These are some of my old recipe books, the oldest and most treasured ones. Today I am sharing a recipe that I found in the large black volume, the one with the date 1840 on the spine. It's a massive book and is filled with handwritten recipes. There is no indication of who collected and wrote them, which is a shame.
Ginger was definitely a favourite flavour in that household. Ginger biscuits, gingerbread and ginger cakes and wine feature frequently. The recipe which tempted me today is one for Gingerbread Nuts. You may be surprised at just how much ground ginger is put into the mix!
Here is the recipe exactly as it is written.
Take half a lb of treacle, half a lb of pounded white sugar, qt lb of fresh butter, one oz of ground ginger, some bruised cloves or some other spice which may be preferable, some pieces of candied lemon peel and a glass of brandy. Work a small quantity of flower into the above but not too thick. bake them in a hot oven.
Perhaps I should translate it a little.
8oz caster sugar
1oz ground ginger
1 heaped tsp ground cloves (or spice of your choice)
2oz candied peel
Glass of brandy (I used a small wineglass)
Flour - I just mixed it in until the dough felt right, approx 10oz but use your judgement.
I simply creamed the butter and sugar, added the treacle, ginger, cloves, candied peel and brandy and gave it a good stir. Then I added the flour until the mixture was suitable for rolling and cutting.
Roll out and cut with a biscuit cutter.
Bake at 180 degrees for approximately 15 minutes and then cool on a wire rack.
The taste test: Fabulous! The ginger flavour comes through in the most wonderful way although I can't really detect the cloves so perhaps I should up that ingredient a little next time.
The one ingredient which I was doubtful about was the candied peel, I'm really not a fan. How wrong I would have been to leave it out though. It really works, the heat of the ginger is occasionally punctuated by a shot of lemon.
I will definitely be making these again and again. Max reluctantly sampled one and ended up eating four. He loves them!