double ginger bites

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My loved grandparents came to visit… and there were Double Ginger Bites.

The girls came to visit for a little cake and coffee by candle light… and there were Double Ginger Bites.

A little Christmas package was sent…and there were Double Ginger Bites.

I was hungry, and dinner seemed like a terribly long way off…and there were Double Ginger Bites.

Double Ginger Bites

125 grams softened butter

1 cup brown sugar

1 beaten egg

2 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup golden syrup

4 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tps cardamom

3 cups plain flour

1 tsp bicarbonate soda

100g chopped uncrystalised ginger

Mix wet ingredients together. Mix dry ingredients together. Mix them all together. Knead it a little on a floured surface, mixing in the chopped ginger until you get a smooth dough. Let it rest in the fridge a bit until firm, then roll out dough 5mm thickness (or thicker if you prefer) and cut into rough squares and lay on lined baking tray.

Bake at 190C for approximately 15-20 minutes, or until light golden.

Ginger Chocolate Biscotti

The first time I tasted a biscotti I thought it was a really stale biscuit. I kept going with it though, gnawing at the hard little morsel like a terrier with a bone until it was all gone. I was a guest and would never say no to anything I was given to eat in someone elses house. Looking around me, while gently massaging my poor gums, and discretely dusting all the crumbs that lay on my chest I realised that everyone else was dunking their biscuits in to either a coffee or little glass of sweet wine.

Ah… I tried again, reaching for another hard biscotti. If nothing else, my back teeth would a get a good work out. Dunk, dunk, dunk…a tentative nibble. Ohhh, now that’s the ticket!

Why didn’t some one tell me before?

Now for these little biscotti, there has been a varied trail of evolution behind them. The first batch tasted too plain, it lacked depth of flavours. The consistency was fine but the taste wasn’t grabbing me. Next batch, added green ginger wine and changed the sugar to a darker one. Much better in flavour, but did I need the chocolate?  Third batch, chocolate gets ditched, green ginger wine and dark sugar stay. I think the winning combination. However if you do want to give them a try, tweak them to your own taste buds.

The great thing about biscotti is that they are really versatile with their flavour combinations.

Ginger Chocolate Biscotti

2 eggs

3/4 cup brown sugar (if you can get a dark unrefined one, it gives more depth to the flavour. eg. Muscavado or dark molasses sugar)

1 tps vanilla essence

2 tbls green ginger wine

1/3 cup chopped uncrystallized dried ginger

1/3 dark chocolate chips (optional)

1 1 /3 cup plain flour

1/3 cup s/r flour

Mix all the ingredients together, and give a quick knead on lightly floured surface. Divide mixture in to two and roll out, approximately 1.5 inches wide. Pop in the oven at 180C for about 30 minutes. Take out and carefully slice on the diagonal with a serrated knife (bread knife). Lay biscotti down and back in to the oven for a further 10-15minutes at 160C either sides.

These little biscotti are good dunked into an espresso or a little dessert wine, (and if not, then prepare your back teeth).

Also an easy Christmas gift.

(top picture without chocolate, bottom with.)

wrap it a little differently

I really like thinking of new ways to give presents to people. I’ve always thought it was a bit funny the idea of buying gift paper, wrapping a present and then watching it being ripped to shreds by the recipient. Not that I don’t like giving presents, I do. Actually I love it. However, if it’s expensive beautiful paper it seems like such a waste and if it’s cheap, well it’s still a waste. I’ve mentioned before using chocolate wrappers which if you go through the quantity that our household does certainly puts it to good use.

Christmas is still a little while away, but if you like these wrapping ideas they may take a little while longer to accumulate.

1/ Old maps make perfect wrapping paper. They are square and flat. Easily bought in second hand shops where they are quite often sold very cheaply as areas change. Places get outdated easily. Looks funky too, well I think it does. Add a ribbon or some wool, tying it up and gift is ready.

2/ Old movie or music posters. Quite often sold in music stores cheaply as they were advertising a band or album that was coming out. For the music or movie  fan this can make an exciting present….(well the wrapping of it anyway.)

3/ Turn your head slightly on the side and look at your food packaging slightly different. Bulk rice bought in a bag can be a wonderful way to present a gift. Linen sack of oats, beans, coffee can all be done the same way. Just have  a look around. This one is a zippered 5 kilo bag of basmati rice.

4/ Second hand stores are usually brimming with baskets of varying sizes. Save wrapping a present altogether and present it in a basket.

5/ Use retro fabrics, easily picked up in second hand places, (or auctions). Hold the fabric together using ribbons or wool.

6/ Use simple brown wrapping paper that hasn’t used dyes and decorate it yourself. Draw your kids hands all over it and get them to decorate it. Paint some flowers all over it. Or write little messages all over.

So many possibilities.