3 Jul 2013

gingerbread biscuits



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 biscuits
Adapted 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.

15 comments:

  1. Whatever they decide to call themselves, they look delicious. Swooning over your beautiful tea cup and plate too :)

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    1. ha, i agree with you, hannah!
      the china is a very old one of my mother's (i can't recall the name now, and i'm not near it to flip it over for you. it is so delicate, and its pretty spots went well with the icing and blingy silver cachous.

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  2. This is one of the first recipes I attempted in The Australian Women's Weekly Beautiful Biscuits book when I was a teenager. I seem to recall they took hours to make and the clean up took hours too! I would love these if someone else made them!

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    1. yes jo, they are a lot of bother. but they flavour is so good that they are probably worth it - for a special afternoon tea with girlfriends, or maybe school holiday baking with children?

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  3. These look absolutely beautiful! Stunning.

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    1. they re pretty, aren't they? i don't usually go in for icing but i'm glad i did. makes an afternoon cup of tea a bit more girly.

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  4. Anonymous04 July, 2013

    I was thinking about these yummy delights around 9 am today. C

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    1. i shall bring you in some more tomorrow. i only have two left here at work, and i need them to get thru a wet thursday.

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  5. Oh, I love gingerbread flavors and are all grown up and dark, so I´ll take them all!

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    1. i have plenty left still, paula!

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  6. Yummy! These bring back memories of my childhood. I am also loving the use of golden syrup - an even bigger part of my childhood. Does it still come in tins? I used to love opening the tins. BB and I used to lather it on crunchy peanut butter. Oh...the good old days. Pass the Passiona! :)

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    1. hi SB! i don't think golden syrup comes in tins any more -mum sussed that one out a while ago.
      golden syrup and peanut butter? now there's a new one too me ... isn't it wonderful how certain foods have such strong childhood connections.

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    1. Nice Pic E. They look lovely with the pretty china ware.

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