Thu, 27 August, 2020
Ginger snaps aka ginger nuts are fantastically crunchy, thoroughly spicy and immensely British biscuits. A snap to make indeed, too.
Ginger snaps are a classic
Whether you dunk or not, ginger snaps – or ginger nuts as they are also called – are one of the classic British biscuits. With custard creams, digestives, shortbread and jammie dodgers, may they forever live in biscuit tins and office meetings trays!
What makes ginger snaps snap?
As the name suggests, ginger snaps should meet just two specs: so crunchy they snap and gingery in flavour. Who knew it was quite hard to achieve?
Snags with the snaps
I’m a dab hand at making crunchy biscuits, and gingery confections so I didn’t anticipate many problems when test baking my snaps. Surprise, surprise: it took me several attempts before I managed to accomplish a half-decent result.
To start with the biscuits were too soft or chewy which may otherwise be a good thing but not in snaps. The ginger flavour didn’t want to come through at first either – one batch was completely vanilla, another with merely a hint.
Ginger snaps need to chill
The texture was an issue – I don’t mind misshapen biscuits which the final product below undoubtedly are, but one must be able to cut them, and cut thinly too, to achieve the snap and crunch as above. Cut! I couldn’t even roll the dough up into a sausage until I firmed it up in the fridge.
The sausage roll then went to the freezer – I was impatient to bake them, you might want to keep the dough in the fridge overnight – and finally thin slices were produced.
How to make snappy ginger snaps?
So in summary, the ginger snap specs, crunch and the flavour, require the biscuits to be sliced very thinly, and the dough to be loaded with ginger in as many guises as possible. Ground ginger is a staple and if you also add some cinnamon it will enhance the spice.
But I think it adds extra value to the flavour if either fresh ginger juice or ginger syrup, as in my recipe, is added. And don’t we all harbour a jar of stem ginger in syrup at the back of the cupboard, bought for a reason forgotten and still good because these products last for ever?
ginger snapsServings: makes about 2 dozen biscuitsTime: 20 minutes plus chilling
- 100g (1/3 cup) ginger syrup from a jar of stem ginger in syrup (or golden syrup)
- 100g (1/3 cup plus 2 tbsp.) demerara sugar
- 175g (1 stick plus 3 tbsp.) unsalted butter
- 250g (2 cups) plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 3 tsp ground ginger
1. Place the syrup in a saucepan with the sugar and butter and bring to the boil. When the butter has melted, take it off the heat and cool slightly.
2. Stir the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and ground ginger in a bowl. Pour in cooled butter mixture and mix with a spatula into smooth dough.
3. Chill briefly to thicken, shape into a sausage and wrap in cling film. Place in the freezer for at least 30 minutes or in the fridge overnight.
4. Preheat the oven to 180C (fan if available)/350F/gas 4. Line a large baking tray with parchment.
5. Slice the frozen/chilled dough thinly and arrange on the baking tray. Bake for 10 minutes until golden and crisp. Keep on the tray for a few minutes, then cool on a wire rack.