Spicy ginger cookies

I have served these biscuits to a group of friends for afternoon tea. Originally I had called them gingernuts. However, I discovered there are very strong opinions as to what makes a good gingernut.

Gingernuts need to be tooth-breakingly hard and perfect for dunking and mine didn’t quite measure up.

I experimented a bit more and decided my biscuits would be called spicy ginger cookies. A golden brown, crisp on the outside, slightly chewy cookie. a treat for ginger lovers.

The small pieces of crystallised ginger adorning the cookie are decoratively appealing and a real flavour booster.

These cookies are just right for afternoon tea — not too sweet.

They also go well as part of a pudding atop a scoop of really cold vanilla ice cream.

Makes 30-32

130g crystallised ginger, to top unbaked cookies

140g plain white flour

140g wholemeal flour

3 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp ground nutmeg

1 tsp baking soda

50g (3 Tbsp) golden syrup, warmed

140g brown sugar

half cup light olive oil

I large egg (size 7), lightly beaten

1-2 Tbsp orange juice


Preheat the oven to 180degC bake or 160degC fan bake. Line two baking trays with baking paper.

Finely chop the crystallised ginger into small pieces and set aside. The ginger is to decorate the top of each cookie before it goes into the oven.

Combine the flours and spices in a bowl and sift in the baking soda. Set aside.

Beat together the golden syrup, brown sugar, oil, egg and one tablespoon of the orange juice until well blended. Pour this mixture into the dry ingredients and mix together very well.

This is quite a stiff mixture. You may need a little more orange juice to form a firm dough.

Roll heaped teaspoons of the dough into small balls. I find this works best with damp hands. (Rinse hands under the cold tap.)

Place the balls on the oven trays. Leave room for spreading and do not flatten.

Lightly press slices of the crystallised ginger close together on top of the balls - the biscuits will expand as they cook and the ginger will spread apart.

Bake for 15-17 minutes until the biscuits are lightly golden.

Leave to cool on the oven tray for 3-4 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

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