The idea of taking an old favourite - one which conjures up memories of raiding the variety pack of biscuits - and modernising it was up my sleeve for a while until I thought of the perfect combination to recreate it and do it justice. The ginger biscuit recipe is a gem I stumbled upon, handed down from my husband’s Oupa. The stories I hear about these magical gemmerkoekies (ginger cookies) from his childhood in South Africa are equal parts warmth, grandparent adoration and sugar high.
Paired with rhubarb to cut through the sweetness, and rosemary to dabble in the land of savoury complexity, these biscuit sandwiches are a sure ticket to grown-up joy.
- 4 rhubarb stalks (cut into 2 cm pieces)
- 5 sprigs rosemary
- Olive oil
- Sea salt
- 225 g unsalted butter
- 500 g plain flour
- 330 g caster sugar
- ¾ tsp sea salt
- 1½ tsp bicarb soda
- 250 g golden syrup
- 2 tbsp ground ginger
- 1 egg
- 3 egg whites
- 140 g caster sugar
- 160 g unsalted butter, softened and cubed
- Sea salt
- 3 sprigs rosemary
- pinch caster sugar
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.
Chilling time: 20 mins
- Preheat the oven to 180C
- Place rhubarb, rosemary, and a drizzle of olive oil and caster sugar onto a baking sheet. Season lightly with sea salt. Roast for approximately 20 mins or until tender. Let cool to room temperature.
- Line as many shallow baking trays with baking paper as you have (so that you can leave them to cool for a few minutes on the hot tray and continue with your next batch. It isn’t a problem if you only have one, the process will just take a bit longer). Melt the butter in a saucepan, stirring occasionally, until it smells nutty and has frothed up. Take off the heat and let cool to at least luke-warm. Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl then make a well in the centre and pour in the wet ingredients. Mix with a wooden spoon to bring together and combine the ingredients well until you can no longer see pockets of flour.
- Roll a flat dessert spoon sized scoop (½ tbsp) into a ball and place them on the trays approximately 7 cm apart. Pop the trays in the oven for 8-10 minutes, or until they become slightly golden on the tops. With multiple trays (no more than 3) in the oven at the same time, rotate the trays halfway through cooking. Remove the trays from the oven and leave to cool until the trays are cool enough to touch and then move the cookies across to a cooling rack to cool completely. Repeating the process until you have finished all the cookie dough.
- While the cookies are cooling to room temperature, begin the buttercream. Create a bain-marie (use a saucepan small enough to hold a glass bowl above it without the bottom of the bowl touching the bottom of the saucepan). Fill the saucepan with approximately 1 cm of water in the bottom (just less than enough to touch the bottom of the bowl) and bring to a simmer. Whisk together the egg whites and the caster sugar, stirring occasionally for approximately 7 minutes. The mixture will be clear and syrupy after the sugar has dissolved. Pour this into a stand mixer (if you are using hand held beaters, just mix a few minutes longer). Beat on medium speed for approximately 8 minutes, the mixture should be cool to the touch and look like you are on track to your greatest pavlova! Drop in the butter, cube by cube, and don’t be alarmed that you’ve ruined it all, it will appear curdled but push through! Once you have added in all the butter, turn up the speed to medium-high for approximately 2 minutes until glossy.
- Finely chop the leaves of the rosemary sprigs, using the pinch of caster sugar amongst the leaves to prevent it sticking to the knife. Add to the buttercream along with a pinch of sea salt and mix on low speed to combine for 20 – 30 seconds.
- Meanwhile, mash the roasted rhubarb until a rough paste forms.
- Match up the cookies that have spread similarly and sandwich together with approximately ¾ tbsp of buttercream and a dollop of the cooled, pressed rhubarb. Repeat until all your cookies are used up and chill in the fridge for approximately 20 minutes to let them set.
• Cookie dough can be prepared 2 days in advance
• Cookies can be baked a day in advance