Here is a recipe for ginger biscuits. Although it seems long it is actually quite simple; with practice the biscuits can be made very quickly.
4oz/125g soft margarine
4oz/125g sugar - preferably demerara or brown sugar, but white will do
1 tablespoon (15ml) golden syrup or corn syrup
1 egg yolk, from a fresh egg, because otherwise it may not separate properly and you won't be able to use the white for anything else.
6oz/180g self raising flour
1 teaspoon ground ginger
Read the rest of the recipe. Then you won't get any nasty surprises about ingredients or equipment you don't have.
Put the oven on to heat to 180°C/350°F Gas mark 4, or whatever your oven considers moderate.
If you have spare surface space, put out some baking trays and sprinkle them with flour. Otherwise do this between steps 5 and 6.
Weigh out and then cream the margarine and sugar. They should be beaten together to have the consistency of whipped cream.
Beat in the egg yolk and syrup.
Weigh out the flour and add the ginger to the flour. Then sieve it into your mixture, to make sure the ginger is evenly spread. Fold the flour gently into the mixture with a spoon; do not beat it because that will make the texture harder.
If you have difficulty getting the flour to mix in, the mixture may be too dry. Add a tiny bit of liquid - about a teaspoon of ginger cordial if you have some, or milk or water. Remember you can always add more, but you can't add less!
The mixture is now ready to put on baking trays. The size of the biscuits is up to you; the 'classic' size for a biscuit is a walnut-sized amount of mixture.
Whatever size you choose, bear in mind that while cooking the biscuits should double in size, so allow for this when putting the mixture out on the trays.
Put the mixture on the tray in ball shapes, then press each one a little flatter with the back of a fork. Dipping the fork in flour from time to time will stop the mixture sticking to it.
Your oven should be hot by now. Put the biscuits in the oven1 and check on them after about 12 minutes, and return them to the oven for about another five minutes, or until they are golden brown.
Leave the biscuits to cool on the trays for a minute, before transferring them to cool on racks. If you try to make the transfer too early the biscuits will start to break up.
At this stage, quality control is essential. Eat one!
Here are some problems and their probable causes. If you are worried about the mixture, you can try baking only some of it to see if it turns out right.
They come out as buns rather than biscuits!
- Your mixture was too dry. Add a tiny bit of liquid - see step 5.
They burnt/took ages to cook.
- The thermostat on your oven may be giving the temperature wrongly. This is common; experiment to see what temperature correction you need to make to the recipe.
I don't have biscuits! I have one biscuit, and it's huge...
- You probably underestimated the space that you need to observe between each of the biscuits on the tray.
I have one huge biscuit, but I was very careful to allow lots of space...
- Your mixture is probably too damp. Add less liquid next time.
As a variation, try using a different spice in place of the ginger, for example, allspice. You can also try adding chopped crystallised or glace ginger to the mixture with the syrup and egg yolk.