Tuesday, March 13, 2007

March 12, 2007: Ginger drop biscuits

My paternal grandparents have spent their lives working their farm in the Lockyer Valley, west of Brisbane. While it has been a demanding and unglamourous existence for them, my family's weekend visits were a treat for a suburban kid such as I. Playing on the dormant tractors, feeding the cows old pumpkins from the back of the ute, riding a bike unsupervised on the road with my cousin, eating Cocopops for breakfast. The biggest treat of all was 'smoko': mid-morning and -afternoon breaks comprising home-made biscuits or slices, plates of pikelets with jam and cream (rosella jam, please!), pumpkin scones with plump sultanas and thick slabs of butter (Flo's own recipe, of course - we're in Joh country) or perhaps, if we were really lucky, a freshly baked chocolate cake, iced neatly on top and sides. Dinner and tea were corned beef and veges boiled and salted beyond recognition. Pasta was 'ethnic' food. My adult vegetarian diet takes almost zero inspiration from her dinners, but Grandma excelled at homely baked treats and these are what a sweeth-toothed kid will remember best.

Ginger biscuits were one of the recurring offerings at my Grandma's table. Flat, brown and chewy, they were known as 'cow pats'. It was only last year, while visiting my widowed grandmother in her unit in Town, that I finally copied down her recipe for ginger drop biscuits (so that's what the civilised folk call them!). It was a piece of yellowed newsprint in a scrapbook, probably older than my dad. I'll give you the recipe in its original form, though it won't surprise you to know that I replaced the prescribed dripping with the equivalent measure of butter. I also substituted black-strap molasses for the treacle, since it was what I had on hand. My batch rose higher and were lighter than the biscuits I recall, but the intended serving of reminiscence was just right (for me anyway - maybe you're feeling ill with sticky-sweetness by now!). After all, I've been making these for Ellie's nostalgia-themed blog event. The added bonus is a week of packing a piece of my past into a lunchbox for afternoon smoko.

Ginger drop biscuits/Cow pats
makes about 16 large biscuits

1 cup sugar
4 tablespoons dripping
2 eggs
2 tablespoons treacle
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon ginger
2 teaspoons baking powder

Beat sugar and dripping together until white, add eggs and treacle. Sift in flour, ginger and baking powder. Mix thoroughly and drop onto a greased slide. Bake in moderate oven (mine took about 10 minutes). Allow the biscuits to set before removing them from the slide.


  1. The fact that these are nicknamed cowpat cookies cracks me up beyond belief! I'm a fan of ginger flavoured sweets, so I'll give them a try :) Thanks for taking part in the Nostalgia event :)

  2. Hehe, I suspected that you might share the childish sense of humour that would appreciate such a name. :-) This event was a great excuse to re-visit a simple ol' favourite!