A Ginger Nutcase

One of the sad things about being stuck with a gluten free diet is that certain favourites simply disappear from the menu.

There’s a small but very particular list that I haven’t been able to replicate. Genuine yeasted doughnuts, not the cakey kind raised with bicarbonate of soda. Crusty, artisanal bread, fresh from the oven. Decent scones. If anyone out there has bomb-proof gluten free recipes for these that don’t rely on some hard-to-source local ingredient, then I want to hear from you.

Gingernuts hand shotThe last one on the list has been, up to this point, the ginger nut. UK readers will recognise this this as the hard, crunchy, crisp and intensely gingery ultimate dunking bicky (cookie). It doesn’t fall apart even when saturated with the hot brown beverage of your choice, so invaluable for tea-dunking, coffee-dunking, and personally, I’ve been known to dunk them in a mug of hot chocolate too. I have been slaving tirelessly behind the scenes on your behalf to perfect a gluten free solution for the world. OK, I admit to enjoying the testing process. A lot. And now, I have it!

I bring you the Gluten Free Ginger Nut

Ingredients:
1 cup almond meal
¼ cup plain/all purpose flour
1 tsp bicarb/baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3 tblsp ground dried ginger
85g/3oz butter at room temperature
¾ cup soft dark brown (turbinado) sugar
1 large egg at room temperature
1½ tblsp molasses

What you do:

Preheat the oven to 175°C/350°F. Line two cookie sheets with baking paper.
Sift together the flour, bicarb soda, cinnamon, ginger and salt.
Cream the butter and brown sugar in a mixer, scraping down occasionally, till paler and fluffy. Beat in egg till fully blended. Beat in molasses till fully blended.
Fold in half the sifted dry ingredients by hand, scrape down and then mix in the rest at low speed in the mixer.
Scoop rounded teaspoonfuls of the batter and place on the baking paper, about 5cm/2 inches apart (the batter will spread).
Bake for 12-15 minutes until dark brown. Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn. They should be the colour shown in the photo. Any paler and they’ll be chewy instead of crunchy. Of course, if that’s your preference, cook them for 10-12 minutes.  It takes all sorts…
Remove from the oven and whip the sheet of baking paper off the sheet and onto a wire cooling rack so the biscuits cool quickly without getting soft on the bottom.
Try and wait till they’re cool before you tuck in. Put the kettle on.

Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 7.03.24 pmThere’s more research to do. I want to experiment with covering the top with dark chocolate. Now there’s a marriage made in heaven…

Ah me, the hardships I endure in the interests of gluten free baking.

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31 thoughts on “A Ginger Nutcase

  1. tialys says:

    I admire your selfless toiling on behalf of the gluten intolerant of the world. Surely some award will be forthcoming.

  2. Grannymar says:

    I will have to try these. I love dunking Gingernuts. I love ginger full stop!

    • katechiconi says:

      These could conceivably be improved by the addition of some finely chopped crystallised ginger… Say 4 or 5 chunks?

      • Grannymar says:

        I was actually thinking about adding chopped crystallised ginger or even finely grated root ginger. I set out to make my Lemon drizzle cake one day only to discover I had used the last lemon, so I went to the cupboard as you do… a jar of crystallised ginger almost jumped out at me. I made the cake added the chopped ginger and put it in the oven, It looked wonderful, I warmed a couple of spoonfuls of the syrup to go over the top. I waited until it was cool before slicing and low and behold….. All the ginger was along the bottom! It tasted nice!

      • katechiconi says:

        Sounds yum! I have a small ginger plant I started from a root that had sprouted. It should do well in this climate, so one day I’ll be nipping out to the garden for fresh ginger whenever I like!

  3. Altruism is its own reward. Also, the resulting plate of cookies 🙂

  4. Have you tried chocolate ginger nuts? Just add some cocoa to your recipe and some chopped dark chocolate. I love them 🙂

  5. Ginger is, I swear I’ve read this, one of the most healthful things one can ingest. It’s said to be better than garlic for reducing inflammation, boosting the immune system, and all that jazz. So nice of you to help us make our lives more gingery. I’ll be trying these!

