These nourishing, tasty buns are a longstanding favourite in our household.
Even our little cattle dog Edwina got one or two at the end of a long day on the farm.
Years back, when husband David was going down the back of the farm, he’d take Eddy and some buns. Three for him, one for Ed.
They look a modest wee bun, a little like a biscuit, and possibly don’t look all that flash, but they have a light, ginger spiciness that is very moreish.
We don’t know if Nanny brought the recipe with her from Scotland, or if she came upon it in New Zealand, but she kept a tin full of them at all times in her kitchen.
My father-in-law Jack remembered sneaking into the kitchen as a child in the early 1930s to stock up on the buns and his brother Wal would sit down to a plate of them for lunch.
I learned the recipe from my mother-in-law Gwen almost 30 years ago, and now daughter Iris makes them, so that’s four generations who have enjoyed this recipe.
The buns are easy to make, and if given a chance, keep well. On this topic, if they should go a bit dry, one single slice of bread popped into the tin will refresh them to almost just-baked perfection.
1 ½ cups white flour
1 ½ cups wholemeal flour
3 tsp baking powder
3 tsp ginger
3 tsp mixed spice
grind of nutmeg
250g butter, at room temperature
1 ¼ cups sugar
1 ½ Tbsp golden syrup
1 ¼ cups sultanas
a little milk, if needed
► Preheat oven to 180°C and lightly grease a baking tray with butter.
► In a large bowl mix together the flour, baking powder and spices. Using two knives, chop the butter into this mixture and use fingers to rub it in well.
► Add sultanas, golden syrup and eggs, mix together. It should be somewhat moist but quite firm. Add the sugar. If the mixture is crumbly, add a tablespoon or two of milk. Hands are really good to mix it all together.
► Take about a tablespoon of the mixture (if you want to be technical, 55g is ideal!), form into balls, flatten in the palm of your hand and place on baking tray.
► Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, keeping an eye on them and depending on oven. The buns are ready when they are golden brown on top, and firm to the touch.