Every year the bile-inducing pink and fluffy over-commercialised day of dictated love comes about. And unsurprisingly, due to their arguable aphrodisiac qualities, sales of oysters peak. Well as you or your date slurp these down on your Valentine’s date, think of this: oysters are related to slugs. Why not grab a few from your garden, douse them with some Tabasco with buttered bread on the side and gulp these instead – cheaper and more plentiful (this is not actually a recipe).
Something a little more acceptable as an anti-Valentine’s day recipe might be this: soft & chewy hot spiced double ginger nut cookies. They’re not red, not cloying-sweet and they’re not heart shaped. They even have a little rebellious kick to them if you choose to add the cayenne pepper, which as a spice addict, I love. But if you prefer something a little milder, leave it out. If you want to shake off a stalker add more (roughly 5x stated quantity) and deliver gift wrapped.
Makes about 35 cookies
200g unsalted butter, softened
440g self-raising flour
125g caster sugar
3 tbsp ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1/4 tsp salt
100g stem ginger (;preserved in syrup), finely chopped
2 tbsp ginger syrup (from the preserved ginger)
180g golden syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 baking tray lined with baking parchment
1.)Preheat oven to 160°C.
2.)Place butter, flour, sugar, ground ginger, bicarbonate of soda, cayenne pepper (if using) and salt in a blender and blitz until thoroughly mixed and is like damp sand.
3.) Warm chopped ginger, ginger syrup, golden syrup, treacle and vanilla extract in a pan over a low heat for a couple of minutes until the mixture becomes less viscose. Pour this into the dry ingredients and pulse until combined into a dough.
4.) Roll the dough into 3cm wide spheres and space them out on the baking trays as they will spread whilst baking.
5.) Place in preheated oven and bake for 7-10 minutes until golden and slightly crisp on outside and very soft on the inside. They should seem slightly under-baked as they will continue to cook as they cool and this will make them deliciously soft and chewy.