Monday, 21 October 2013

Ginger biscuits - gluten free, dairy free, egg free, nut free



gluten free ginger biscuits
What these need is a good cuppa Yorkshire Tea
Of the 24 years since I turned 18 (yes, go on, work out my age!), I've spent 11 years living abroad. Five months in South Africa here, six months in Barcelona there, three years in China, and the rest of the time spent quaffing wine, shrugging elaborately and using my horn to drive in various parts of France.

Living outside the UK has given me plenty of time to consider what it means to be quintessentially British. And after much deliberation, I think I've narrowed it down to one element.

Biscuits.

I'm convinced that you can tell a true Brit, regardless of creed, colour or political persuasion, by their ability to participate in a conversation that involves mention of Custard Creams, Jammy Dodgers and the universally loathed Bourbon biscuit.

(What, you don't loathe Bourbons? Don't tell me you like Viscount biscuits? Oh dear...)

Why is it that biscuits unite us as a nation? I suspect it stems from an unhealthy (puerile?) relationship with food.

Yes, we can put Jamie Oliver on the telly and pretend we're down with focaccia, and we can nod knowledgeably about the relative merits of snail porridge, but actually? We'd probably be just as happy having some Hob Nobs in the evening as an exquisitely seasoned tender rack of lamb.

Why do you think that is?

Is it because we love a good brew and if you're having a brew then you definitely need a biscuit?

Is it because Masterchef has tired us out with all the complicated reductions and talk of goose liver fricassée of balsamic jus à l'orange?

Or is it because the Great British Bake Off creations just make too much washing up?

I don't have the answers and I don't really care. I just love our national obsession with biscuits.

I love that you can have an earnest interaction with any Brit in the biscuit aisle about whether Nice biscuits should exist or whether Garibaldis count as one of your five a day. (I also love the fact that we have a 'biscuit aisle' and that we carry out polls of favourite biscuits.)

I'll go further and say that biscuits are a unifying force for the nation that created Malted Milks.

I propose that we dispense with parliamentary debate as a way to implement reforms. I vote that we bring controversial matters such as burqa-wearing, UKIP and the spare bedroom tax to the (biscuit) table. Let's gather all the dissenters together, get the kettle on and crack open a packet of Party Rings.

I reckon we'll have the fissures in our national identity plastered over in the time it takes for someone to say

'Ooo, have you got any Chocolate Digestives?'

And we'll feel proud to be biscuit-loving and British.

Ginger biscuits 

So why all the talk of biscuits? Well I couldn't believe it when I made these and they tasted JUST like the Ginger Nuts you get in the biscuit aisle! There was gingeryness, crunch and all round yumptiousness. I was particularly proud of the crunch. Finally, I've got GF biscuits to crunch!

The 'fully free from' version
(free from: eggs, dairy, gluten, wheat, soya, nuts)

350g Doves Farm plain GF flour
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
25g fresh ginger, peeled & grated (freeze it before you grate)
200g light brown soft sugar
125g dairy free margarine
85g golden syrup

Egg replacer:
1 tbsp ground golden linseeds
2-4 tbsp apple juice to mix
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda added at last minute

Gluten free (dairy free) with eggs

350g Doves Farm plain GF flour
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
25g fresh ginger, peeled & grated (freeze it before you grate)
200g light brown soft sugar
125g butter/dairy free margarine
85g golden syrup

1 egg
Egg free with wheat flour

350 g plain flour
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
25g fresh ginger, peeled & grated (freeze it before you grate)
200g light brown soft sugar
125g butter/margarine
85g golden syrup

Egg replacer:
1 tbsp ground golden linseeds
2-4 tbsp apple juice to mix
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda added at last minute

Dairy free with wheat flour


350 g plain flour
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
25g fresh ginger, peeled & grated (freeze it before you grate)
200g light brown soft sugar
125g dairy free margarine
85g golden syrup

1 egg
























Method:
Preheat oven 180° Celsius when you're ready to bake.

If using an egg free version, whisk the linseeds and egg replacer with the apple juice and set aside. (The mixture may thicken when you set it aside, add more apple juice if required, you're aiming for a consistency that's similar to beaten eggs.) Keep the ½ tsp of bicarbonate of soda ready; you'll add it just before you add the egg replacing mix to the rest of the ingredients.

For all versions, line two baking trays with baking parchment, then melt the butter/dairy free margarine in a saucepan and set aside to cool. Put the flour (GF or wheat), ground ginger, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and sugar into a large mixing bowl and stir to combine. Grate the fresh ginger and beat the egg (if using).  

When the golden syrup and margarine/butter is cool (it can almost be completely cold) add the egg replacing mix (remember to add the bicarbonate of soda!) or egg and whisk to combine. Pour the liquid into the mixing bowl and stir to combine and form a dough. If you are making a gluten free version, you may find that the dough is too wet. Don't panic. Set the bowl aside for about 30 mins (in refrigerator if possible) and the gluten free flour will absorb the liquid. This only happened once when I was trialling this recipe, the other times were fine. Gluten free flour does like to mess with the mind...

Take small chunks of dough - the size of a walnut - and roll them into small balls. Flatten and place on the baking trays, leaving a gap as the gingernuts will spread and flatten as they bake. Repeat until all the dough is used up.

Place the baking trays into a preheated oven (180° Celsius) and bake for approximately 10-20 minutes. All ovens are different, so just keep looking! When the biscuits are golden and slightly risen, reduce the oven temperature to 140°C and continue baking for about 20 minutes more. This dries out the biscuits and when they are cooled, gives them the elusive crunch. You can also remove the biscuits after the first 10-20 mins, leave them to cool completely and then put them back into the oven at 140°C for 20 minutes to dry them out. That is the more labour-intensive option, but if you're trying to squeeze in baking between school runs and get interrupted...well it's always good to know you have options!

When the biscuits are completely cooled, remove from the baking trays and serve with a cup of tea.

Dunk, and feel proud to be British. 


© Pig in the Kitchen All Rights Reserved

2 comments:

Elsie Button said...

Hi Pig you are getting a bit flash there with your tables.

I like chocolate digestives, but can't bear (or is it bare?) all those other ones you mentioned (but I was impressed that you managed to mention so many and in rather a humorous way)

However I do LOVE a ginger biscuit :)

X

Pig in the Kitchen said...

Ah Elsie, they call me 'flash blogger' dontcha know?!

thanks for the comment, ah yes to choc digestives (it's bear) and up the Ginger Nuts!

:-)