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"It is the kind of no-frills biscuit you might find in an office tin"

Felicity Cloake

This is a quickie as my time is running out having spent at least a half of my day so far, trying unsuccessfully and with much shouting and almost swearing, to link my vaccination certificate to my checkin app - Service Victoria. Should be simple - isn't. I refuse to think about it anymore today.

Tomorrow will be joyful though because our family is coming around to eat - spaghetti and meatballs of course, and chocolate cake to celebrate our grandson's (the soon to be 11 year old) birthday. The chocolate cake will be made by my granddaughters, the meatballs are a request from the birthday boy, and there might be sausage rolls as well. All very normal food.

He, like most males, is difficult to buy presents for though. I have some modest ones, but nothing exciting. However, he did say that he likes cookies, and particularly gingernuts, so I think I am going to have a go at making some for him. In a minute.

I thought I might find interesting stuff about its history, but not really - most popular from mid nineteenth century on I think and British, though there are other versions in Europe and Scandinavia.

However I did find a couple of interesting titbits - the first being that a survey of the best dunking biscuits in Britain, had the gingernut coming out on top. Because that's what most people do with gingernuts - dunk them in their cup of tea. It's a curious custom dunking things in drinks isn't it? Which dates way back. I guess you are adding another flavour to each of the two components.

The other thing was that here in Australia, Arnott's it seems has a different recipe for each state (well there are four different versions) even though they are all made in the same factory in Queensland. Why? Well originally there were several biscuit companies around Australia each making their own version. Arnott's gradually bought them all up, and tried to merge them into one version but the protests were so loud and angry that they succumbed and decided to keep them separate. I don't know which is which in the above, but this is what Arnott's says about them:

"The NSW/ACT Ginger Nut is the thickest and hardest, and the best for dunking in a cup of tea

  • The Queensland Ginger Nut is thin, sweet and darker in colour — more like a gingerbread-style biscuit

  • In Victoria and Tasmania, the Ginger Nuts are bigger, softer and sweeter – closest to the traditional ginger nuts from overseas

  • The SA/WA and NT variety looks like its VIC counterpart, but is sweeter"

The Victorian packet is apparently longer than the others, although it's the same weight. It must make it difficult for you if you are a gingernut fan and you move interstate.

As well as dunking them, and eating them, you can also use the biscuits in a number of different ways - here a few just to give you a taste - Ginger syllabub from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, but no picture I'm afraid - although delicious. also has a version; Condensed milk, lemon and ginger puddings - also from Hugh; and No bake gingernut slice from VJ Cooks

And what about the biscuits themselves? Well I am plumping for the Australian Women's Weekly recipe, shown here, which seems to be along the same lines as Felicity Cloake's perfect ones. I thought they looked better than hers.

Gingernuts, by the way, are one of the few biscuits that I really like, and I don't like ginger much, so that's very odd.


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