If you’ve read a number of my books, you’ll notice that my heroes often select a gingernut, when offered refreshments at afternoon teat-time. This has confused enough copyeditors (and a few readers) to make me realize that gingernuts are not common in the USA.
So to clarify, they are biscuits (cookies if you’re in the USA). I don’t know why they’re called gingernuts, but that’s the English language for you.
And to add to the confusion, there are no nuts in gingernuts. There is, however, ginger.
They’re very popular in the UK and Australia and elsewhere, and as well as home-baked versions they’re widely available in supermarkets.
Yesterday I was in the mood to bake some biscuits (cookies). It’s part of an ongoing experiment to learn to work with the very fancy oven in my new home. I’m used to the kind of oven where you simply choose a temperature and then bake. Not this oven, which has all kinds of cooking and baking styles. So when a friend came around to visit I thought I’d try making biscuits.
I planned to make gingernuts, but it turned out I had no ground ginger — I threw out quite a few aging spices when I moved, and clearly I hadn’t yet replaced them. Nor did I have any fresh ginger in the fridge. I did have some Japanese pickled ginger, but didn’t think that would do the trick. What I did have was a small jar of candied ginger (also known as crystallized ginger — cooked in sugar then dried).
So instead of trying to make gingernuts with no proper ginger, I decided to make ANZAC biscuits and add spices to them. ANZAC biscuits are dead easy and I almost always have the ingredients in the cupboard, so they’re a good fall-back biscuit. Plus they’re yummy. So I mixed up a batch of ANZAC biscuits, and added spices to it — cinnamon, allspice, mixed spices and ground pepper, and I threw some of the candied ginger into the blender, chopped it finely, and added that to the mix. (No exact quantities, I’m sorry, as I just made it up.)
These are the biscuits I made — basic ANZACs with added spices and bits of candied ginger. They look a bit rough and rustic, but that’s because they’re made with rolled oats and coconut, among other things. There’s a recipe here, which also gives you the background as to why they’re called ANZACs. It also gives you an alternative to golden syrup, which is a household item here, but not in the USA.
Yesterday the biscuits tasted very nice — we ate them warm out of the oven — but I couldn’t really taste any ginger. That was okay, because as it turned out, my friend wasn’t a big fan of ginger. But today I can really taste the ginger, and I like it so much I’m going to add those spices and ginger to every ANZAC biscuit I make in future.