Saturday, June 13, 2009

Gingerbread for winter chills

The year that I turned thirteen I spent a lot of time making gingerbread.

It got so that I had the recipe memorised. With this friend and that, on weekends and holidays we'd gather in someone's kitchen to mix up a batch, covering available surfaces in flour, using up our mother's ground ginger (or, in one particularly memorable and potent batch, scrounging fresh ginger root from the neighbour).
When the bickies were fresh from the oven, we'd scoff as many as we could manage, as fast as their heat would allow. Warm, fresh gingerbread always tasted the best.

I've forgotten the recipe I used, then. But in recent years I have rediscovered my love of baking.

I've baked sugar biscuits and pumpkin. Almonds and cakes. And I always (especially in the depths of winter cold) come back to gingerbread.

This is the recipe I use now.


  • 125g butter

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

  • 1/2 cup golden syrup

  • 1 egg

  • 1 3/4 cups plain flour

  • 2tsp ground ginger

  • You can also add other spices alongside the ginger. I like to toss in a teaspoon or two of white pepper and maybe a dash of cinnamon, to make the bickies a bit bitey.

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celcius.

Beat the butter and sugar together until you have a pale, creamy mixture. Then slowly add the egg and golden syrup, beating both in thoroughly.
Add the flour, ginger and bicarb about half a cup at a time, beating all the while, until the dough starts to form a ball.

Cover your bowl and place it in the fridge for a minimum of thirty minutes. This step is important. Without it, the mix is not firm enough to roll out and cut biscuits from.

Now the fun part!
Take your mix out of the fridge. Knead it well and roll it out on a well-floured surface until it's about as thick as a regular pencil.
Cut out your shapes, using a floured bickie cutter, and place them on a greased tray.
Bake for around 10 - 12 minutes, or until golden brown (the edges are usually a darker shade in my biscuits, as an indicator that they're done - my oven does not heat evenly, boo!

Your biscuits will be soft when first emerging, but will harden over the next five minutes or so to a firmer texture. Do not try to remove them from the tray till this has happened.

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