Why were these biscuits originally called ‘honey jumbles’ when they contain no honey? Why were they given a name that sounds all sweet and childish when they are so deeply, darkly flavoured?
Yes they look pretty with their pastel pink, glossy glace icing (and some blingy silver cachous thrown in for good measure). But looks can be deceiving. These hard–chewy fingers catch in your throat with their generous sling of golden syrup and heady hit of ginger, cinnamon, mixed spice and nutmeg.
I shared these with some of my pretty work friends, who all cooed ‘gingerbread biscuits!’ See? Honey jumbles? Nowhere near it.
Look how pale and grey our winter light is
Gingerbread biscuitsAdapted from an Australian Women’s Weekly recipe.
- In a small saucepan, melt 60 gms butter with ½ cup dark brown sugar and ¾ cup golden syrup and stir til smooth. Remove from heat, transfer to a large mixing bowl, and allow to cool a little.
- Stir in 2 ½ cups plain flour, ½ cup SR flour, ½ tspn bicarb soda, 1 egg, 2 tspns ground ginger, 1 tspn cinnamon, 1 tspn mixed spice, and about 1/8 tspn ground nutmeg (the original recipe specified ½ tspn ground cloves, a spice I do not have).
- If this gets too difficult to stir with a spoon, get in and squeeze and bring together with your hands, before taking out of the bowl and kneading on a lightly-floured surface until it comes together and loses some of its stickiness. Wrap in cling film then refrigerate for about half an hour.
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 180 and prep a few baking trays.
- Divide dough into eight portions then roll each portion into a long sausage, about 2 cms thick. Then cut each sausage into lengths about as long as your pointer finger (though my fingers got progressively longer and longer – I have no patience), rolling out a little more, pinching and shaping the ends til they are rounded, then flattening slightly. Repeat this until you’ve worked thru all the dough.
- Place on baking trays and bake for 15 minutes. Remove and cool slightly before transferring to a cooling rack.
- Once cooled completely, you can ice them if you wish. Beat 1 egg white until lightly frothy, then gradually sift and stir in 2 cups icing sugar (I think though mine may have been icing sugar mixture) plus 2 tspns plain flour.
- Then gradually squeeze in as much lemon juice as needed to get a smooth, spreadable paste; you don’t want it too liquid. Tint with the food colouring of your choice, then use a small knife to spread the icing onto each biscuit (I used a dip knife; it was just the right size and shape – like a mini palette knife). Fancy up with cachous or other edible decorations should you wish.
- They will soften after a few days of being iced, but that does not diminish the spiced flavour at all; it just makes them different.