Scottish Gingernuts

A Scottish recipe for gingernut cookies with a twist
This recipe for Scottish gingernuts is reputed to be from the north of Scotland, Inverness in fact. Inverness is on the East coast of Scotland, at the north east end of the Great Glen, effectively the eastern gateway from the Grampians into what many regard as the ‘real Highlands’.
It is an ideal recipe to bake on a dull, damp winter’s afternoon when you are trapped indoors. The rich smells that come from the kitchen as the molasses, ginger and spices are cooking are just the sort of warming sensation you need.
This recipe makes about a 15 to 18 large Scottish gingernut cookies.

All purpose flour

8 oz

Ground ginger

2 tsp

Mixed spice

1 tsp

Fine oatmeal

3 oz

Caster sugar

3 oz

Bicarbonate of soda

1/2 tsp

Unsulfured molasses

6 oz

Unsalted Butter

2 oz

If you cannot get fine oatmeal (it’s not always easy to find), then get medium oatmeal and use your finest meshed sieve to separate out the coarse grains. Keep them to use when rolling out if you wish.

Small pan
Knife for mixing
2 1/2″ cookie cutters
Two or three non-stick heavyweight baking sheets
Flat knife to lift cookies
Put on a kettle of water to boil.
Set the oven to warm up to 325F, Gas Mk 3.
Take the top of the molasses and put it in a medium bowl. Fill the bowl with the hot water from the kettle, about half way up the container. This will make it runny for measuring later.
If you do not have non stick baking sheets then butter/ grease the ones you are using.
Put the flour, ginger, spice and oatmeal in a large bowl and mix thoroughly and gently by hand until fully mixed.
Put the molasses and butter (cut into 1/2″ cubes) into the small pan and warm very gently on the stove top. As soon as you can stir the mixture to get the warmth to the butter. When the butter is half melted, remove the pan from the heat and continue stirring. You want the butter to be just melted, but the mixture barely warm.
Pour the molassses and butter into the flour mixture. Using the knife in a cutting motion, mix them together. Once most of the flour is getting absorbed, and the mixture is not longer sticky, get in with your hands and knead the dough for a few minutes.
Flour a work surface for rolling. Take half of the mixture, knead it gently in your hands for a minute or two. This will get it to stick together just enough for rolling.
Roll it out to 1/4″ thick. Do not turn the dough over as you roll it or the flour underneath will discolour your dark gingernuts.
Cut out the cookies with the cutter and place them on the oiled/ greased sheets. You can put them close together as, being a dry mixture, they spread very little.
Knead the offcuts with half the remaining mixture to disperse the rolling flour, which may otherwise discolour your cookes, and repeat. Finally knead in the last of the mixture with the remaining offcuts.
Prick all the cut cookies several times with a fork. Place in the oven. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until turning a little browner round the edges. Don’t let them burn, or you will loose the spice flavors.
Allow to cool on the sheets for two to five minutes. Then use the flat knife to slide your Scottish gingernuts onto a rack to finish cooling.

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