Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Ginger Nut Biscuits

I recently had a Ginger Nut (also affectionately nicknamed ranga sacks by a group of us at work hehe) re-education thanks to Regular Expression Man. Did you know that Arnott's Ginger Nuts are completely different depending on what state you buy them from? I checked the website (which they changed about a week ago) and they describe them as such:
In Qld, Gingernuts are thin and sweet with a dark colour;
In NSW they are small, thick and hard, with a light colour;
In Vic and Tas, they are bigger, softer and sweeter.
In SA and WA, the biscuits look similar to their Vic cousins, but taste sweeter.

Being a South Australian, Regex Man insists that the SA version cannot be beaten and brings in multiple packets to show us. We are more than willing to help him prove his point. He also insists that the only way to eat them is to dip them into an incredibly strong, rich and steaming hot cup of hot chocolate, which he heats up even more by sticking it in the microwave. I have to say, it's pretty damn good. And I definitely do prefer the SA version to the NSW version.

I've always believed that freshly baked cookies taste a million times better than out of a packet, so I was interested to see if I could do better than the SA Ginger Nut. I scoured around for a good Ginger Nut recipe, of course there were a thousand different variations, but I settled on this recipe from Everyday Cooking. I have made them three times since then, tweaking it here and there to get it closer to what I would expect from the biscuit. The recipe is ridiculously easy, last night I got home at 10 and fancied a few with a cup of hot tea and by 10.40 A and I were settled down with fresh Ginger Nuts.

So the first time I tried the recipe, I was missing raw sugar for sprinkling on top and I really think this is an important part of the Arnotts version so I made sure to buy some for my next attempt. I also left them in a touch too long, basing my timing off the original recipe and they were a tad browner than I would have liked. A still liked them so much that he grabbed the pile of biscuits I had put aside to bring in to work and licked (yes licked) them so that he could have them for himself.

The second time I adjusted the timing and added the sugar and they were solid gold. I had to hide these from A so that I could share them around a bit. Even then only a few of them made it all the way to Regex Man. He gave them the thumbs up though :)

Ready for the oven

Gingernut Biscuits
from Everyday Cooking

2/3 cup (100gm) Self Raising Flour
1/2 tsp BiCarb Soda
1 tsp Ginger
1/4 tsp Nutmeg (I used freshly grated)
1/4 AllSpice
50grams Brown Sugar
50grams Butter
2 tbsp Golden Syrup (or Treacle - different taste, I used Golden Syrup)
Raw sugar

Combine dry ingredients. Rub in butter with your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Stir in syrup, and press to a dough-like consistency. Divide into 16 pieces (though I can usually make about 18), roll each piece, and press each ball down with a floured fork (or fingers) on the baking sheet. Sprinkle raw sugar over biscuit surfaces and press into dough lightly with your fingers.

Bake at 180C for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Mine usually take about 12 minutes, (depending on how bipolar my oven is feeling).

First batch, a touch too brown

One of the licked cookies got made into an icecream sandwich

Allow cookies to cool for 5 minutes on the baking tray until they are firmer, then transfer to a rack to cool completely. Biscuits will harden as they cool and will be slightly chewy while they are still warm. Store in an airtight container once they are completely cooled.
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  1. I never used to like ginger nut biscuits when I was little, but now I've learnt to appreciate them a lot more! These look really good! Good work hiding them from A the second time round, but they must've been amazing if he sabotaged them ;) lol.

  2. I was never a huge fan of them when I was little either, I didn't think to dip them in a hot drink found them too hard. I am a little bit addicted to these though :) Hehe I just can't believe he actually licked them, I was so unimpressed!

  3. Wow, these look fantastic! I love the hard nsw ones!

  4. ohhhh i'm such a ginger fiend! these look lovely and i'm so glad you've done all teh recipe tweaking for me :) will give them a shot for sure!

  5. I had no idea about the differences in Ginger Nuts state to state. Hmmm I might try and persuade a friend to bring some up from SA. Or I could just make your ones and be happy with those :)

  6. Reemski - Thanks! I haven't had the nsw ones in a while, I think I may have to buy some for comparison's sake ;)

    shez - i am too, I have not been able to stop nibbling on these. hehe i hope you like them!

    Lorraine - Yes I found it quite fascinating, wish I had more interstate friends so I could do a taste test hehe! I'm quite happy to settle for mine for now :D

  7. ok my first attempt at making gingernuts and these are BRILLIANT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Cant thankyou enough..they look so professional and taste absolutely amazing. Keeping this one forever ;) Thanks again Steph!

  8. Aww thanks Nikky! I'm so incredibly chuffed that you liked the recipe :) I'm glad they turned out so well for you and I really appreciate the feedback!

  9. Hmm, I would have expected them to be more gingery, and somewhat harder. Don't get me wrong, they're mighty tasty! My only problem is that I made them as a bribe for my stage director, and he specifically only likes ginger cookies. And as for me, I expected the rock-hard consistensy of new-zealand Gingernuts...
    Oh well, back to the drawing board, so to speak. Still, they're delicious, and that means more for me! :)

  10. Küchenpsychologin - I've never had new zealand gingernuts before, but I'm surprised since the ones I made turned out pretty hard! Maybe you needed to bake them a little longer. As for the amount of ginger, that's always something you can adjust to taste before you put it in the oven!

  11. Nah, mine were all crunchy, but a bit brittle. And I thought that the ginger taste might develop during baking...
    Another thing I might change is baking the balls as balls, without patting them down. On the last cookie sheet (I spontaneously quadrupled the recipe, and I'm glad I did ;) ) I baked a test ball, and it looked more like the gingernuts of my memory (ex-exchange student here), but my dad snarfed it up before I could taste it...
    Baking it longer, yeah, I think I'll try that, too. Always suspected our oven is running a little low. I'll surely make another batch before Christmas!
    Oh, and, well, not having access to molasses and having to replace them with maple syrup might have influenced them, too...
    Thanks for your tips and your feedback! :)

  12. Oh my goodness this is how I remember ginger nuts from my childhood!!! As a rule I am not a biscuit eater (must be my dietitian side coming out in me). But a glass of milk and a few ginger nuts is my idea of heaven. And hey I justify the ginger nut by telling myself at least I am having a serve of dairy at the same time.

    THANKS soo much you have made my day.

  13. I just made these and am abundantly happy. They are amazing! As a QLDer, I usually prefer mine a bit darker and thinner, but I could happily eat these all day long.
    Oh, as a ranga, I'm totally down with your office nickname for them too ;)


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