Over the weekend I was invited by Catherine to attend her Eurovision Final party, which was very kind of her and terribly exciting for a variety of reasons, least of all the chance to finally sample the glory that is a Cross-Dressing Ken Cake in person (spoiler: it was DELICIOUS).
To throw myself into the spirit of the occasion, I felt that to make something in homage to the host nation of this year’s Eurovision would be appropriate. Having had the good sense to bring back an English language Swedish cookbook from Stockholm when I visited back in 2010, upon perusal I quickly came on the side of desserts, and from there to the idea of ginger snap biscuits. These thin, crispy biscuits are made by the armful load around Christmas in Sweden and are often given as gifts. They’re perfect to have with a cup of tea!
From Simply Swedish by Margareta Schildt-Landgren.
- 150g butter
- 200ml white sugar
- 150g light syrup (light syrup is apparently a Swedish thing – upon consultation with the internet it seemed that golden syrup was the best antipodean substitute, so substitute I did)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon bicarb soda
- 1 egg
- 800g plain flour (I know, this sounds like a lot of flour, but you will probably not end up using anywhere near this much)
1. Melt the butter, sugar and golden syrup in a saucepan until silky.
2. Pour the golden sugary buttery goodness into a bowl and add all the spices, the bicarb and the egg, and combine (you can whiz all these in a food processor if you’re time poor). Work in the flour until you have a sticky dough. If you don’t use all the flour, don’t fret – I had probably close to a third of the original 800g left once I hit the sticky dough stage, and the biscuits still turned out great.
3. Here is where the original recipe said “leave to stand cold overnight.” Do not assume what I assumed, which was “ahh, pop it in the fridge.” DON’T PUT IT IN THE FRIDGE. Lest you want to spend the first few hours of the following day with your dough bowl clasped between your thighs in a desperate attempt to bring the dough back to room temperature so it’s actually workable and not a potential murder weapon. Instead pop it in a cool spot with a teatowel over the top of the bowl.
4. Preheat oven to 200C. Roll out the dough on a floured surface as thin as you can get it, and cut out figures. Apparently the traditional Swedish shapes for these biscuits are hearts, stars and goats (…seems legit). I didn’t have a goat cookie cutter, but I did have a moose one, which I actually bought in Sweden.
5. Place the biscuits on trays lined with baking paper. Now, the recommended baking time was 5-7 minutes with a warning that they burn easily, but I found with mine any longer than 4 minutes turned them into very brown mooses indeed. You’ll have to experiment depending on the thickness of your snaps.
6. Allow to cool on a rack.
My first batch came out looking quite nice indeed. But… they just weren’t quite EUROVISION enough.
So for the rest I threw edible glitter all over them before baking.
Much more Eurovision.
If you manage to get the biscuit dough very thin, this will yield a TON of biscuits. While I don’t think I reached the original recipe’s promise of two hundred, a very sizable herd of moose was achieved indeed. Plenty to soothe the sorrows of Europe once again passing over the clearly most Eurovision of entries, in this case Romania’s dark lord of operatic madness.