BLOG: The easiest cookie recipe – yeah right!7 minutes reading
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One of the things I love about travel is finding a new little delight – preferably a tasty one – along the way. One of my favourites has been Walkers Ginger Biscuits – served with a cup of tea on Emirates Airlines. You’d think they’d be fairly easy to get your hands on, but that’s not the case.
Lockdown means no travel, and those pesky ginger biscuits with delicious bits of candied ginger have been hanging around in my thoughts. So much so, that I’ve been googling “best ginger biscuit recipe”.
As mentioned in a previous blog, the kitchen and I aren’t the best of friends, and my success in the kitchen falls well short of the standards I generally like to hold myself to. However, today was the day it was going to be different. Ina Garten won the “best ginger biscuit” search. Her YouTube video where she quickly and calmly makes the cookie dough, presses it out and pops it in the oven - seemed like a challenge even I could manage.
Not a bit of the story that follows is not the whole truth. It’s a bit of a journey, but stick with me.
Everything started well – outside of the fact that I couldn’t find candied ginger anywhere. I decided I’d replace it with “Ginger in Syrup” (which, by the way, was delicious!). I switched on the oven to preheat and prepped the trays with wax paper, measured out the dry ingredients, then got on to mixing the sugar and molasses in the Kitchen Aid. All was on track.
I was about to add the egg when I realized I hadn’t chopped the ginger that had to go in next. Sticky molasses hands started chopping sticky, syrupy ginger chunks – obviously this took quite some time. It wasn’t the biggest setback, but I should’ve anticipated what was coming.
Ginger chopped, I got back to the sugar and molasses mixture to add the egg, and the disasters started: I confidently cracked the egg on the side of the bowl (mixer on low) and in a second, half the shell was in the mixture. In trying to switch it off quickly I switched it to high speed instead. Have you ever tried to pick egg shells out of molasses and unmixed egg? As you can imagine, it took quite some time and I’m sure there were still bits of shell in the biscuits – but what’s a bit of extra crunch, right?
Egg shell (mostly) removed, all was back on track. I slowly added in the dry ingredients, but the dough just wasn’t coming together. Being a TV baking show guru, I figured a bit of hot water would do the trick. Wrong. I obviously added way too much because in a flash, it turned to goo. At this point, I went back to watching the calm, cool, sultry Ina on YouTube to check the required consistency… definitely too wet. Logical problem solving led me to thinking a bit more flour would get it right. As I picked up the jar of flour, somehow, it fell right through my hands. Yes…. Flour all over floor.
At this point you’d think I’d have given up. Reading this, you probably wish I had. But I was determined to recreate the taste of my travels, so I soldiered on. A quick vacuum and I was back to the pesky cookie dough. Sifted flour was added and although it was still too wet and beyond sticky, it would have to do. With my brand new cookie scoop, I dropped the sticky mess straight onto the trays – there was definitely not going to be any rolling of perfectly sized balls. My cookies definitely weren’t going to look good, but hopefully the taste would be spot on.
How I missed this, I have no idea, but I opened the oven only to discover I’d forgotten the ready-cooked chicken I bought earlier. I hadn’t wanted the skin to lose its crisp so hadn’t covered it. Well let me tell you, never has chicken skin been so crisp and delicious or a chicken so dry.
In went the cookies with a sigh of relief! Another 12 minutes – enough to wash the dishes – before I could relax and spend an hour with my book. 12 minutes later the cookies were still blond and soft – another 5, and another, and another before I decided I’d waited long enough. Out they came. The recipe had said 35 minutes prep, plus 12 minutes to bake. I had taken more than an hour to prep, plus another 30 to bake … It’s safe to say the results weren’t great and I wasn’t going to be sharing the spoils of my labour!
If you’ve stuck with me this far, thank you!
Why I think, after staying out of the kitchen outside of my daily, simple meals, that I too can become Nigella, Ina, or Mary Berry is quite beyond me. I’ve decided I’ll leave the baking to my very talented daughter and reminisce about my travels with photographs and memories. If you’re feeling adventurous, here’s Ina Garten's ginger cookie recipe, - Goodluck!
Have you ever tried to recreate memories through food? Or maybe you’ve got your own baking disaster to share? I’d love to hear them – maybe they’ll help re-inspire me!
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