  6. Is your “all/purpose” flour gluten free? I have made good ginger nuts in the past using rolled oats (a bit like for flapjack), and can confirm that crystallised ginger is a great addition.

    • katechiconi says:

      It is indeed, but ordinary wheat flour would do just fine. Oats are out for me due to the avenin (gluten-like protein) in them. For me, the additions have to be kept to a level where they don’t interfere with the basic gingernuttyness of the biscuit; I want crunchy, hard and crisp, not chewy. These are the ultimate dunkers.

  7. I have no issues with gluten, but appreciate your hard work on behalf of all who do. 😉 And just to show my support, I am going to try these, with the added crystallized ginger. Yum!!

  8. Lynda says:

    Oh he… ECK yeah! I know how hard it is to find a good cookie/biscuit. These are my favorite flavors together too! So now, question, I have a question!!! (Can you see me waving my hand in the air all the way over here?) 😉

    In the states when we talk about turbinado, it refers to large grained, unrefined, brownish, dry sugar crystals. If this is not what you meant, then do you pack your brown sugar? Most recipes I’ve seen ask for it to be tightly packed. You didn’t say, so I assume not, but I don’t want to take a chance of messing these lovelies up!
    Thanks, Kate. 😀

    • Lynda says:

      I almost forgot. Do you like almond biscotti? If so, then say and I will find it in my recipe drawer. It is not mine but I can vouch for how tasty it is!

    • katechiconi says:

      Good call. Turbinado sugar here is somewhat moister than you describe and is packable. I have been told it’s the US equivalent of what I personally use, which is fine, soft, rather dark, very damp sugar, and I pack it, but I don’t *mash* it into the measuring cup. What you are describing is what we call raw sugar, dry, large crystals which are free running. And in case it’s an issue, the molasses is unsulphured. If you’re going to add crystallised ginger, I’d suggest using the stuff without a thick coating of granulated sugar on the outside, if you can find it, as this will make them a lot sweeter. We call it ‘naked ginger’… I’m off to bake another batch to take on the trip with us! You do need to keep them in an airtight container, otherwise they will go chewy, a pity, but not a crisis since they still taste pretty good!

  9. It’s a hard job but…these look tops Kate and I will be trying them soon. I have made a gf gingernut as well but can’t remember what is in mine, am going to go look it up on the blog. You can never have too many good gf bikkie recipes. (We are nuts about ginger in this house too…)

    • katechiconi says:

      I don’t believe I’m breaking any new ground here, but I’m very happy that I now have a good recipe that produces consistent results. I didn’t get a great result from your fabulous sponge recipe, but I suspect it’s an oven temperature thing there. I’ll be trying again!

      • I think that when it comes to gf baking there is still potential for a bit of ground breaking and yours look proper snappy crunch type ginger nuts. That’s a bit of a downer with the sponge recipe. Hope it works next time!

      • katechiconi says:

        I know the recipe’s a good one when the Husband starts in on my bickies instead of his beloved Arnott’s Cream Assortment, stashed away in the Cupboard of Forbidden Foods!

  10. EllaDee says:

    I too -before I got busy with other things- had been working on a ginger nut recipe… seems I’ve been too light on the ginger powder and one attempt too heavy handed with the golden syrup. I love the addition of almond meal. You list ¼ cup plain/all purpose flour – I have both GF and plain. Can I use either?

    • katechiconi says:

      I’d perhaps try the regular plain flour first, and if you find it makes the bickies too squidgy, then use the GF, which will be lighter and more starch-based. You need heaps of ginger! I’m kicking up the heat with the naked preserved stuff, because I didn’t want to add more sweetness, just flavour and heat.

  11. dayphoto says:

    YAY! You did it! Multi-talented you! Thank you, Kate!

    Linda

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