This is a blast from the past, isn’t it? Everybody (in the UK, anyway), has fond memories of the ginger biscuit.
“Oh my God. This takes me back,” proclaimed D, mouthful of crumbs. “I love these.”
I think about my nan when I think of ginger biscuits. My dad’s family were a family of tea-dippers and when I used to stay at my nan and grandad’s house, my cousins would be there and they ALWAYS dipped their biscuits. ALWAYS. I hated dipping biscuits, the sogginess made me feel sick, but somehow ginger biscuits held their own. They were the WWE champions of the tea-dipping hardcore belt. They held their shape, didn’t melt and still had a bit of crunch. That is, as long as you didn’t hold them under until they drowned.
I’ve made these biscuits on numerous occasions. We always made them when I worked at WA in Solihull. Me, Eleanor, Debs, ‘Nanny’ San, Perdeep and Julie would gather our broods (yellow, green, red, orange, purple or blue group) and assemble in the Early Years kitchen armed with flour, sugar, golden syrup, eggs, butter ready to soldier the world with an army of gingerbread men with smartie eyes and sultana buttons. Good times.
I think everyone has different expectations of ginger biscuits. When I worked for Greggs (a well known bakery chain here in the UK), we used to bake the pre-frozen gingerbread men and when they came out of the oven, our job would be to add chocolate eyes and buttons. These spicy little men were different to the usual ginger biscuit – quite ‘biscuity’ and smooth textured rather than crunchy and cracked. Warm out of the oven, we’d have a cuppa at 8.45 a.m with our hot gingerbread man and ready ourselves for the day long queue that would begin at 9 a.m and continue until 5 p.m with demands for custard tarts, fresh cream doughnuts, bloomer loaves, crusty cobs or chocolate eclairs. Like I said, good times.
What are your gingerbread memories? I’d like to collect ginger recipes and test each one. If you have a favourite ginger recipe, please add it here and maybe we could all test it and then review it? My recipe was originally in pounds and ounces – good old fashioned British metric weights. I’ve converted to the nearest ten in grams.
Ginger Biscuits (makes around 12) – I made these gluten free too, by substituting the flour for gluten-free flour from Sainsbury’s and adding 1 tbsp milk and a dash of extra golden syrup as gluten free flour soaks up liquid quite easily.
180 g (6 oz) self-raising flour
120 g (4 oz) soft brown caster sugar
3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
60 g (2 oz) butter, softened
2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp golden syrup (treacle)
* Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C (370 degrees F). Grease a baking sheet well. Line with greaseproof baking paper.
* Sift the flour and bicarbonate of soda.
* Mix all ingredients except for the egg together – I used my KMIX, but an electric hand mixer or brute strength would be just as effective.
* Add in the egg until the mixture becomes a nice, pliable dough.
* Lightly flour the work surface and roll out the dough to about 1.5 cm / 1 inch thick. Using a cutter, cut the shapes you would like. This will affect the quantity, depending on the size of the cutter. If you don;t have a cutter, roll small walnut sized balls in your hand and then flatten gently into rounds. They WILL spread, give them space!!
* Bake for 15 minutes.
* Turn onto a cooling rack and leave to cool. (Although I love them hot!)
* Serve with good strong cup of tea!