But in 2009 the nation’s favourite dunking fodder vanished from supermarket shelves, along with chocolate chip cookies.
Griffin’s had closed its Lower Hutt factory and moved operations to Auckland which had, National Radio reported, resulted in “minor teething issues”. This meant there were no biscuits to be had.
At the time I was spending a bit of time in tramping huts, and gingernuts were essential items to be carried on long tramps. There was even a trip to the snow coming up – what to do?
The only solution was to make one’s own. Thus began a long period of experimentation in our household – many recipes were tried, many eliminated. After a process of intense consultation with the family, we settled on one recipe that suited everyone’s taste buds, including Eddy the farm dog (who did enjoy a small nibble.)
We ignored suggestions to add citrus peel to the mix, or mixed spice, which is nice but doesn’t taste like a gingernut should.
But we do roll the little ginger balls in sugar to coat them first. This is a real winner. It’s so good in fact, that all these years later I still don’t buy the ones from the supermarket. Homemade is way better.
And they are so spicy in tea!
3 tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
100g soft brown sugar
100g golden syrup
Preheat oven to 180ºC and lightly grease an oven tray.
Cut butter into small cubes and warm briefly in microwave (or leave in a sunny area.)
Sift flour, ginger, baking soda and powder into a bowl. Add a pinch of salt.
Using hands, rub butter into dry ingredients and stir in sugar. Warm golden syrup gently on stove top and add. Mix with wooden spoon and knead a few minutes to form a mix. Add a bit more syrup if it’s too dry.
Take a small piece of dough and roll it in your hands to form a small ball. It should be just moist enough that it doesn’t crumble. Flatten and dredge one side in sugar. Place on tray and bake in oven about 12 minutes, but keep a close eye on them. Remove and allow to cool before removing to a rack.