me, she too loved gingernuts. So when we set off on an Easter road trip through the North Island of New Zealand we made sure we were well stocked with gingernuts. Half way through this trip, a conversation about gingernuts lead me to inform her that there weren’t any nuts in gingernuts. She felt a bit let down by this but her love for gingernuts lived on (I think).
This particular recipe is from one of my ex-colleagues. She brought them to a meeting once and I loved them so much that I annoyed her until she parted with the recipe. She said that the biscuits never taste the same twice and I have discovered that this is indeed true. Sometimes they are soft like gingerbread and other times hard and crunchy and great for dunking into a cup of tea/coffee/milk. I hope you like this recipe as much as I do.
1 tablespoon golden syrup or honey
1 ½ cups castor sugar
1 egg lightly beaten
1 2/3 cups self-raising flour
½ teaspoon baking soda (soda bicarbonate)
3-4 teaspoon ground ginger (or half fresh and half ground ginger)
1. Preheat the oven to 150ºC.
2. In a saucepan or in the microwave, melt the butter.
3. To the melted butter, add golden syrup and sugar, stirring until well combined.
4. If you see crystals of sugar after combining, then leave it on the heat for 1-2 more minutes. The mixture should be gleaming with butter at this point. If you whisk it well, it should turn pale and creamy. If you can’t be bothered whisking, don’t worry as you will have a crunchier biscuit which will be as tasty. Cool for 2-3 minutes.
5. To the cooled butter and sugar mixture add the beaten egg and mix.
6. Into the sugar and egg mixture, sift in the flour and baking soda and mix well.
7. Finally add the ginger and mix until it is uniformly spread (this is easier to see if you have used fresh ginger rather than powdered ginger as the strands are visible through the dough). The dough should be thick as the butter will have re-hardened after adding the cold flour to the mixture.
8. Place heaped teaspoons of cookie dough 3cm apart on tray and flatten slightly.
9. Bake at 150ºC for 12-15 minutes until the top has gone brown.
10. Let the biscuits cool before you try and peel them of the tray. Gingernuts get crunchier as they cool down.
11. Enjoy with your favourite cuppa!
1. If you aren’t a huge fan of ginger, then use the powdered form and halve the quantity.
2. If you like ginger, then use the fresh variety as the flavour is strong and lasts through the baking process.
3. About 5 minutes after the biscuits have been in the over, you will see their centres puff up like a dome. Pick the tray up at one end and let it go so it crashes onto the oven shelf. You should now see the puffiness gone. This technique will make a gingernut that’s crunchy all the way through rather than just on the edges.
1. I am very impatient when it comes to baking several batches of cookies. I lean towards bigger cookies and try and fit them all between the two baking trays I own. Unfortunately, when I do this with the gingernuts, they fuse into a giant ginger slab that I then have to cut with a knife when still warm. This yields several ginger-shards that are still quite yummy but a bit misshapen and overcooked.
2. Because the gingernut dough is slightly brown to start off with, you can misjudge when to pull it out. If you see a darker brown on the surface of a gingernut relative to the rest of the biscuit, give it another 3-4 minutes and pull it out of the oven. If you leave it longer, you will get a really dark brown, almost burnt biscuit. However, if this is how you like it, then go for it.