Thursday 29 November 2012

Ginger Kisses Revisted and Going Hobbit Mad

The Hobbit...was a capitalist - uh, catalyst - for so many other industries. ~ Prime Minister John Key, The Hobbit Premiere. 

I don't think I had ever see as many pointy ears and hobbity attire as I did walking around downtown Wellington yesterday.  To a visitor it would have seemed like New Zealand really was inhabited by Hobbits.  We have all gone Hobbit mad.  And it's been AWESOME.

Now, I'm no die hard Tolkienite but you really couldn't help getting swept up in all the Hobbit hoohar around here.  The lead up events, the gargantuan structures, the shire recreated in the middle of a bustling intersection.  Then there was the 500m red carpet.  Sure I'd watched countless red carpet cams on the E! channel but this was my very first live red carpet experience.  And it was everything one could hope for: a hundred thousand people lining the streets, celebrities in their best threads, boeing 777 fly-overs and cameras everywhere.  Absolute magic.  Yes, I was a total fangirl and I'm proud of it. 

{clockwise from top left: crowds pack out courtenay place; giant gandalf over embassy theatre; within arms reach of john rhys-davies aka gimli; elijah wood walks the red carpet; the hobbit crew on stage; debbie matenopoulos from E! news}

Now this wee recipe is a revision of a bit of a celebrity recipe of mine: the Soft Ginger Kisses.  A soft gingery cookie sandwich that would be perfect for elevensies or even second breakfasts.  The original was the culmination of years of trial and error but while some commenters raved about the recipe, others had trouble with spreading, so I set about testing out different variations and have come up with a new slightly-tweaked revised recipe, cunningly named Soft Ginger Kisses Version 2.

My original ginger kisses recipe was something I was super proud of.  My precious recipe, if you will.  It's the closest I've come to the store bought versions.   The hardest part was recreating the texture of the ginger kiss.  It's cakey without being springy.  Spongey without being airy.  Tender without being chewy. 

For the revised recipe, I tested out a whole bunch of different tweaks.  I went there and back again with this recipe, adding more baking soda, subbing in different amounts of brown sugar, using other fats: butter, shortening, in different combinations.  In the end, I came up with this version 2 recipe which creeps ever more closer to the store bought ones and dwarves the other variations I tried.

Is this the final version?  Probably not.  Don't get me wrong I am super happy with it as it is: the cookies are gingery and soft and totally nommy.   But there is always room for improvement and I would love to try and get the cookies more puffy, give them a bit more height.

But in the meantime, I'm feeling pretty Smaug about this one.

Soft Ginger Kisses Version 2

Tweaked from the original Soft Ginger Kisses recipe.

makes around 36 cookies or 18 cookie sandwiches

2 cups (280g) flour
165 g margarine (for the best results use normal margarine and not olive oil or canola oil spreads)
1/2 cup brown sugar***
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup golden syrup
2 teaspoon baking soda
1 Tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tablespoon water

***EDIT 24/12/2012 Made a big batch of these and ran out of brown sugar so just used all caster sugar and I am beginning to think maybe the all caster sugar version may be a bit cakeier? ....Gah so hard to decide which is the best mix!!***

1. Sift flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda and salt into a bowl. 

2. In another bowl, beat the margarine and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in egg.  Beat in water and golden syrup until combined.

3. Gradually beat in sifted ingredients on low speed. 
Chill the dough for around 30 mins (this is part is important!). ***EDIT 24/12/2012 I tried piping these onto the baking tray, aiming for a high cone towery shape rather than a ball (if that makes any sense?!) squeezing for approx 5 seconds and got them to go real puffy!!*** 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. 

Preheat oven to 180oC and line three baking trays.  Bake one tray at a time for 12 minutes.  Allow to cool on the tray for 2 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.  


1. I've found that if the oven temp is too low, the cookies will spread quite a bit so if your oven runs cool or if your first batch spread too thin, try upping your oven temperature a little.

2. Margarine makes a big difference.  I've tried using shortening and butter and found that margarine make the softest ginger kisses.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
100g unsalted butter
1 cup icing sugar, sifted

1/2 tsp vanilla

1. Cream butter until pale and fluffy (~2 minutes).  Add half the icing sugar, beat well till fluffy.  Add the vanilla and beat well to combine. Then add the rest of the icing sugar and beat on high until light and fluffy.

Assemble the ginger kisses:  

1. Pipe or spoon a dollop of icing into the middle of the bottom of one cookie.  Press another cookie onto the the icing and it should squish out nicely. 

2. Now this is an important part, let the ginger kisses rest over night in an airtight container (with baking paper in between each layer).   The next day, they will be soft and lovely and gingery.


  1. These look lovely and love the hobbit fever.

    1. Thanks heaps Lora!! Have since gone to a pre-screening of the Hobbit and we LOVED it!! Hype totally justified :) Hope you have a lovely Christmas xox

  2. YESSSSSS!!! I am on my way out the door to buy the necessary ingredients. Thanks to the moon and back Nessie

    Love No Drama Farmer x

    1. Hope they go well for you too!! Let me know if you like these better than the old recipe? Hope you and your whanau have a wonderful Christmas!! xox

  3. NESSIE,



    1. Hi Ernie and Terry! So lovely to hear from you again! Sending happy, hearty and healthy Christmas wishes all the way to Oregon :)

  4. First, I LOVE the name of your blog!! I feel like cooking and baking for me is all about love! :D These cookies look so light and sweet and perfect!! :)

    1. Hello Julie! Naw, thanks for your lovely message and for stopping by!! I just made a massive batch of these for Christmas dessert. Noms! Wishing you a wonderfully delicious Christmas!! :)

  5. Loved these! Absolutely perfect - thank you so much! I'm usually more the outdoorsey type girl... but when I bake something like these I wonder whether maybe I should spend rainy days inside concocting deliciousness!

  6. Can't wait to try these today. Do you mean self-raising flour or plain flour? I've been trying to find a recipe that mimics the store bought biscuits for years!

    1. I used plain flour. Remember they are softest the next day. Hope you like them!



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