Days are getting shorter, the leaves have nearly disappeared & there’s a chill in the air, requiring extra layers of clothing… winter is coming (sans White Walkers). It’s not all doom & gloom though, yes, it’s been a crappy year for us all but there is light at the end of the tunnel. That one time of year is approaching, a time where all seems well & good again with the world… Christmas!
I’m not sure if it’s too early to be talking Christmas in mid-November but I’m already contemplating putting the decorations up this year just to add a bit of cheer. It is a little early, however, to start the Christmas baking for me (with the exception of the cakes & puddings, of course), as much as I love them all, I enjoy having my festive bakes to look forward to, only enjoying them at this one time of year makes them a little bit more special. In the meantime, as we ease ourselves into winter, I’m back in the pantry, relying on the store-cupboard & spices to bring some much needed flavour & comfort to my bakes.
Spices are one of my favourite things to use in baking, wether for warmth, sweetness, spiciness or earthiness, I can always rely on my favourites. One of the best all-rounders though has got to be ginger. Hot, zesty, sweet & warming, it’s a hero ingredient that can be used in fresh, ground, crystallised & preserved form, each one with a different dominating characteristic. As I longingly wait for my first gingerbread cakes & biscuits of the season, I figured I’d make something just as fiery, sweet & indulgent as my favourites but just a little less festive. Something to accompany the abnormal volume of tea I’m currently drinking (working from home has taken its toll on my kettle!).
So, I bring you my stem ginger & chocolate biscuits. I prefer the added sweetness of stem ginger, which works so well in biscuits, but to add some balance I’ve sandwiched together my sweet, gingery biscuits with the slight bitterness or a dark chocolate ganache (you’re welcome). These beauties are definitely made for dunking & possibly sharing (perhaps double up to make more for sharing, because I certainly didn’t want to!).
STEM GINGER & CHOCOLATE BISCUITS
(makes 8 biscuits)
- 110g self raising flour
- 40g granulated sugar
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 50g butter, cubed
- 50g golden syrup
- 35g (roughly two balls) stem ginger in syrup, finely chopped
For the ganache filling:
- 70ml double cream
- 85g dark chocolate
- 2 tsp syrup from the stem ginger jar
- In a large bowl, sift together the flour, bicarbonate, sugar & ginger
- Add the butter to the bowl & use your fingertips to rub the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs
- Next, add the chopped stem ginger to the mixture & stir through
- Finally, make a small well in the middle of the mixture & pour in the golden syrup, stir through until the mixture starts to come together, use your hands to shape & mould
- Use your hands to divide the mixture up into 16 equal sized pieces
- Roll each piece of dough between your hands to form a ball & place on a parchment lined baking sheet
- Use the back of a spatula or your hands to press down each ball of dough to flatten them out into a disc shape (they won’t spread much in the oven, they’ll stay the size you flatten them to)
- Bake the biscuits in the oven at 180C for 12-15 minutes until they turn lovely & golden
- Remove from the oven & leave to cool on the tray for 10 minutes before removing & placing on a cooling rack
- Whilst the biscuits are cooling, make the ganache filling: break up the chocolate & place in a bowl
- Pour the double cream into a small saucepan & bring to a boil
- As soon as the cream reaches the boil, remove from the heat & pour over the chocolate
- Stir together until all of the chocolate has melted & the mixture is smooth & glossy
- Set the ganache aside to cool & thicken up a little
- Once everything is cool, take half of the biscuits & use a the back of a spoon to dollop & spread on the ganache (or you can add the ganache to a piping bag & pipe onto the biscuits)
- Sandwich together with the remaining half of biscuits & store in an airtight tin