Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Let's try that again

It's been a couple of weeks since my last post: I've been away at Berwick Outdoor Experience, an eight-day course run by the Lions Club. It's entirely uncharacteristic of me to sign up for such a thing, but my darling Daddy put me up to it.

Obviously, I was unable to cook anything Edmonds while I was away, and the week's exertions had the unexpected effect of entirely curbing my appetite. I'm only just now regaining any interest in eating.

I thought it would be a good idea to have something to nibble on in the car on the way down to Otago, so a day or two before I left, I whipped up a batch of gingernuts (p40). It's a fairly simple recipe, consisting of butter creamed with sugar and golden syrup, with baking soda, flour and ground ginger added.

These ingredients combined to make a very stiff, crumbly mixture. It was tricky to roll into balls, but I persevered and got a couple of trays into the oven. The recipe stated 30 minutes' cooking time, but the biscuits were ready far earlier - it was around the 15-minute mark that I finally took them out, and even then they were dark on the bottom.

I wasn't impressed. The gingernuts were rock hard and quite bland. I soon decided not to take them with me - a useful decision, since I didn't have any spare space in my bags anyway.

Initially, I just wrote this one off as a bad recipe, but the next day I realised where I'd gone wrong. I'd been using canola spread in place of butter, and calculated the amount required in tablespoon amounts, as per the info on p8 of the Edmonds book. Except instead of consulting said page, I'd done it from memory: not smart, since memory indicated that one tablespoon equalled 30g (it's actually 2T=30g). If you only put half the butter in a biscuit dough, of course it won't come out right!

I didn't have time to have another go until I got home, and at first I didn't want to do anything but sleep. This evening, however, I got home from work and mixed up another batch. The difference between the two biscuit doughs was marked: the second one was light, soft and easily workable. It took no time at all to roll the mixture into balls and get the gingernuts in the oven.

The 30-minute cooking time remains a mystery. Both batches of gingernuts were cooked - in fact, slightly over cooked - after only 15 minutes. After 30, they'd be charcoal.

The second batch of biscuits was a considerable improvement on the first. They were larger and softer for a start. I wouldn't say these are the best gingernuts I've ever made (Alison Holst!), but they're ok. Still, no matter what recipe you use, I can give you one very valuable piece of advice: if you accidentally halve your butter, you won't get good results.


  1. I have experienced the same problem with this recipe, so now I just watch them and see when they look about right. As my Edmonds cook book is in storage and I do not live in NZ anymore your blog is an absolutely wonderful find!

  2. Thanks for reading! The "found your blog because I'm overseas and don't have my Edmonds anymore" story seems to be a common one - I reckon everyone should just follow my example and take their Edmonds books everywhere they go ;)


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