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Thursday, January 3, 2019

Ginger Biscuits

Wishing all my readers a happy, healthy and prosperous new year. May all your wishes come true this year and hope you get to create a collage of wonderful memories with your near and dear ones. 

I have read enough novels set in the Victorian period to know a thing or two about the popular tea tradition and tea rooms of Britain. However I always associated it with the afternoon tea sessions. A ritual which doubled as a light meal and was meant to ward off the hunger pangs between the lunch and dinner periods. A Duchess named Anna Maria, a lifelong friend of queen Victoria is credited with the creation of the afternoon tea ritual, during mid 1840s. 

There were only two meals served prior to 18th century - a breakfast and a dinner, the main meal of the day that happened around two or three in the afternoon. Somewhere during the 18th century, dinner was slowly moved to somewhere between six to eight in the evening. During this period, a very light midday meal called 'luncheon' started to get served in wealthy homes, to fill the gap between breakfast and these new fashionably late dinners. However these luncheons were lighter and the long afternoons with no refreshments kept everyone feeling hungry. Anna found that a light meal of tea (usually Darjeeling) and cakes or sandwiches was  perfect to beat the hunger pangs before dinner and soon started inviting her friends to join her during the teatime. This post-lunch tea ritual became such a hit that the practice spread in aristocratic circles.

Now, there is another little teatime tradition called 'elevenses' which also happens to be my theme of blogging marathon this week. Elevenses is a short break taken for light refreshments at eleven in the morning, a couple of hours before the midday meal. This is like a second breakfast that comes between a proper breakfast and before lunch. It was not as formal or fancy as the afternoon tea but light snacks which are usually sweet were served with a tea. 

I read somewhere that not the fancy kind but simple ones like these ginger biscuits were a norm for the elevenses. I found the perfect recipe here to suit my purpose and tried it. I was baking a small portion and so, rather than running to grocery store, I substituted with the things I had in my kitchen. Golden syrup was replaced by honey and maple syrup combo, margarine by butter and self rising flour by a combo of all purpose flour, salt and baking powder. Also I baked them a couple of minutes more and left them in the oven for a few minutes. The extra time in the oven makes them perfect 'dunkers' for tea or coffee.
I was taking care of hundred other things while baking this and kind of messed up with my liquid measurement and so, I might have added more flour than needed. I am guessing that's why my cookies were thicker and did not spread as thinner as the original one. However they taste really good in spite of all the substitutions. As I mentioned above, I made them a little on the harder side to use them to dunk in tea / coffee.

Ingredients: (Yield about 30 - 32)
110 g / 4 oz margarine
110 g / 4 oz caster sugar
110 g / 4 oz golden syrup
225 g / 8 oz self rising flour
2 tsp. ground ginger

* Preheat the oven to 180 c / 350 deg F. Grease a baking sheet.
* Melt the margarine, sugar and golden syrup in a pan over medium heat. Remove the pan from heat as soon as the contents are melted and allow it cool slightly. Add the flour and ginger and mix to form a dough.
* Once the dough is cool enough to handle, roll the dough into about 30 small balls with floured hands. Place the balls onto the prepared baking sheet with space in between to allow them to expand while baking. Mark the top of each ball with a fork. 
* Bake them until the biscuits are golden brown, about 10 minutes. (Mine were not done at 10 minutes. However remember that they harden a little, while cooling.)
* Remove from the oven, let them cool down a bit and transfer onto a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an air tight container.



vaishali sabnani said...

As a kid I was very fond of ginger cookies and in fact I used to make a dessert with these too . Thanks for the share , will be trying these very soon , they look lovely and have loads of memories attached .

Varadas Kitchen said...

Ginger biscuits in all their forms are my favorite. These look so cute!

Sandhya Ramakrishnan said...

Suma, Wishing you and your family a very Happy New Year! Elevenses is such a fancy term, but it is very close to how our previous generation followed their meal routine. I remember my grandmother always having couple of biscuits with some buttermilk at around 10 am. This is such a delicious ginger cookie and my son would love it.

Priya Suresh said...

Feel like munching some, and those biscuits looks absolutely incredible. Prefect to enjoy with a cup of coffee or tea.

Harini R said...

Those ginger cookies look fantastic. My little one wouldn't mind having a few of those cookies after school :)

Gayathri Kumar said...

Wish you a happy new year Suma. I have read about afternoon tea in novels, but elevenses is so new to me. And it is such an interesting read. These ginger biscuits look perfect to have with a cup of tea.

Srividhya Gopalakrishnan said...

This is such a great accompaniment along with the Tea. Simple and yum.

Pavani N said...

Loved reading the post Suma - I had no idea about luncheons or even elevenses. I learnt something new today - thank you for that.
Ginger cookies look yumm!! I would eat them any time in the day :-) :-)

Srivalli said...

That's a fantastic intro Suma, loved reading about the traditions and how we have evolved. Ginger cookies look and sound fantastic. I know where to come when I want to make some for myself! Wish you and your family a wonderful year ahead!

Swati said...

Wonderful post for the theme. The cookies look so tempting and well baked!!

Chef Mireille said...

these are absolutely perfect with a cup of tea - I used to love ginger snap cookies and now you are making me think of how much I enjoyed them as a kid - would definitely be willing to try your version here

Padmajha PJ said...

Ginger biscuits are still my fav and I enjoy munching it at any time of the day.You have made it so well Suma.

veena krishnakumar said...

Loved reading this post. The biscuits looks very good. I would love to munch this anytime not only for elevenses:)