Barker’s Fork Cookie recipe
Ronnie Barker was, without doubt, one of the UK’s funniest TV comedy actors for well over 30 years. With his partner and foil, Ronnie Corbett, he dominated the TV sketch show scene from the mid 70’s. Later as Arkwright, the stuttering, domineering shopkeeper in ‘Open All Hours’ with David Jason and as Norman Stanley Fletcher, the prisoner always trying to get one over on the warders in ‘Porridge’, he continued his domination of the genre. He died in October 2005 at the grand age of 76.
To mark his passing, here is a typically English biscuit, with a little twist. The pattern on the cookie is made by pressing down the final mix with a fork; an allusion to that wonderfully funny ‘Four Candles/ Fork Handles’ sketch he did with Ronnie Corbett. And it is, of course, a ginger biscuit; just the type of biscuit that, as Arkwright, a Yorkshireman through and through, would enjoy with his cup of tea as he dreams of Gladys Emmanuel.
So you can too!
No mixer is used, so supervised children (or grandchildren) could try this one.
Self raising flour 2 cups 8 ozs
Hard margarine, well softened 1/2 cup 4 oz
Bicarbonate of soda 1 tsp
Ground ginger 1 tsp
Sugar 1/2 cup 4 ozbr> Golden Syrup 2 tablespoons
Average yield = 30 cookies.
6 inch bowl
8 inch mixing bowl
Fill the kettle and boil it. Remove the top from your tin of golden syrup and place it loosly back again. Put the tin into the smaller bowl and fill the space outside it with the boiling water to about 2/3 of the tin’s height.
Set the oven to 375F.
Prepare three baking sheets.
Weigh the margarine into the mixing bowl.
Sift the flour, ginger and baking powder over the margarine.
Now, dig your hands in and rub the fat into the flour. As it goes you will see the flour loosing its white color and the whole ending as a colsolidated lump.
Place the bowl back on the scales and add the sugar. Rub this in and you will find the mixture goes ‘mealy’.
Get the tin of warmed syrup, the syrup will now be very runny, and add the two tablespoons of syrup to the mixture. Rub this in and the mixture will be a stiff consistency and will consolidate once more, but this time will be a bit sticky as well. Use a knife to scrape it off your fingers.
Wash your hands to remove the stickiness and dry well.
Pour out some flour in a small pile by the baking sheets. Flour your hands to prevent the mixture sticking.
Pick up walnut sized pieces of mixture and roll into a ball. Place on the baking sheets allowing about 2 inches between blobs.
Flatten the blobs with a ford, pressing first one way and then at right angles to get the distinctive pattern.
Bake for 10 minutes. Allow to cool for five minutes. Remove from the sheets and place on the cooling rack.
Now invite Arkwright over for that cup of tea!