I teach my first-year module at 9am on Tuesdays and by this stage in the semester the students are looking pretty bleary eyed and unwilling to engage their brains when we meet. I'd love to tell them that I feel the same after waking up at 6 to get there to teach them, but instead I negotiated with them last week that if they came to this week's workshop ready to participate I would bake them some biscuits. This could otherwise be seen as bribery but I've decided that it's not. No reasons - it's just not, ok?
I don't know what drew me to ginger biscuits - I think perhaps it was the success of the gingery choc chip cookies a few weeks ago. I have discovered that crisp biscuits survive their journey to Oxford by bike and train much better than soft ones (which manage to weld together no matter how carefully I pack them). Cupcakes and muffins are a no no because they take up too much space to carry, and anything decorated will arrive looking less than edifying. So crunchy ginger biscuits it was. I found an interesting-looking recipe on Book the Cook's blog - interesting because it included ground ginger, stem ginger, AND the syrup from a stem ginger jar. It also contains oats and golden syrup which make all biscuits immediately more enticing (to me anyway!). Not content with the triple ginger presence, I also grated some crystallised ginger on to the top for a bit more tang and sparkle. You see Sugar High Friday this month has 'All that glitters' as its theme, and I thought I would give a little crystallised glitter to my biscuits.
I can't say that the biscuits sparkled my students to new levels of insight and interaction but I think they did appreciate them. I said that it was their chance to mark my efforts instead of the other way round but they didn't take as much advantage of the opportunity as I thought they might. They were probably all too sleepy/hungover/insert other student stereotype here.
Gingered ginger biscuits with ginger (based on Book the Cook)
Makes approximately 20
125g self-raising flour
2 tsps ground ginger
4 chunks of crystallised ginger, finely diced [the original uses 4 stem gingers]
3 tbsp syrup from a jar of stem ginger
50g oats [I used half oats and half millet flakes]
50g dark muscovado sugar
75g butter or margarine
More crystallised ginger for grating
1 - Preheat the oven to Gas 5, 190 degrees C.
2 - In a large bowl, sift in the flour and ground ginger. Mix in the oats, sugar and crystallised gingers, then add the butter and rub until it resembles large breadcrumbs. If it is a little dry, add more butter.
3 - Finally, add the syrup and combine thoroughly. You should be left with a semi-soft dough.
4 - Roll out onto a floured surface about 1cm thick, and cut out your shapes. Place onto a buttered baking sheet and grate some more crystallised ginger over the top. Place onto a high shelf. Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown. Leave to cool on a wire rack. Apply to students and wait for insightful participation.