For the third day of Christmas baking, we’re going to continue with the crinkle theme I featured earlier in the week, but instead leave the richness of chocolate for the warm spicy flavour of ginger. Unlike most of my festive posts, these are not some traditional recipe from another country. At a push, I would say they are like giant, chewy versions of British ginger nuts biscuits. Almost the flavour of Christmas in baked form!
Not that I want to sound big-headed, but I think that these are pretty much perfect ginger biscuits. Yes, they are pretty massive, but they are packed with spice and heat from lots of ground ginger as well as the candied stuff. If you make them, be prepared for that taste-tingling ginger flavour as you munch away on them.
I really loved how these looked, with a good series of random cracks on the surface. However, what makes them particularly special is how they have been finished off. I rolled them on demerara sugar (you can use any coarse-grained sugar) which makes them look rather sparkly, and adds some welcome crunch to offset the chewy biscuits themselves. These really are the perfect treat to enjoy with a mug of coffee when you’ve just come in from a long walk in the forest or park where the last of the leaves are falling. Yes, that’s what it’s like here in London at the moment, and there is a bit of a feeling in the air that we’re in for a cold, hard winter. So clearly time to big up the ginger!
To make giant ginger and spice cookies (makes 16):
• 340g plain flour
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 2 teaspoons ground ginger
• 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
• 3/4 teaspoons ground cloves
• 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg or mace
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 180g dark brown sugar
• 60g butter, melted
• 120g treacle (or half treacle, half golden syrup)
• 1 egg, at room temperature
• 100g chopped candied ginger
• granulated demerara sugar, for rolling
1. In a large bowl, mix and sieve the flour, baking soda, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg/mace and salt. Set aside.
2. Put the brown sugar, melted butter and treacle in another bowl and beat until smooth. Add the egg and beat until smooth. Fold in the candied ginger, then add the flour and mix until you have a smooth dough. Cover the bowl and leave in the fridge to chill for an hour.
3. Preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F). Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
4. Divide the dough into 18 pieces (around 50g each). Roll each into a ball, then flatten slightly. Put the demerara sugar in a bowl, and press both sides and the edge into the sugar. Place on the baking tray, leaving sufficient space for the biscuits to spread (they expand a lot). Repeat until all the dough has been used. You may find it easier to bake them in two batches.
5. Bake the cookies for 12-14 minutes – they should have spread out, cracked and look browned, but the edges should not be too dark. Remove from the oven, allow to sit for a moment, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Worth making? Definitely! Easy to make, look impressive and the last well in a sealed biscuit tin.