I made these biscuits so I could crush the majority up to make something else. They didn't make it that far. We couldn't help ourselves but eat the majority of the batch. I'll just have to make another...
These are from the trusty Delia's Book of Cakes. The book is a little bit like a time capsule to my childhood - there's a cat sticker I stuck on the back when I was about five, most of the pages are a stained with ingredients and if you shake it, flour will escape from the binding. There are recipes written in the back in my mum's hand and even one in mine for "fork biscuts" (a.k.a Emma Biscuits), written in an unsteady child's hand with a squiggly underline.
It has adorable illustrations, as above, and some truly retro food photography. These are Jean's Gingernuts: "It was at my friend Jean's house that I first tasted these really light, crunchy gingernut biscuits and, luckily, she gave me the recipe." Luckily, Delia also printed it, for these are true to their description and seriously lovely.
I'm afraid I did tweak the mighty Delia's (and Jean's) recipe - I replaced the granulated sugar for blitzed demerara sugar (the only way of getting brown sugar I have thus found here in Switzerland - normal soft brown should work too) and replaced a teaspoon of the golden syrup with stem ginger syrup for more of a kick.
I watched these bake through the oven door (can you tell I'm on summer vacation? can you tell I'm a bit of a baking nut?) and they were fascinating to watch - first they puffed up to impressive pale heights, then fell suddenly like punctured balloons and finally formed cracks and deeply browned. They go through quite a transformation in the oven - I'd love to know the chemistry of it.
I love these biscuits. They're fabulous on their own for a quick snack, but I think they really shine when dunked in a cup of earl grey tea. They soften and the flavour intensifies with the moisture and plays off the tea. They're fairly spicy, but not unpleasantly so - the taste develops in your mouth, ending with a wonderful ginger aftertaste.
I'm definitely going to be making these a home a lot more. Especially in Oxford for a work break with a cup of tea. I may or may not intend to make a double batch next time...
(Adapted from Delia Smith's Book of Cakes)
105g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 heaped tsp ground ginger
40g soft brown sugar/ground demerara
50g unsalted butter
1 tbsp + 2 tsp golden syrup
1 tsp stem ginger syrup
Preheat the oven to 190C/ 375F. Lightly grease a big baking sheet/two small - or line, as I did. Sift the flour, baking powder, ginger and bicarbonate of soda together into a big bowl. Stir in the sugar. Rub in the butter until you have a crumbly mixture that resembles breadcrumbs. Add the golden syrup and stem ginger syrup and use a knife to mix them in, finally bringing the dough together with your hands. Divide into sixteen similar sized balls and place evenly on the sheets with plenty of room. Slightly squish each ball. Place in the oven for about 15 minutes or until deep golden and cracked. Cool on the tray for 10 minutes then remove to a wire rack.