Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Ginger Crunch

When I was a child, my favourite biscuits were Gingernuts. I have never been a fan of dunking biscuits into tea – my beloved beverage of choice, as they invariably get all soggy and disintegrate into an unpleasant looking sludge at the bottom of the cup. The only biscuits that I occasionally dunk are Gingernuts as their soakage capacity seems far superior to that of any other biscuit or cookie! The love of a tea/ginger combination has stayed with me into adulthood and, to this day, I still have a soft-spot for anything ginger-flavoured to nibble on with my cup of tea and I am always eager to try new recipes that include ginger! I have been experimenting with recipes for a tea brack with added ginger and once I have perfected the recipe, I will, of course, post it on the blog.

The great thing about ginger is that in comes in a number of different forms, each of which can be used in baking. I often make a ginger cake which uses ground ginger (the root is dried and then ground to a powder), stem ginger (ginger preserved in syrup) and fresh ginger (which can be grated and is very fragrant). In the following recipe I use both ground ginger and ginger syrup and the result is an intensely ginger-flavoured biscuit.
 
These biscuits consist of a ginger flavoured shortbread, topped with ginger icing, which sets to a fudgy consistency which is absolutely addictive. A version of these biscuits is hugely popular in Australia and New Zealand, but to be honest, I had never come across it before and after a little tweaking was delighted with the results. The biscuits are sweet, but the fiery warmth of the ginger prevents them from becoming sickeningly so. What I really loved about them was the contrast between the crunchy shortbread base and the fudgy topping! Yummy!

This is a fairly straightforward recipe. I used Opies ginger syrup to flavour the icing, but if you can’t get this just substitute the same amount of golden syrup.

Ingredients:

150g butter, softened
100g caster sugar
225g plain flour
2tsp ground ginger
1tsp baking powder
Icing:
150g butter
60ml ginger syrup (or golden syrup if unavailable)
300g icing sugar
1tblsp ground ginger
 

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 180C/Fan Oven 160C/Gas Mark 4. Line a shallow 20x25cm (or similar sized) baking tin with non-stick baking parchment and set aside.
2. Place the butter and sugar into a large mixing bowl and using a hand-held electric mixer, beat together until light and fluffy.
3. Sift the flour, baking powder and ground ginger together and add to the butter mixture, mixing everything together with a wooden spoon until a dough just starts to form. Press the dough evenly into the prepared tin and level the surface with a back of a spoon. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-22 minutes until a light golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely (do not remove the shortbread from the tin). Once completely cooled, cover with the shortbread with the icing.
Icing:
4. Place the butter and syrup in a medium sized saucepan over a moderate heat. Once the butter has melted add the icing sugar and ground ginger and stir with a whisk over the heat for a further 2 minutes until you have a smooth icing with no pockets of icing sugar remaining. Pour the icing over the cooled shortbread and set aside to cool and set. Once the icing has set, cut the shortbread into bars/squares.

Makes 20-24 squares.