I absolutely LOVE ginger kisses and went through a stage of buying them all the time from the supermarket. They are a baked treat that are a favourite in New Zealand and Australia and are basically two ginger 'cookies' (although the texture is more like cake) with vanilla buttercream in between. Kinda like a ginger version of the whoopie pie.
For years and years, I was obsessed with trying to make these wee gems at home. I tried dozens of recipes: some were too hard and cookie-like, others too flat and chewy, and others still too dry and springy. I tried to gingerise whoopie pies, tried recipes for crybabies and pretty much cleared out Pak'n'Save's stock of golden syrup. I even channelled Todd Wilbur and bought packets of ginger kisses to dissect and photograph and to analyse the ingredients lists. But alas THE recipe alluded me.
Then one fateful day, I found this recipe in my web trawling. The difference with this recipe was that it used margarine instead of butter. I had never baked with margarine before so intrigued, I decided to try it out and...Hallelujah! It was The One! Soft, cakey and gingery, this recipe was so similar to the bought ones that when I took them in to work, people didn't believe that I had made them at home!
C always makes fun of my quest to make ginger kisses. Why bother, when you can buy them for NZD$3.00 at the supermarket he says. Well, for starters, home baked goodies are so much better for you than mass produced baking with all it's preservatives, additives and colouring. And it's heaps fun to get to make your own. And ok, so I'm a little OCD with that sort of stuff as well; I hit on a food obsession and just can't stop until I've found solved the food mystery.
Have you ever done that? Embark on a mission to recreate a dish or some baking that you've eaten and loved?
*** Update: Have a tinkered with this recipe a little see the update here!***
Soft Ginger Kisses
makes around 36 cookies, or 18 cookie sandwiches
2 cups plain flour
1 Tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup caster sugar
1 Tbsp water
1/4 cup golden syrup
Preheat oven to 180oC and line three baking trays.
Sift flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda and salt into a bowl.
In another bowl, cream margarine and sugar. Beat in egg. Beat in water and golden syrup until combined.
Gradually beat in sifted ingredients on low speed until just mixed in. ***EDIT Chill dough for around 30 minutes in the fridge to firm up*** Shape to small walnut sized balls with two spoons by running the spoons over each other like you are making a quenelle but round. Plop the balls on to the baking tray around 4 cm apart.
Bake one tray at a time for 12 minutes. Allow to cool on the tray for 5 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.
Note: If you find they are spreading a bit too much, try raising the oven temperature a little.
enough to fill ~ 20 cookie sandwiches
50g unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
1 Tbsp milk, room temperature
Cream butter till fluffy. Add vanilla and milk and beat to mix. Add icing sugar and beat untill fluffy. Pipe a dollop on to the middle of one cookie and use the second cookie to squish the icing out to the edges.