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My favourite roadtrip Gingernut recipe

I was throwing together a quick batch of biscuits for a picnic over the weekend and realised I’d been making this gingernut recipe for well over 30 years.  Eek! Well I don’t know how that’s possible, clearly the math doesn’t work.

It’s an awesome back pocket recipe for when you don’t have much exciting in the pantry, they also don’t melt which is a big bonus for Australian picnics and don’t drop too many crumbs which is great for cleaning the car after a road trip.

Now I know the original recipe came from a small soft cover book, one of those black and white ones with no photos.  I think it was Alison Holst but as I say that was over 30 years ago and  I don’t have the original book so I make if from my head and I apologise if it’s changed a little from the original but this version works well every time.

Now if you don’t know who Alison Holst is she’s a Kiwi icon.  She’s been on cooking shows and writing books since before I was born and she basically ‘taught’ every Kiwi of my generation how to cook with nutritious, affordable everyday recipes.  Which in turn fostered a love of local, fresh food and a bit more experimenting in the kitchen – with these old faithfuls to turn back to from time to time.

  What will I need

  • 100g butter (melted)
  • 1T golden syrup
  • 1 cup sugar (I use raw caster sugar but I don’t think it really matters)
  • 2t ground ginger
  • 1 egg
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 3/4 cups of flour

Putting it all together

  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan and stir in the golden syrup.
  2. Stir in the sugar and allow to cool a little before the next step
  3. Add one beaten egg, the baking soda, ginger and flour and stir with a wooden spoon until well mixed.
  4. Line baking sheets with baking paper
  5. Dampen hands to stop it sticking and roll the dough into balls, place on the trays
  6. Bake at 180c (or 170 fan bake) for 10-13 minutes until golden.
  7. Remove from oven and allow to cool before storing in airtight containers.


Do you love an old fashioned homemade biscuit now and again?


  • I made a batch of it the first time and fell in love with them but after making them again two more times they were not flat and crunchy but we’re rather round like little balls. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong .

    • It is strange that they worked the first time but not after. I’ve not had the issue with this recipe but in recipe development that would normally happen with either too much flour in the mix or the raising agent being too old.

  • Hi Toni, I live in Scotland and have both UK measuring cups as well as USA measuring cups as so many recipes are with USA measurements! anyhow I just want to know if your measurements are UK or USA?

    • Hi Donna, the difference is 10 mls per cup between Bristish and US measures and it will make no difference to the recipe. My measuring cups follow the UK standard of 250 ml to a cup.

  • Hello Toni – sorry for the delay in replying but your email went to Junk. Can’t imagine why! They do sell the 15ml tablespoons in Australia so that’s probably why they’re the same. The Australian Women’s Weekly uses 20ml so that’s what I use. Wouldn’t it be great if we had world-wide standards. I’m looking forward to trying your recipe. Many thanks for your help. Barbara.

  • Hello Toni – would you please let me know if your tablespoons are Australian (20ml) or NZ (15ml). I went into meltdown decades ago when Arnotts changed the recipe for their ginger nuts and I think this one looks similar so here’s hoping. Many thanks. Barbara.

    • Hi Barbara. I hope they do provide the gingernut taste and consistency you remember. I think the short answer is that either measure will be fine with this recipe. Golden syrup isn’t the easiest to measure with that level of precision. I have some really old measuring spoons from NZ I still use and some newer ceramic ones purchased here in Australia, I just tried transferring water from one to the other and I’d swear they are the same, maybe the NZ ones were imported even way back then. It’s the Australian set I use when I write up and test recipes though. To be honest with my weekly baking I go by eye a lot and even a heaped up dessert spoon has been known to do the job successfully. Happy baking!

    • Hi Leanne, they are in between, they have bite but are not crunchy. Adding a little less flour means they will be crunchy, if you do that the mix is a little more soft and sticky so to make it into balls so you will need to keep your hands slightly wet to form them and they relax a little when you set them on the tray rather than holding their ball shap.

  • Ah, wonderful! I just saw Alison Holst’s name and realised this recipe is in my old faithful “Dollars and Sense” cookbook, which I’ve had for many years and from which I always make my Hasty Hummus and Oakhill Potatoes. Yum!

    • I just looked up the book June to see if it was familiar. If it was her recipe it must have been republished from an earlier book as I was making it while I was at school, a good decade before ‘Dollars and Sense’ was released (now don’t I feel old). Those potatoes sound fabulous though, what an interesting combo.

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