Everyone has the one baked ‘goodie’ that they always search for when they go out. The one item they can’t walk past and say no to. That one thing for me is ginger crunch. I have to try as soon as I see it on display. It’s something I can’t control, it happens, I accept it. The world keeps turning.
So far the best ginger crunch I’ve had is from a cafe called The Lotus Heart on St Asaph Street in Christchurch. It’s one massive slice of delicious, spicy ginger goodness with enough pistachios to satisfy any craving. I would highly recommend it if you live in, or are visiting, Christchurch. The other amazing thing about it is, it’s only $4.50. I have never seen ginger slice so cheap, so large, and so delicious at any other cafe.
With the slice fresh in my mind I really, really wanted to bake it myself. It didn’t come close but it was still exceptional. It’s different from The Lotus Heart but in a great way. It’s crunchy, buttery and melts in your mouth – basically a perfect shortbread. Topped with a thin layer of ginger icing and pistachios for good measure I created a typical cafe slice (although it really is a lot better than most; I’m still dreaming of the original slice that started it all *sigh*) fit for mass consumption!
There are a few things I would love to experiment with. Firstly, brown sugar in the base instead of white. I think a half teaspoon of mixed spice would also be wonderful thrown into the base. Maple syrup would make a delicious substitute for golden and if you’re into crystallised ginger, chop some up and chuck it on top with your pistachios.
Or just go to The Lotus Heart, maybe I should see if they will give me their recipe….
Inspired by David Lebovitz
- 125g unsalted butter, room temperature (it should be very soft)
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 1/2 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground dried ginger
- 75g butter, salted or unsalted
- 2 tablespoons golden syrup
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground dried ginger
- 1/2 cup roughly chopped pistachio nuts
Preheat the oven to 190ºC. Line a 20cm square tin, or for a thinner base a 20 x 30cm rectangle tin.
Cream the butter and sugar until very light and fluffy. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and 1 1/2 teaspoons ginger.
Mix the dry ingredients into the creamed butter mixture until it resembles coarse bread crumbs. It should hold together as a dough when pressed together.
Tip into the prepared pan and press firmly and evenly with the back of a spoon (wet with hot water if the dough is sticking slightly). Then bake the base for 20 minutes, until it’s light golden brown.
Five minutes before the dough is done, making the icing by heating the butter and golden syrup in a small pan, then mix in the powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon ginger, stirring until smooth.
When you take the pan out of the oven, pour the warm icing over the cookie base and spread evenly if needed. Let sit for about 20 to 30 minutes, then remove from the pan and slice while still slightly warm.