These easy Ginger Biscuits are a bit different from a traditional ginger cookie or ginger biscuit recipe. I think of them as a cross between a flapjack and a brandy-snap. They are very quick to bake, only 10 minutes in the oven, and have a base of oats with sugar and butter, a small amount of flour and an egg. The ginger flavour comes from finely chopped pieces of stem ginger that are added to the mixture. Flaked almonds also give a bit of extra crunch and nuttiness.
This recipe is based on one that my mother used to make. She used candied peel, rather than stem ginger, in her recipe. I am not a huge fan of candied peel and I had a half-used jar of stem ginger left over from Christmas so I decided to try make a ginger-flavoured version. I was also looking for a baking recipe that did not use a lot of flour as I am finding it hard to get hold of this at the moment.
These Ginger Biscuits have a subtle ginger flavour which even those who are not big ginger fans seem to like. The biscuits themselves are chewy with a bit of crunch around the edges and are sweet and buttery.
Things you need to know about these Ginger Biscuits (Ginger Cookies)
They are very quick and easy to make. Just mix all the ingredients together and pop them in the oven for 10 minutes.
The only slightly tricky stage is getting the cooked biscuits off the baking tray. The key is to make sure that the baking tray is very well greased and that you do not try and take the biscuits off immediately they come out of the oven (they will be too soft) or leave it too long (they will be welded to the baking tray!). If you leave it for about 5 minutes, that is just about right and it should be quite straightforward to get them off.
Don’t leave out the pinch of salt. It makes a big difference to the taste of the biscuits as it balances out the sweetness.
They are very versatile. Have them with a cup of morning coffee or afternoon tea. Add them to lunch boxes. Or they are also a very nice addition to a bowl of ice cream.
I used stem ginger for this recipe. This is candied ginger in its own syrup which you can buy in most supermarkets. It is one of my favourite ingredients as a little goes a long way and, in addition to the globes of sweet ginger, you can also use the syrup as a flavouring. However, if you do not have stem ginger to hand, you could use pieces of crystallised ginger which can be found in the baking aisle in most supermarkets.
If ginger is not your thing, you could substitute the stem ginger for the same amount of mixed peel. Or you could just leave out the ginger and you would still have a delicious, oaty, buttery biscuit.
These Cheese Biscuits with Chilli are a heated-up version of a basic cheese biscuit recipe. They are fantastic as a snack with drinks as they are deliciously cheesy and pack a big load of chilli heat. I think they go particularly well with a beer!
I have been making the basic biscuits for years and if you are not a lover of spicy food, you can leave out the chilli. If you are serving them with wine, the non-spicy version might be better. Or you could do a batch and put chilli in one half.
I have a taste for savoury, salty snacks, which I try to moderate generally and indulge occasionally. One of the good things about making your own snacks is that you are in control of the salt levels. Adding strong flavour elements, such as chilli, also helps with this as it means that the snacks have a powerful hit of flavour without being overly salty.
Whether you are looking for a plate of snacks ready for a box-set binge evening or for a drinks party, these Cheese Biscuits with Chilli are fantastic. They will keep in a sealed tin for several days once baked. Even better, you can keep the dough in the refridgerator for a week and slice and cook the biscuits when you want to eat them. You can also freeze the dough for several months. I always prepare a large batch of cheese biscuit dough in the run-up to Christmas and refridgerate or freeze which means that I can have freshly baked home-made biscuits within minutes.
If you are in a snacking mood, you might also like to try my recipes for Spiced Nuts and Marinated Feta. Both are really easy and are great at a party or if you are just watching television with a cold beer!
Whether you make these Cheese Biscuits with or without chilli, they are a fantastic snack with drinks or for a box-set binge. The dough can be kept in the fridge or freezer and baked whenever you feel like fresh home-made biscuits.
100 g butter (at room temperature)
100 g strong cheese (eg Cheddar)
100 g plain flour
1 teaspoon chilli flakes
Put all the ingredients into a food processor and blend until combined to form a dough.
Roll the dough into a sausage shape, wrap in cling film and place in the fridge to chill for an hour.
Set your oven to 180 degrees C or Gas Mark 4.
Remove the dough from the fridge and cut across to form disks approximately 1 cm thick.
