Made some ginger biscuits, recipe courtesy of BBC’s h2g2 pages. Three substitutions: used butter instead of margarine, raw crunchy brown turbinado sugar of forgotten name instead of demerara sugar, and maple syrup instead of golden syrup. Just because those were staple pantry items.
It worked pretty well. I plopped two different sizes of dough on the floured baking sheet since the original recipe called for “walnut”-sized pieces, and I wasn’t sure if they meant the two halves of the walnut interior or the entire walnut in shell. Both worked fine, but I’d improve it next time by squishing all with the back of a spoon. The centres of some of the biscuits weren’t biscuity and resembled soft cookie instead. The edges, however, were perfect ginger snap crispiness, just a minute short of being burnt. Another thing I might do is use molasses instead of maple syrup. And I definitely want to try it without the egg yolk to decrease the moisture content (which may have been increased by my use of turbinado sugar).
I’ll reproduce the recipe here with my modifications later. I just wanted to post something before it became too onerous a task to get it all down. Catch ya later, alligators. And here we go…
modified from h2g2 recipe
- 125g butter, softened on “defrost” in microwave for 10 seconds
- 125g turbinado sugar (sugar in the processing stages)
- 1 tbsp (15ml) maple syrup
- 1 egg yolk from a US large egg
- 180g self-raising flour¹
- 1 heaped tsp ground ginger
(I pretty much followed the h2g2 protocol, but this is what I actually did)
- Pre-heated oven to 350°F / 180°C.
- Sprinkled some flour onto 2 baking sheets and smeared them around with my mucky paws. I shook the excess into the bin. Wasteful, no? Incidentally, I like this a whole lot more than greasing the sheets then flouring them. It actually worked this time.
- Prepared all the ingredients, taking care to WATCH the butter to prevent accidents like this happening again:
- Creamed the butter and sugar using my trusty hand-held beater. I have no idea what I did before inheriting this hand-held beater. I have wonderful memories of my mother’s Kenwood Chef/Professional standing mixers, then a almost blank period of painful recollections of hours spent whipping cream and mascarpone for tiramisu as a semi-impoverished, aspirational under- and post-graduate and postdoctorate in Edinburgh. I’m still semi-impoverished, but at least I inherited a hand-held beater from a friend who left the lab.
- Added the egg yolk and maple syrup, beating it in well. Saved the egg white for cocktails later because my impressionable mind had read in some fancy foody website that egg white-containing cocktails were da bomb these days. Is it still alright to say “da bomb”? OK, forget I said it.
- Mixed the flour and teaspoonful of ginger well, then sifted it into the creamed mix in batches (about 4). After each sifting, folded the flour/ginger mix into the creamed mix. Final product was considerably softer than shortbread, a little softer than American cookie dough, but still firm enough to form tight balls in my mucky paws.
- Formed tight balls in my mucky paws. h2g2 recipe suggests walnut-sized balls that will later double in spread. I agree. I tried walnut nut-sized balls, which made cute little biscuits you could serve for a teddy bear picnic, and walnut-with-shell-on-sized balls, which were far more satisfying in my grabby paws with a cuppa tea.
- Baked in oven for the suggested initial 12 minutes, after which I added 3 min for the smaller biscuits (total 15 min). The bigger biscuits were left in for 18 min, mainly because I kind of forgot to set the timer again. Their bottoms were a bit on the dark side, but still edible. 2 baking sheets would have been enough, but I split the dough into three because of the following troubleshooting help on the h2g2 page:
I don’t have biscuits! I have one biscuit, and it’s huge…
* You probably underestimated the space that you need to observe between each of the biscuits on the tray.
As he stuck this paws into the biscuit tin, P’s first question was: “Are they crunchy?”
I didn’t hear a word he said for the rest of the night…
¹ I make my own self-raising/rising flour to the tune of: 4 US cups flour, 2 tsp salt, 2 tbsp baking powder (not soda). I sift each ingredient into a plastic container and shake shake shake it all about. Makes life a little bit easier when making mini pancakes.