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A ballad of books and bix

tumblebrown bix!

I made bikkies! I went to the library! Apparently I am four years old, because this was enough to make me twinkly-cheeked and rosy-eyed. If you are feeling at all ennui-ed, perhaps a little pallid or blue with the ongoing round of daily life, may I suggest a visit to a library and some bikkies to stir your cockles? Sure, it won’t cure your cystitis, but it’ll put a positive spin on it.

Which do you want to hear about first? The library, you say? Huh, I would have thought the biscuits, but okay, whatever. (Here’s another picture of biscuits to keep you going.)

See? Bikkies! Lovely! Keep reading.

To the library! I loved the local library when I was a kid. It was a high point of the school holidays when Mum would take me and my brother there: you had ten books for two weeks. Decadence. I usually had them all bowled over in the first few days, some a few times, and then we’d have to go back for a refill about halfway through the school holidays. This experience was repeated often enough that, in my head, library = magical free book world. So today I went to the library I haunted when I was at uni, reactivated my card and presto! Magical free books! I got a buzz akin to that which I felt as a wee tacker on school holidays — which exploded into a Festival of Wow when the dude at the library desk explained to me that, as a grownup, I was entitled to forty books at once, for up to six months! (Unless someone else puts in a request for one, in which case I have a fortnight to get it back to them.)

I am a happy little camper/clam/Vegemite. Imagine a world where you can just waltz in and borrow books and then, when you’re done, you can give them back. You don’t have to worry about finding room on your bookshelf, or packing them when you move, or anything. SPREAD THE WORD! PEOPLE MUST KNOW!

People must also know about these biscuits.

See, I told you there were bikkies.

Perhaps this was another nostalgia thing? Probably not. Date and ginger biscuits are pretty timeless. My demands: they had to be not-too-sweet, chewy, and totally loaded with ginger. Chewy Spicy Ginger Cookies? Touché, Internet. This recipe has exactly what I want, plus awesome pictures.

Only I couldn’t leave it alone. Two reasons: I lacked molasses and crystallised ginger; I wanted dates. Here’s the recipe, revised for spoonfully tastes (and reflecting gaps in my pantry as I discovered them).

Date and Ginger Chewy Bikkies

What you use:

  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger (desperately wanted more: alas for an ill-stocked spice box!)
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ⅔ cup dark brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup honey
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼c canola oil
  • 2 Tbs fresh grated ginger
  • 90g dried dates, finely chopped

What you do:

  • Turn the oven on to 180°C/350° F.
  • Whisk the honey, brown sugar and oil until it looks thick and mixed; add the egg and ginger and whisk until it’s frisky and foamy.
  • Pile the flour into the middle of the wet ingredients, make a little divot in the top, then pile in the dates, baking soda, salt and spices. Mix these into the flour in some sort of half-arsed attempt to make up for your reluctance to comply with the instruction to mix your dry ingredients in a separate bowl. C’mon, we’re not here for a washing up party.
  • When you’ve convinced yourself the flour, dates, soda, salt and spices are all properly mixed, get gung-ho and mix them into the wet ingredients waiting below.
  • Roll your biscuit dough into wee balls (you may need to dust your hands with flour), put them on a greased tray and flatten slightly. When cooking, they’ll puff up but not spread much, so if you don’t like high-dome bikkies, flatten them more. Shove ’em in and cook ’em! Mine took about 12-15 minutes.
  • Optional step before putting them in the oven: roll balls in sugiaar, or cinnamon-sugar mix, for crunchy goodness.

What you get:

You will need to provide your own whiskey and pencil.

What you will say:

“Mmmm! Mmmmfff, mmyeah, mmm. Mmm. S’good. Mmmnother, pleeff?”

What I will do slightly differently next time:

  • Crystallised ginger. The original recipe has the crystallised ginger mixed through and sprinkled on top, and frankly I think that is the best thing in the universe. Delicious.
  • More powdered ginger in the mix — not my fault, but still.
  • I overcooked some slightly. I won’t do that again. That should go without saying, but I wanted a third thing so that my “what I would do different” list didn’t contain just “add more ginger”.

I have tasty sexy delicious chewy ginger biscuits. I have library books. I am one happy, if dorky, individual.

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