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Karina Chronicles

Slice of Heaven

Today’s guest post comes from Laura Vincent of Hungry and Frozen. She’s a Wellington food blogger, cafe reviewer, sometime foodwriter, and general Food Pervert. She loves to cook and eat and feed her loved ones. Her favorite foods include Brunch, Ice cream, Cornbread, Butter, Food at family parties and Christmas leftovers. Be sure to check out her upcoming cookbook and be friends on facebook and twitter

When left to my own devices of a weekend I tend to start baking without even thinking. Ginger Crunch or Ginger Slice or even Ginger Crunch Slice if you want to be equal-opportunistic, is something of an example of traditional New Zealand baking and for some reason it has been top of my to-do list for a while…I guess since I last baked something. Sometimes I can be thinking about baking something but also excitedly anticipate the next thing I’ll bake after that – special, huh.

Google Ginger Crunch and you will be met with roughly the same recipe from all the usual reliable channels – Edmonds Cookbook, Alison Holst, Chelsea Sugar (who I am deeply suspicious of now that they’ve released chocolate-flavoured icing sugar – I hate the term ‘nanny state’ but that’s what, of all things, sprang to mind when I saw it on shelves) etc etc. I can now say with confident confidence, that the Ginger Slice I made yesterday improves greatly upon anything you will find on Google. I say ‘improves’ not ‘is vastly superior and practically perfect in every way’ because in all fairness, I simply added a few crucial elements to the various traditional recipes floating round everywhere and would not have come up with it in the first place were it not for what has been set in place by Edmonds et al.

Ginger Crunch Slice
Base:
250g soft butter
1/2 cup dark muscovado sugar (or brown sugar)
2 teaspoons ginger
1/2 cup rolled oats
2 tablespoons bran (optional, I just happened to have some in the cupboard)
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder

Set the oven to 180 C. Grab a regular sized square or rectangular brownie/slice tin – you know the kind I’m talking about – and tip in the rolled oats. Put this tin in the oven for a couple of minutes while the oven is heating till the oats are nicely toasted but absolutely not burnt.

Using a wooden spoon or spatula or some other kind of utensil that takes your fancy, beat the butter and sugar together till light and creamy. Muscovado sugar is a little dense and crumbly so fear not if some of the sugar remains in lumps. As I said, brown sugar is fine too, and is what I generally use if I see muscovado sugar asked for in a recipe. But muscovado was cheap at the local supermarket…

Tip in the toasted oats (putting a sheet of baking paper into the now-empty brownie tin), bran, flour, ginger and baking powder. Stir together carefully till it looks like biscuit dough, soft and clumpy. Tip this mixture into the brownie tray, pressing down with the back of a spoon. Bake for 15-20 minutes till nicely golden on top.

Icing
100g butter
3 heaped tablespoons golden syrup
2-3 teaspoons ground ginger
2 1/2 cups icing sugar

This is one of the simplest and loveliest icings you can make. While the base is baking, gently melt together the butter, golden syrup and ginger in a small pan over a low heat. Once it comes together in a golden spicy puddle, remove from heat and stir in the icing sugar. As soon as the base is cooked, pour the icing over it, still warm and smooth out if necessary. Refrigerate for 1/2 an hour or so before slicing into fingers.

I lined this photo up all carefully on the benchtop and then realised that I couldn’t see into the viewfinder and that the icing was moving faster than I could take photos and this is why you see the icing being poured from a mysteriously hovering vessel with no-one apparently holding on to it. But the price is right.

Ah, the cutesy things we do with our food for the sake of our food blogs.

Anyway: this stuff is quite ridiculously amazing. Adjectives fail me.

 


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