Thursday, May 20, 2010

The sweet and spicy smell of success

Yesterday (by my time, at least; time zones make it more complex internationally) my older sister posted a recipe for Ginger Fairings. Today, I procured the necessary ingredients, and made baking happen. Reproduced is her recipe, with my annotations.

8 oz plain flour (yes, by weight. You Americans only use volume because way back when, accurate scales were hard to come by)
4 oz margarine (really margarine. 99.9% of the time, butter is better for baking. This is the exception)
4 oz granulated sugar
4 oz golden syrup (2 tablespoons or thereabouts) (Americans and expats in America can substitute with a roughly 2:1 mix of light corn syrup and mild molasses - it's not right, but it's close enough as long as you don't mind them being crunchy instead of chewy. And you really should weigh this - two tablespoons was nowhere near enough, I had to add more as the mixer went. When weighing, I suggest using a small bowl that you've greased. Cooking spray works well for this.)
pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon mixed spice (doesn't seem to be sold by Safeway; I used a quarter-teaspoon each of nutmeg and cloves, and a half-teaspoon of allspice, and I'm happy with that)

Preheat oven to 200 degrees C/Gas Mark 6/395 degrees F

EITHER sift together dry ingredients, rub in margarine, add syrup and mix together to form a smooth pliable paste

OR (what I do) bung everything into food processor and whizz until it forms a ball

By hand, roll into a long sausage. Cut off small sections and shape into balls (makes 32). Place on greased baking tray, leaving plenty of room for spreading. Bake on top shelf until golden (about 7 minutes), then on a lower shelf to drop and spread for 4 - 5 minutes. When you take them out of the oven, slap the baking sheet down onto a heat-resistant surface (the top of your stove is generally ideal, being solid and heatproof) to get rid of the domed appearance. If you ever had an Apple III, this will likely be familiar to you. Cool on a wire rack (best left on baking sheet for a few minutes if possible - they're very fragile at first). Do attempt not to burn your mouth eating them - this is the tricky part, as they smell absolutely gorgeous.

And this is what they look like:

Yes, I know the recipe says that it makes 32, and there are only 31 there. You don't think I'd post this without making sure they were right, now do you?


  1. Dear Son,
    You are now officially a Cousin Jack - expat Cornishman.

    Well done indeed. Permit a minor criticism - they look a little domed - are you sure you slammed the baking sheet down hard when they came out of the oven? It is what make them sink and form the chewy middle. Oh so what- it is the taste that makes them - your substitute for ground mixed spice sounds about right, from what I can remember of the ingredients list on the jar.

  2. I did not, because I didn't remember that. They turned out crunchy - my substitute for golden syrup doesn't have the right properties. I might be able to get some golden, though. I'll update if and when I can!

  3. On thought, you are probably right about the golden syrup substitute making a difference. When I make flapjack with maple syrup rather than golden, it turns out crisp rather than chewy. Never mind, you made a good vehicle for the spice mix.

  4. Since I've found golden, it's time for a little experiment! My next batch will be partly un-slammed, but mostly slammed, and we shall see how they come out...

  5. Is this something I should try? I think so...


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