It seems like an age since I made Ginger Crunch. Another old-fashioned childhood slice, reminiscent of cake stalls, school fetes and fund raising drives. Utterly addictive, this very simple slice combines a short, crisp and crunchy (almost shattering) biscuit base covered with a thin layer of tooth-achingly sweet yet spicy ginger topping.
Alas this much loved slice owes its roots not to Australia but our Kiwi cousins. Another stalwart of the New Zealand recipe bible The Edmonds Cookbook – along with two of my other favourite no nonsense bakes- Louise Slice and Afghan Biscuits.
What’s wonderful about each of these recipes is that they are incredibly easy and straightforward to make. No fancy ingredients, no complicated processes. As I’m partial to a spicy kick – I’ve added crystallised ginger to my base and a quick grating of fresh ginger to the topping. These spur of the moment additions intensify the heat and are a lovely counterbalance to the sweetness of the topping. Of course the original recipe uses only ground ginger, no doubt reflecting the staples of a well stocked nineteenth century pantry. It’s important that the topping is added to the base while hot to achieve a glossy finish. And rest assured the ratio of topping to biscuit crumb is perfect – rich, sweet and tangy a little really does go a long, long way.
Makes 20 squares
175g butter, softened
3/4 cup caster sugar
2 cups plain flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 tablespoons crystallised ginger, finely chopped
1/4 cup golden syrup
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
4 teaspoons ground ginger
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely grated
PREHEAT oven to 180 C. Grease and line a 20cm x 30cm slice or lamington tin with baking paper.
CREAM butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in flour, baking powder, ground and crystallised ginger.
PRESS crumbly biscuit dough mixture evenly into prepared tin.
BAKE for 20-25 minutes until mixture is golden and firm to touch.
MEANWHILE prepare topping. Heat butter, golden syrup, icing sugar and ground ginger in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk constantly until butter has melted and mixture is smooth. Bring to the boil then remove immediately from heat. Stir in fresh ginger.
POUR hot ginger topping over hot slice base. Tilt tin to ensure topping spreads in an even layer over the base. Set aside to cool before cutting into squares.
STORE in an airtight container, in the refrigerator is best as the topping can become a little tacky in humid weather.