Sunday, 28 April 2013

  And the Challenge is Crunch!

How is it possible to be thrilled and gutted all in one go? I was overjoyed to see my lovely invention – my Lemon Cloud Cake pictured in all its blueberry creamy Limoncelloness. But pipped at the post yet again. I feel like the bridesmaid.

But now I feel compelled to answer the challenge of Crunch – ha that is despite a fractured vertebra gained after fainting from a middle ear infection and summer-salting? Is that how you spell it? And landing on the Terrazzo floor! Agony!
At six am I was downstairs waiting for the papers; then sat in my dressing gown gazing at this week’s results. But I’m a positive person. So I have to try again and meet your challenge. And ‘crunch’ sweet or savoury. The mind whirrs doesn’t it?
So yesterday I made Home-made Potato Crisps with Salted, Sweet Smoked Pimenton and yes they were gorgeous but not crunchy enough! My grandchildren ate them, loved them and I went back to the drawing board.
Ahh now the sweet.
Firstly I looked at a crunchy Granola
Made it and yes it was crunchy but a subdued crunch. Not crunchy enough!
Back to the drawing board yet again.  I wanted to achieve that ultimate Crunch thing. And so I decided to devise a brand new biscuit for the competition and something to tempt . It had to be a totally original recipe. And perfect.
I made the mixture blending new and lovely spices and soft brown sugar into its softness. The gentle dough rolled into a walnut shape and I placed it on the paper. Placed the one test button into the oven and baked it - it smelt glorious and I loved the golden round shape. I waited as it cooled and it gradually became crisper and crisper. I called my husband and waited with baited breath as he bit into it.
‘Lovely flavour,’ he said, ‘very crunchy.’
I cracked it.
I believe, I hope I have created the best, absolute crunchiest biscuit with that extra spicy hit. I have always been fascinated by the Northern European use of cardamom and allspice and added a hint with a boost of my store of cinnamon and ginger from a Marrakech souk with a zest of orange rind to cut through the sweetness. A ginger nut with attitude!
Maybe, hopefully my luscious crunchy buttons will crack it for me at last?

                 Ruth’s Ginger, Spiced Buttons with Absolute Crunch
Makes 60 generous crunchy Buttons  
225g margarine or butter
320g fair trade soft brown sugar
20g vanilla sugar
440g plain flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon mixed spice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
3 green cardamom seeds de-husked and ground with a mortar and pestle
2 teaspoons ground ginger   
pinch salt
1 free range organic egg
zest of 1 orange

For grand occasions drizzle with a little melted chocolate and decorate with a pecan half as in the photograph. 

Either, sieve the flour together with the baking powder and the spices in a large bowl and leave to one side. Cream the margarine and the sugars together until light and fluffy then add the egg. Combine with the flour to make a very soft dough.

Or if you have a processor,

Wiz all the ingredients together, apart from the egg, to make sure the sugar is lump free. Add the egg and process until a smooth very soft mixture is obtained. Scoop out of the processor and leave to chill for one hour if possible.

Preheat the oven to 180C, gas mark 4 and line at least three tins with baking parchment. Roll mixture into walnut sized balls. Leave plenty of room for the biscuits to spread. Bake for approximately 20 - 25 minutes. Leave to cool on a wire rack.

Enjoy the Crunch when cooked with masses of hot coffee and laughter.  

By the way folks

Ruth is speaking at the Jewish Museum on the 12th May
-         her subject is a very precious cake tin and its hundred year history
-         we will also be serving the cake that was traditionally cooked in that tin plus we are making special biscuits in aid of Jewish Care

-         Also The Gefiltefest festival is Sunday May 19th and all the details are on the website,
If you are in North London on either of those dates please support these events if possible

Thank you


  1. Hi, I thought I would congratulate you on winning the crunchy round! I love the Guardian cook section and was lucky enough to win the orange category but today I am going to make your biscuits and I look forward to tasting them later :)

    1. Hi Laura

      How lovely to hear from you and congratulations to you for winning the orange round.

      We adore the Cook supplement and we soo hope you like the biccies

      Please let us know

      Love and veggie hugs

      Ruth and Sarah xxx