Polly’s Ginger Biscuits

Readers of An Unseen Attraction will be aware that our hero Clem’s housekeeper makes a pretty good ginger biscuit as a cure-all for distress.

The ginger biscuits were not long in coming, and Clem was pleased to see their restorative effect. He wasn’t sure what Polly put into them, and nor was anyone else; there were women up and down Wilderness Row formally Not Speaking to her because she refused to give out the recipe. Clem didn’t have a sweet tooth in general but could happily have eaten a plateful at a sitting, and they had much the effect on the system that a stiff drink had on people in books. Rowley nibbled an edge listlessly, sat up, took a second one, and let his hunched shoulders relax a little for the first time since he’d come back.

Clem smiled at him. “They are good, aren’t they? But you do have to have something terrible happen to you first, because she doesn’t like to waste the ginger.”

Well, if you’re more generous with your ginger than Polly, here’s a recipe. I hope nothing terrible happens first.

  • 100g butter (at room temperature)
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 75g fine brown sugar (or you can use 175g caster and no brown if you prefer)
  • 1 medium egg
  • 1.5 tbsp golden syrup
  • 250g self raising flour
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 150g crystallized ginger chunks (chopped to appropriate chunks-for-cookies size)
  • 2 tsp ginger liqueur (completely optional)
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180/ Gas Mark 4.
  2. Beat the butter and sugar until pale and creamy. Add the egg and golden syrup (pro tip: if you oil the spoon very lightly before measuring out the golden syrup, it just slides right off into the bowl and makes life much easier) and the liqueur if using, and continue beating until well combined. Mix the flour and ground ginger into the biscuit mixture and stir until combined. Stir in the crystallized ginger.
  3. The dough will be sticky. Shape into 20 walnut-sized balls and place on greased or lined baking sheets. They spread so don’t crowd them. Best to use 3 trays.
  4. Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden. The tops will crack and the inside will look a little ooshy. Do not be tempted to cook till they look completely done: they will firm up as they cool, and you want the chewy inside.
  5. Leave on the baking tray until cool enough to transfer to a wire rack (they will be very soft when you take them out of the oven). Allow to cool completely before serving insofar as that’s possible. I mean, warm is fine. Look, just let them cool enough to firm up, okay? Or at least, don’t burn your mouth.

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NB: the ginger liqueur is totally optional. I happen to have a bottle of The King’s Ginger in the house so I use it; don’t make a special trip to the shop. However, if you do have it, you can also make the ginger equivalent of a Kir Royale: put a splosh of ginger liqueur in a champagne glass, top up with sparkling wine for a fizzy, fiery drink. This is a Ginger Royale or, as we call it at ours, a Prince Harry.

3 replies
  1. Jen Erik
    Jen Erik says:

    I bought a packet of ginger biscuits today, for the first time in ages. I just thought I fancied some – but this post has produced a light-bulb moment. (Fast forward to after ‘An Unnatural Vice’ when I find myself unexpectedly the owner of a quaint but welcoming London Tavern.)

    Reply
  2. Jenna
    Jenna says:

    My friend and I just made these today! It was a little difficult as we’re in the US and some of the ingredients are harder to get, but it was definitely worth it—they were amazing!

    Reply

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