I was a very reluctant gym visitor this morning. I dressed appropriately, but my heart wasn’t really in it and I was rather hoping to bump into a friend on the way and be diverted to coffee. No such luck. After showing myself up with my inability to operate the vending machine (I was after water rather than a Twix, FYI) and much faffing in the changing room, I put in a lacklustre few minutes on the recumbent bike whilst watching Frasier, halfheartedly operated a few weight machines and finally got out of breath on the treadmill. That was plenty, and was cue for me to come home for a cup of tea and a biscuit. Or two. Or so.
The ginger biscuits (definitely plural) that I had – to regain my strength after my rigorous training session, you understand – were spicy and chewy and very suited to this tiresomely cold weather. And quite moreish. A friend, who was learning about such things told me something, once, about gingernuts being the healthiest biscuit (if I think carefully, she may have added something limiting, like, “if you’ve absolutely got to have a biscuit.”) I have clung onto the first bit ever since. I have heard – or certainly imagined, at least – that ginger does wonders for the metabolism (remember, I have no actual training in nutrition) and it strikes me that I may in fact have done more to attain my fitness and weight loss goals staying home and finishing off the tin rather than bothering with the gym. Something to consider for tomorrow…
Anyway, this recipe is based on one from The Primrose Bakery Book – which is a lovely book, by the way, if you like that sort of thing. I do. They’re really quite easy to make and if you were housebound for an afternoon, may keep your little monkeys occupied for up to a full minute. Before they inevitably lose interest and leave you with mountains of washing up.
I have a KitchenAid Stand Mixer that I totally love – mostly because it looks so pretty on my worktop – which makes this job much easier, but it’s probably a bit of an extravagance to buy one for making a batch of biscuits…
- 200g granulated sugar
- 170g butter, softened
- 1 large egg
- 85g black treacle
- 270g plain flour
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- Optional: 25g finely chopped crystallised ginger
- Beat together the butter and sugar until it goes lighter in colour and looks well combined.
- Add in the treacle and the egg and beat again until mixed in. (Treacle is marginally easier to work with when warm, so putting the tin into some hot water for a minute or two before pouring into your mixing bowl on the scales, will help a little.)
- Stir in the chopped ginger if it takes your fancy.
- Add the flour and spices and mix until just combined. If you haven’t got all the spices listed, don’t worry – they’d be perfectly nice with just ginger. Or mixed spice. Don’t clutter your cupboards with ground cloves if this will be their only outing.
- Cover the bowl and put into the fridge to chill – it’s too soft to work with.
- Leave in the fridge for at least an hour – or up to a couple of days if you’ve had enough of baking by this point.
- When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 170°C
- Roll the dough into small balls – I usually use about a tablespoon’s worth. Roll each in granulated sugar and place on a baking sheet lined with baking paper, ideally, and squash down a bit.
They need to be spaced out – about 5cm gap around them – so, depending on the abundance of baking sheets in your kitchen, you might need to do it in a few batches. If you chill them again in the fridge at this point, they will spread less, but it doesn’t really matter.
If you want to give yourself the opportunity of feeling like a smug domestic goddess at a point in the future, you can put a tray of the dough balls into the freezer and then tip into a bag once frozen solid. When you’re ready, you can bake as directed, leaving them a couple of minutes longer than stated.
- Bake in the oven for about 6-8 minutes. If you’ve made them bigger, they’ll need a bit longer, but check them every minute or so. You’re looking for them to be browned and looking quite well done around the edges. To be honest, they’re delicious and if you under- or over-do them a bit, they’ll still taste good.
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