2016 was seemingly all about Scandinavia. You couldn’t move for newspaper articles about how to hygge up your home with a furry throw or make cloudberry jam for your meatballs. Amongst all the candles and crayfish, one thing caught my eye – apparently, the hard, traditional ginger biscuits, much-beloved of our Viking cousins (and known as pepparkakor in Sweden) go very well with blue cheese.
Post-Christmas, we are still working our way through a boulder of Colston Bassett Stilton, plus I was also chuffed to win a wheel of Cornish Blue for my Veggie Stargazy Pie. So it’s fair to say there’s a lot of blue cheese available here for ginger thin taste-testing.
These biscuits are based on this Diana Henry recipe but I fiddled around with the spices somewhat, having had my fill of cinnamon over the festive period. Sure enough, they do go well with blue cheese especially if, like me, you secretly hog all of the Hovis biscuits in a cracker selection. I can also confirm that they dunk well in a cup of tea or coffee, should you be one of those strange types that don’t like blue cheese. The Swedes eat them with glögg, their version of mulled wine but, quite frankly, I am over mulled wine for another year.
75g soft light brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp finely ground black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp. black treacle
2-4 tbsp. milk
225g plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Cream the butter and sugar together then beat in the spices, seasoning and treacle.
Add 2 tbsp. of the milk and bit by bit add the combined flour and bicarbonate of soda. You will need to use your hands to bring it together into a ball of dough. Add a little more milk if it feels too dry. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and refrigerate for an hour.
Preheat the oven to 180c/160 fan-assisted/gas mark 4. Roll out the dough on a floured surface to 3mm thick, cut into shapes and place them on an oiled baking sheet. This quantity will make about 25 biscuits, assuming you’re not using a giant reindeer shape or somesuch.
Bake for about 12 minutes and then cool the biscuits on a wire rack. As they cool, they will turn hard. Store in an airtight container and lather with blue cheese as required.