Christmas was not Christmas in our home without a box of Bakers Choice Assorted Biscuits. I am not sure where this notion of Christmas comes from but I suspect it has its origins in that old Colonial system-while our father was employed on an English owned farm it was customary for workers to receive such treats as part of the Christmas festivities. This was not the case on all farms as it was on the last farm we lived on (1983-1997)-yet it came to pass that our father still associated this with Christmas - we had to have these biscuits every year – just as we had to have a Christmas tree even though we were not Christian.
One of the advantages of the Christmas edition of this famous South African treat is that it had a much larger variety of biscuits to choose from than the regular 200g box. There was one for everyone. My younger sister loved the chocolate biscuit wrapped in the foil and the Wafers while I preferred the Lemon Creams. Amma’s favourite was the Ginger Biscuits. Though Amma never ate many of the treats she was so fond of making- she somehow made an exception when it came to Ginger Biscuits at Christmas.
This recipe is adapted from The Schell Cafe. To make Ginger Biscuits you will need:
- 200g cake flour
- 100g dark chocolate pieces (chopped) or chocolate chips
- 60g cup butter
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 ¼ teaspoons ginger powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- 60g dark-brown sugar
- 30g white sugar
- 2½ tablespoons molasses
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1. Combine the dry ingredients. Start by sifting the flour and cocoa. Add ground ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves.
2. Combine the butter, brown sugar and molasses until a smooth paste like texture is formed.
3. Mix the Bicarb with 1½ teaspoons hot water. Mix half the dry ingredient into the butter mixture then add the bicarb.
4. Mix until combined then add the rest of the dry ingredients and the fresh ginger. Once combined add the chocolate pieces. Mix then wrap in cling wrap and store in the refrigerator for approximately 2 hours.
5. Preheat the oven at 180 degrees Celsius. Roll the dough into small balls or use an ice cream scoop to scoop out even amounts of dough.
6. Roll the dough in the white sugar. Place the biscuits about 3-4 centimetres apart as they will spread out once in the oven. They need to be spaced out to avoid sticking together.
7. Bake for 12-15 minutes until the balls have flattend and the biscuits appear slightly cracked. Allow to cool before removing form the baking tray.
1. Coating the dough in sugar does help give a crunchy texture to the cookie but if you prefer less sugar like I do then you can omit it but the cookie ends up with a softer texture.
2. Make sure to dilute the bicarbonate of soda in water as the recipe instructs this will help the cookie to rise beautifully giving that prefect cracked finish.
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