Sunday, 15 May 2011

Afternoon Tea With the Girls, Part Two: Dutch Ginger Biscuits, or, How Cookbooks Sometimes Get Things Really Wrong

So, back to the afternoon tea with the Adelaide girls.

As I said in a previous post, I wanted to make something for which I already had the ingredients. I like to build up an arsenal of these sorts of recipes so that I know what I can whip up out of what's in the cupboard at any given moment in time.

This one, from the CWA/Weekly Times "Country Classics" seemed easy. In fact, it seemed a little bit too easy, ifyaknowwhatImean.

(What I mean is that it seemed like there was something missing. I realise that the use of the word "easy" followed by "ifyaknowwhatImean" might give some people - you know exactly who you are! - the wrong idea!!!)


The recipe called for:
1 3/4c plain flour, sifted
3/4c castor sugar
125g glace ginger (I went with crystalised because it was what I had)
1 egg, beaten
1 egg, beaten, extra.

I preheated the oven to 170o (actually, 150o because it's Fan Forced), like it said.

I greased and lined a 20cm x 25cm tin (which I take to be a lamington or slice tin), like it said.

I mixed all the ingredients together (except the extra egg, which you brush over once you've pressed it into the tin and before baking), like it said.

Or, more to the point, I tried to, but they just wouldn't stick!

At around this point it became abundantly apparent that there was something rather amiss with the recipe.

(Don't mind the green paint on my wrist band - a can of spraypaint with a faulty nozzle more or less exploded all over my hands and arms and clothes at work a couple of weeks ago, and that's all that's left of the damage. That, and my shirt and my pants and my boots and my belt and my GPS and my ring (don't worry, NOT my engagement ring!), all with blotches of green paint on them)

So anyway, I took a wild stab in the dark and chucked in half a block of butter (= 125g), because that seems to be the magic number for a lot of recipes.


And apparently it worked, because I was able to press the mix into the tin, bake it for 45 minutes, cool it and slice it up in the tin like the instructions told me (I sliced whilst it was still a wee bit warm, otherwise it would have been too hard).

Bada-bing, bada-boom.

(Do you like the platter? My friend Ness bought it from me from a ceramics shop in Barcelona we once visited - and loved, but did not buy from - back when we were impoverished, post-university student backpackers. Flash forward five years, and she picked it up for me while she was there with her husband, Adam. Thanks, Nessa!!! xoxo)

The only thing I'll say is that the biscuits around the perimeter of the tin were quite a bit too crunchy, and I suspect that if the ginger had been glace and not crystalised the mix would have been moister. Next time I would bake them for closer to 35 minutes and use the glace ginger, and maaaybe a smidgen more butter, or perhaps half a teaspoon of baking soda for a bit of FOOF! (<-- that's supposed to convey magical airiness. Fail...). Meh, live and learn - I found them to be quite tasty as they were. I'm also not entirely sure what is so Dutch about them...

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