A cup of tea is always infinitely improved by having a biscuit to dunk into it. Some of the best biscuits for the job are the classic, old-school ones such as digestives or ginger nuts (also known as ginger snaps). Whilst nothing could be easier than slinging a packet of these in the shopping trolley, making them from scratch is actually deceptively quick and easy, and the finished product is infinitely more delicious than its mass-produced counterpart. For some reason, there is something particularly satisfying about baking a home-made version of a shop-bought biscuit. I get immense pleasure from the fact that the cracked, golden surface of a homemade ginger snap really does resemble the packet version. Nigella Lawson describes it as “reproducing artifice by more natural means” in her (quite marvellous) recipe for homemade custard creams.
This recipe comes from my lovely mother-in-law. When I first made them, I couldn’t believe how simple they were: take a bowl of dry ingredients, add a pan of melted ingredients, combine, shape into balls and bake. The work of about half an hour. Needless to say, they are now a regular fixture in my kitchen.
Bake a batch, make a pot of tea and enter biscuit-dunking nirvana…
300g plain flour
1 tsp bicarb
1.5 tsp baking power
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tbsp golden syrup
2 tbsp milk
Heat oven to 160c/ 325f/ gas 3
Generously grease two large baking trays.
Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Melt the butter and golden syrup over a low heat (do not boil.)
Pour the melted ingredients into the dry ingredients, add the milk and mix thoroughly.
Form into small balls using your hands and place on the baking trays, ensuring that they are well spaced.
Cook for 15 minutes. The biscuits should be golden brown with a cracked surface. Cool on the trays until crisp.