Chewy and sweet, these spiced biscuits are little comforting gems.
I spotted a recipe for these cookies on a blog called Gimme Some Oven earlier this week, and immediately knew I had to try it out. These are very different to the type of biscuits we generally get in Europe, as they are not crunchy but instead are incredibly sticky and chewy.
I have adapted the original recipe for a couple of reasons. Firstly, their recipe makes (and I am approximating here) about seven billion kajillion cookies. I have halved this recipe, and yet still you will get a yield of about 50 - 60 cookies. I also changed the recipe as I couldn't get a hold of molasses and discovered that black treacle (my first idea for a substitute) is absolutely and positively vile. I had never tasted it before, and it turned out to be like sticky sludgy out-of-date cough medicine. My old friend golden syrup turned out to be the perfect substitute.
6oz butter, softened
7oz caster sugar
1 generous tablespoon golden syrup
2 tsp bread soda
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ginger
2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp salt
Pre-heat the oven to 160 degrees (this is for a fan oven - if using a conventional oven, try 180). Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper and set aside.
Cream together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer for about 5 minutes until it becomes paler in colour and thick in consistency. Add in the egg and beat well until combined.
In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, bread soda, salt and spices in a bowl. Make a well in the centre and add in the butter, sugar and egg mixture. I tried combining all the ingredients using a wooden spoon but really the only way to do it properly is to stick your hands in and get messy. Press the goo through your fingers to mix it really thoroughly; this is ridiculously good fun and kids would love to help at this stage. Once all the ingredients are fully combined, you will have a thick moist dough to work with which will emit the most wonderful of smells.
Get a shallow bowl and chuck in a couple of tablespoons of caster sugar. Add in a pinch of ginger and of cinnamon and mix.
Using wet hands, grab a small piece of dough and roll it in your hands to form a ball. Each ball should be approx 1 inch in diameter. Roll the ball in the sugar to coat it, and pop it on the lined baking tray. Repeat. Leave plenty of space in between each cookie, as they will flatten and expand in the oven - a gap of 3 inches or so should do the trick. If your cookies are joining together when they bake, widen the gaps between them and they will stay separated.
I baked these in the oven for 5 minutes and they were perfect. The timing will depend on your oven, but try a test batch and see if 5 minutes is long enough for your cookies. I knew mine were done as the edges were turning brown and any more heat would have burned them. Bake these in batches and cool them on a wire rack. Be careful removing them from the baking trays as they will not be hard when they come out of the oven; rather they are quite fragile and a bit sticky. They will harden once they cool - which they do rather quickly as they are so thin.
Store in an airtight container and serve with a lovely big cup of tea and a grin.