Monday, May 30, 2011

Another iron in the fire

Gem irons have long been on my "gotta find" list of equipment and ingredients required to complete the Edmonds Challenge. They appear sporadically on Trademe, but generally go for prices beyond what I've been willing to pay just to tick off a couple of recipes. On a recent trip to Riccarton Market, however, I managed to pick up some proper, old-school gem irons in good condition for the bargain price of $20.

Everyone seemed enthusiastic about the gem iron purchase, mostly commenting "Oh, ginger gems! Yuuum!" or similar. Since ginger gems appear to be a particular favourite, I decided to leave these for another time and do a practice run with some plain gems (p28).

They're remarkably easy to make. The gem irons have to heat up in the oven first, so you put those in while you prepare the batter for the gems: no creaming butter and sugar for this, just mix melted butter with honey and brown sugar, beat in an egg, then stir in milk and dry ingredients.

The recipe mentions that the mixture should be mixed lightly, I expect probably in much the same way as muffins. Mine were slightly overmixed, owing to my forgetting about the milk until the dry ingredients were almost mixed in.

When the batter was ready, I took the gem irons out of the oven and added a small knob of butter to each section of the irons. As the butter sizzled in the hot iron, I spooned in the gem batter. The recipe is supposed to make fifteen gems, but my mixture only filled the twelve-gem irons and no more. I didn't mind though - it was easier just doing the single batch.

Since I'm not at all familiar with gems, I'm not sure what you're supposed to do with them really. They're in the 'muffins, scones and loaves' chapter, so I'm guessing it's the sort of thing you put some butter on, perhaps also jam in the case of these plain ones.

In any case, my gems came out looking beautiful, and they tasted lovely hot from the oven: soft, light and sweet. Having tasted the plain ones, I'm quite keen to try the ginger gems now - I'm already starting to get an inkling as to why everyone seems to love them!


  1. Yay gems lovely!!Now if you should happen to be coming down for the book sale.....????
    Saw gems for sale at a cafe recently so they're not entirely extinct.c

  2. Hmmm... bookarama ginger gems? Could be a plan!


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