Place the disks on a greased baking tray and bake in the oven for 10 minutes until golden.
Remove from the oven and place the biscuits on a baking rack to cool.
If you don’t like chilli, you can leave it out. The plain, cheese biscuits are delicious too!
The baked biscuits will keep for several days in an air-tight tin.
The dough can be kept in the fridge for a week. So that you can cut it into discs and bake for home-made biscuits within minutes.
I love lavender! I grow several varieties in my garden and look forward to the first hot day of the year when you get a waft of lavender scent on the air and know that summer is truly here. Lavender Shortbread is an excellent way of capturing the essence of this beautiful, fragrant plant.
Lavender has many culinary uses and its fragrance works well in a variety of sweet and savoury dishes. However, you do have to be a bit careful though as lavender is a very strongly scented plant and, if you use too much, it can overwhelm other flavours. For this reason, I think it is best used on its own rather than in combination with other aromatics.
Plain shortbread is delicious – it should have a fairly soft, crumbly texture – but it also makes great vehicle to showcase a range of flavours, including lavender, rose geranium, thyme, rosemary and lemon verbena. It is a great accompaniment to a cup of tea or coffee and is also a good partner with ice-cream or sorbet.
The English word lavender is thought to be derived either from Old French lavandre which is taken from the Latin lavare “to wash” which refers to the practice of using it in infusions or from the Latin livere “blueish” in reference to its colour. Lavender (“nard” in Hebrew) is mentioned in the Song of Solomon.
It was introduced into England in the 1600s. At that time, it was used to make herb tea which was appreciated for its taste and for its medicinal properties. It was also used to make a conserve which was prized by members of the aristocracy including, allegedly, Queen Elizabeth 1. Although lavender is often now associated with southern French cuisine, it was not widely used until the turn of the 20th century and its use was popularised only later by its inclusion in the 1970s in herbes de Provence, a blend of herbs invented by spice wholesalers.
These Thyme Biscuits are very loosely inspired by the Italian pinolate biscuits, which are often lemon flavoured and contain ground pinenuts in addition to a topping of whole ones. When I was putting together a recipe for thyme-flavoured biscuits, I thought that a topping of pinenuts would make them look attractive and go well with the herby flavour. The pinenuts become golden and toasted while the biscuits are cooking in the oven and this makes them crunchy and also enhances their flavour.
The fresh thyme that you buy in the supermarket will generally be common thyme which does make a good flavouring for these biscuits. However, I used lemon thyme when making these biscuits, as I grow it in my garden and particularly like its lemony-herby flavour. If you have space for a few pots and want to grow your own thyme, there are many different types, a number of which have distinctive citrus notes such as lemon, orange or lime. Herbal Haven has a very large variety of thyme and other herbs which can be bought online.
These biscuits are flavoured with fresh thyme and topped with crunchy, toasted pinenuts. They are great as an accompaniment to ice-cream or sorbet.
115g butter (softened)
125g caster sugar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 large egg
175g plain flour
Set the oven to 170 C/325 F/Gas Mark 3
Combine all ingredients, except the pinenuts, in your food processor until they form a soft dough. (NB: If you do not have a food processor, cream the butter and sugar together. Add the chopped thyme. Gradually add the egg and then the flour.)
Roll the dough out to approximately 1 cm thickness.
Cut into circles or other shapes if you wish.
Place the circles on a baking tray lined with baking parchment or grease-proof paper.
Press pinenuts into the top of each circle of dough.
These Lemon Biscuits are very quick and easy to make and also very versatile. They are made of lovely buttery shortbread, flavoured with zesty lemon, and the addition of ground almonds keeps them moist and gives them a lovely crumbly texture.
I tend to make mine heart-shaped (if you look at the rest of my blog you will see that I love heart-shaped food) as I think hearts are pretty! However, round is fine – or any other shape you like. They are great biscuits to make with children, as they are very straight-forward, so if you want to get creative (and have the right kind of cookie cutters) you could go for flowers or rabbits or trains or whatever takes your fancy!
These biscuits are excellent as an accompaniment to ice-cream – I particularly like them with my Elderflower Ice-cream – but they are also great with morning coffee or afternoon tea. I think they would also make a good edible gift for a birthday or Mothers’ Day.