Tonight is the final of the Great British Bake Off on television. As ever the series has been compulsive viewing, all that baking, the effort, the blood sweat and tears. The fun, the laughter, the stress and the joy when things turn out right. I’m rooting for Ruby. The fearless youngster who is giving it all she’s got. Watching Bake Off got me wanting to hit the kitchen and get creative with these gingernut biscuits.
Tonight they must create picnic pie, pretzels and a three tiered wedding cake. While I boast none of those goodies in my own baking repertoire I thought I would share some traditional British baking with you today anyway.
Gingernut biscuits or gingersnaps, whatever you want to call them are very much a staple of the biscuit barrel here in the UK.
My Mum used to make gingernut biscuits and loved dunking them in her tea. They are in fact the perfect choice of biscuit for this, being crisp and firm enough to allow the dunker to immerse the biscuit long enough to soak up enough tea to soften and add flavour, without the humiliating disaster of the whole thing just wilting into waterlogged (tealogged!) submission and dissolving into your cuppa, thus creating a nasty mass at the bottom of the cup.
As kids we used to try to crack gingernut biscuits on out elbows by holding the biscuit in your right palm and bashing it with your left elbow. If you could break the biscuit you would get the biscuit to break into just two pieces you would get a wish come true.
We went through a lot of biscuits this way until we just got bored and ate them.
Gingernut biscuits should be spicy and crunchy with a real snap when you break them. No moist in the middle cookie this, instead it is a real cracker!
I made dozens of these when I wrote Simply Scottish Cakes & Bakes last year. Idgy’s popularity knew no bounds when she staggered to school weighted down with tuck boxes full of cakes and biscuits. I put on rather a lot of weight.
To get that traditional crackled look on the top of your biscuits remember to sprinkle with sugar before you bake them.
So here is to the Great British Bake Off tonight. May the best baker win.
- 350 g/12oz self raising flour
- pinch of salt
- 200 g/7oz caster sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 1 teaspoon grated orange rind
- 125 g/4 1/2 oz butter
- 5 tablespoons golden syrup
- 1 egg beaten
- sugar to sprinkle
- Preheat oven to 160C/325F/Gas 3
- Grease and line a baking tray
- Sift together all the dry ingredients into a big bowl so you have plenty of room to work the dough as it forms.
- Heat the golden syrup with the butter until melted then allow to cool slightly before adding to the dry ingredients.
- Add the egg to the mixture and start to stir together and then get in there and use your hands to form a dough.
- Pull off pieces and roll into balls about 1" big and press slightly in the middle as you place them on your baking tray. Make sure you leave plenty of space around each so it can spread as it bakes.
- Sprinkle with the extra sugar before popping them into the oven.
- Bake for approximately 15-20 minutes and then cool on a wire rack.
- This recipe should make about 20 biscuits.
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