Sample page from the book

Gingerbread Cakes
“Take three pounds of flour, a pound of sugar, the same quantity of butter rolled in very fine, two ounces of ginger beat fine, and a large nutmeg grated; then take a pound of treacle, a quarter of a pint of cream, and make them warm together. Make up the bread stiff, roll it out, and make it up into thin cakes. Cut them out with a tea-cup or small glass, or roll them round like nuts, and bake them in a slack oven on tin plates.”

Ginger Biscuits
350g/12oz plain flour
110g/4oz sugar
110g/4oz butter
110g/4oz dark treacle
10g/½oz fresh finely minced ginger or 2 teaspoons of ground ginger
½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
55ml/2fl oz fresh single cream
Pinch of salt

Heat oven to 180°/gas mark 4 and have ready several greased baking trays.

Sift the flour, sugar and spices into a bowl. Over a low heat, melt together the butter treacle and cream. Add this to the dry ingredients and blend to make a mixture that can be rolled on a board. Flour the board and cut the mixture into small biscuit sized circles of about 3mm/¼in thick. Bake for about 10 to 15 minutes, keeping an eye on them as cooking times depend upon their thicknesses.

My old chum Jill Millard Shapiro was married to the American writer Milton Shapiro, and she tested this recipe.

 With four adult grandchildren and five permanently starving great grandchildren, I could have made these gingerbread cakes/biscuits in the large quantity as stated in the original recipe but I decided to lessen the amount proportionately. Aided by Carmen Grace the youngest, I followed the original method and cut them out with a sherry glass.  They came out of the oven more like biscuits than cakes but as the children are all gingerbread men experts there was no shortage of volunteers for the taste test. They all gave thumbs up.  The adults then tested the dunkability and demolished the rest with cups of tea. The verdict? Fun to make and good to eat – a success! An added bonus is the gorgeous smell of baked ginger in the kitchen. There were no volunteers for the washing up! 

I asked Jill how many biscuits these weights made but she’d lost count because as soon as each batch was cooked they got eaten.