Ben makes one of his favourite desserts - developed from a recipe by fellow journalist Annabel Crabb.
- 225 g (1½ cups) plain flour
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp ground allspice
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 125 g salted butter
- 100 g (½ cup) soft brown sugar
- 175 g (½ cup) golden syrup
- 1 tsp finely grated ginger
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- vanilla ice cream, to serve
- 220 g (1 cup) caster sugar
- 125 ml (½ cup) thick (double) cream
- 25 g butter
- 2 tbsp orange juice (or bourbon if catering for adults)
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
- For the gingernuts, sift the flour, ground ginger, allspice and cinnamon together into a mixing bowl.
- In a small heavy - based saucepan over low – medium heat, melt the butter, sugar, golden syrup and grated ginger together. When it begins to bubble, remove from the heat and sprinkle in the bicarbonate of soda: excitingly, the mixture will fizz up. Pour the foamy liquid into the dry ingredients and stir, adding the egg to bring everything together. When you have a smooth and glossy dough, leave it to cool to room temperature.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C. Line two baking trays with baking paper.
- Take teaspoonfuls of the soft dough and roll into balls with your hands, spacing them out evenly on the trays and allowing plenty of room for the biscuits to spread – six to a standard-sized baking tray is prudent. Bake each batch of gingernuts for 8–10 minutes or until dark golden - brown. Remove and cool on a wire rack, then seal in a container until you’re ready for the sandwiching.
- For the caramel sauce, put the sugar into a dry heavy - based saucepan over medium heat. Heat the sugar until it melts, swirling all you like. When the caramel is a deep golden colour, carefully pour in the cream: it will make an awful fuss, but keep stirring, at arm’s length, and it will settle down. When you have a smooth sauce, stir in the butter and juice. Leave to cool, then pour into a jar – it will keep in the fridge for a week, so you can disgrace yourself with leftovers.
- To serve; squish a good scoop of ice cream onto a gingernut and drizzle with the caramel sauce before applying its gingernut lid.
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Photography by Adam Liaw.