Presenting New Zealand’s favourite biscuit! Yep, the modest but flavoursome gingernut biscuit.
Gingernut biscuits (otherwise known as Ginger Nut or Ginger Snap cookies) have been around for decades, no doubt being brought to our shores from England where, apparently, they’ve been around since the 1840s. According to Griffins, the manufacturer of our favourite biccie, we Kiwis eat around 60 million of them a year. For a country of 4.5 million, that’s pretty remarkable!
As a country traditionally drawn to tea drinking (though coffee has now surpassed it in popularity), we love a biscuit that withstands a good old dunk and these rustic, spicy biscuits do the job admirably. They’re also incredibly versatile – who hasn’t enjoyed a gingernut crust beneath their favourite cheesecake?
Actually, it’s because I end up using them a fair bit that I thought it’s high time I started making them myself. And, given I’m trying to avoid wheat/gluten these days, I needed to find a gluten-free version. So, I did some online research and found this recipe for Wicklewoods Ginger Nut Biscuits on Food.com. And, can I just say, that hands down these are the absolute best gingernut biscuits I’ve ever had. Better even, dare I say, than Griffins’ version!
As you’d expect from a good gingernut biscuit, they are predominantly crunchy, with just a little hint of chewiness inside (though you can cook them a little longer to ensure a truly crisp biscuit). They’re also wickedly spicy – there’s a nice hit of ginger that lingers at the back of the throat after you’ve eaten them. And, what’s more, they even look like the ‘real thing’ with their cracked, rugged exteriors.
I kept to the recipe, but created my own gluten-free flour mix – a combination of brown rice flour, cornflour (corn starch) and buckwheat flour – you’ll find the amounts in the recipe below.
By the way, the original recipe says it makes 45 biscuits. I’m not sure why, but I managed to make about 40 before I was even half way through the mixture (at which point I popped the remaining mixture into a plastic bag and into the freezer). So, who knows just how many biscuits this recipe makes – at least there’s plenty left over for future use.
Anyway, long story short, I’m completely chuffed with these biccies – they’re superb as a treat on their own (dunked into your favourite cuppa, of course), or for use in any number of delicious desserts. Enjoy!
GLUTEN-FREE GINGERNUT BISCUITS
- 6 oz butter, softened
- 8 oz soft brown sugar
- 8 oz granulated sugar
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 4 oz molasses
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 20 oz gluten-free flour (I used approx. 2-1/2 cups brown rice flour; 1 cup cornflour; 1 cup buckwheat flour)
- 2 tsp xanthan gum
- 1-1/2 tsp baking soda
- 2 tbsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- Granulated sugar, extra (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 160°C (320°F).
- In an electric mixer, cream the butter and both sugars together until soft and creamy (about 5 minutes).
- Mix the eggs, molasses and cider vinegar together.
- Add to the creamed butter and sugar and beat until thoroughly combined.
- Sieve the flour, xanthan gum, baking soda and spices into the butter and molasses mixture and stir until the flour is just incorporated – don't overmix. (Note: the mixture is very thick and a little difficult to stir, so you'll need a sturdy metal spoon).
- With a teaspoon (or small melon baller), scoop a heaped teaspoon of the mixture, roll roughly into a ball in your hands and place on a lined baking sheet, at least an 1 inch apart as they spread.
- Flatten the dough slightly by gently patting with a dampened finger.
- Sprinkle granulated sugar over the biscuits if you like.
- Place in the oven an bake for 15 mins (a couple of minutes more will produce a crisper biscuit). They will still feel a little soft, but they do harden as they cool.
- Place on a wire rack to cool. Then store in an air proof container.
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