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Grasmere Ginger Shortbread

Grasemere Shortbread

Biscuits | 5th October 2015 | By

Ever since I first tasted Grasmere gingerbread, I have wanted to try and find the recipe. I find its unique texture and fieriness particularly appealing. As I don’t get up to the Lake District very often, maybe once every decade, I really want to make some myself. Sadly the recipe is a closely kept secret.

The now famous Grasmere gingerbread was originally created in 1854, by local village woman Sarah Nelson. She started selling her delicacy outside her house to locals and tourists alike and its fame soon spread. Despite a life of grinding hard work and losing all of her children, she founded a thriving business, no mean achievement for a woman of her day. More than 160 years later, the gingerbread is still made to her recipe in the very same house.

Grasmere

CT and I spent a few wonderful days near Grasmere a few years ago and somehow we just couldn’t help but walk the mile around the lake to the Grasmere Gingerbread shop and buy a pack or two to fuel us on our daily treks. 

Over the years, I’ve spotted recipes trying to emulate this most revered gingerbread, but I’ve never seen one that looked much like it. Flicking through a library copy of The Great British Bake Off Big Book of Baking by Linda Collister recently, I spotted another version. It looked as though it was worth a try, so try it out I did.

I added quite a bit more ginger to the recipe and used fine demerara sugar instead of light muscovado. The result whilst not quite the real deal, but wasn’t too far off either and was really very pleasing – well worth making again in fact. It had a good gingery flavour with a firm slightly sticky crumbly texture. On trying a piece, CT remarked “never mind Kendal mint cake, this will get you up a few mountains”.

Grasmere Gingerbread Parcel

I wrapped some up in greaseproof paper, as per the real Grasmere Gingerbread and took it as a gift to a friend I was staying with in London whilst I attended the World Chocolate Forum – more of that in a later post. I was shocked to find, my friend had never heard of Grasmere Gingerbread. She was, however, pleased with mine.

Grasmere Ginger Shortbread
Yields 16
If you like your gingerbread fiery, this is the one for you. With a firm, but crumbly and chewy texture, this isn't too different from the original Grasmere gingerbread.
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Ingredients
  1. 150g wholemeal spelt
  2. 150g plain white flour
  3. 50g fine or medium oatmeal (I used fine)
  4. 1 rounded tsp ground ginger
  5. Ā½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  6. 125g fine demerara sugar or light muscovado
  7. 125g slightly salted butter
  8. 50g crystalised ginger - chopped finely
Instructions
  1. Place all the dry ingredients into a bowl and cut in the butter.
  2. Rub between fingers until mixture resembles breadcrumbs, or pulse in a food processor.
  3. Stir in the ginger.
  4. Press all but 4 tbsp into an 8" (20cm) sq silicone mould or lined cake tin with the back of a spoon.
  5. Sprinkle over the reserved mixture.
  6. Bake at 180ā„ƒ for about 25 minutes, when the top should be golden, but not burnt.
  7. Cut the shortbread into 16 fingers whilst still warm, then leave in the mould to cool.
Adapted from The Great British Bake Off Big Book of Baking by Linda Collister
Adapted from The Great British Bake Off Big Book of Baking by Linda Collister
Tin and Thyme http://tinandthyme.uk/
 October must be the month for ginger, because this time last year I made these ginger chocolate oaty biscuits which were rather good too.

Other ginger biscuits you might like:

Comments

  1. Leave a Reply

    Emma Cooper
    5th October 2015

    Yum! Definitely going to have to try this one. Ryan has literally just brought some of the authentic version home from the Lakes – our first time trying it – so a comparison will be fresh in our minds šŸ™‚

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      5th October 2015

      Many brownie points to Ryan. I love the stuff, but haven’t had any for eight years. What did you think?

  2. Leave a Reply

    Helen at Casa Costello
    5th October 2015

    I LOVE Grasmere! And the gingerbread of course – Thank so much for sharing your recipe – Will definitely be trying to recreate memories of happy holidays. We will hopefully be visiting Grasmere on Wednesday – will think of you! Thanks for the mention of my Ginger Creams – Have shared x

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      5th October 2015

      Ooh Wednesday is not far away Helen. I am trying very hard not to be jealous.

  3. Leave a Reply

    Emily
    5th October 2015

    Ginger and shortbread? You’ve got my attention! I love making foodie gifts for friends too – the parcel looks so cute x

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      5th October 2015

      Thanks Emily. I don’t always manage it, but I try to make something when visiting friends.

  4. Leave a Reply

    Ceri
    5th October 2015

    I’ve never heard of Grasmere ginger either. Ginger is one of my favourite spices and I bet these taste fantastic!

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      5th October 2015

      It’s one of those foods that has become a bit of a cult Ceri. Well worth trying if you ever get a chance, though it’s to very paleo friendly.

  5. Leave a Reply

    Rachel
    5th October 2015

    I love gingerbread! I can’t say I’ve ever tried Grasmere Gingerbread though, it looks so pale! I definitely like the sound of it! Funnily enough I was up in the Lakes over the weekend, although I never got to Grasmere.

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      5th October 2015

      Mine looks a lot paler than the original Rachel, but it had the right sort of texture and it was delicious. Next time you’re in the Lakes, do go to Grasmere and try some.

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      5th October 2015

      Yes, I’ve always baked with wholemeal flours Becca and love the nuttiness and texture it brings.

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      5th October 2015

      If ever you go to the Lake District Judith, you really must try it – it’s iconic šŸ™‚

  6. Leave a Reply

    Katharine
    5th October 2015

    How I agree with you! I too LOVE Grasmere gingerbread and I have to admit it’s always the first thing in my mind when I suggest a trip to the lake district! I love the little shop and the smell is heavenly! I always buy lots of packets, with the aim of giving them to friends and family as presents but I have to confess that I usually eat most of it! I’ve looked for the recipe too over the years but they certainly do guard their secret well! I will definitely be trying yours though – it sounds delicious. Oh, and you can actually buy the gingerbread online now too!

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      5th October 2015

      When I was writing the post, I noticed you could buy it online, but it somehow doesn’t seem quite right. Part of the ritual is to queue up in the spice scented shop or receive a packet from a friend who has visited. I think I may have been guilty of eating most of the ones we bought back as gifts too šŸ˜‰

  7. Leave a Reply

    Dom
    5th October 2015

    i’ve never heard of this but I want some! That’s for sure! i love it when you discover something and then try and recreate it… it’s the discovery of food which is so enjoyable!

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      5th October 2015

      It’s one of those iconic foods everyone is desperate to recreate, but somehow you can’t quite do it. This is delicious in it’s own right though and does have the right sort of texture.

  8. Leave a Reply

    Kacie
    5th October 2015

    Ooh, ginger and shortbread – two of my favourite ingredients together in one recipe!

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      5th October 2015

      Haha, I’m a bit of a ginger fiend too and CT loves his shortbread, so this was a particularly good bake to make šŸ˜‰

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      5th October 2015

      Thanks Sue, I am rather wishing I had some in the house now, but it’s probably a good thing I don’t as I’m on a fast day.

  9. Leave a Reply

    Ingrid
    5th October 2015

    Great receipe. I love shortbread, this flavors are fantastic. Thanks. Have a great week. Regars Ingrid

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      6th October 2015

      Thanks Ingrid, it’s a bit different from your average shortbread, but still very good.

  10. Leave a Reply

    Phil in the Kitchen
    5th October 2015

    This sounds just right to me. I’m longing for a taste of gingerbread now. It’s many a long year since I first tried Grasmere Gingerbread but I can remember being a bit surprised by the texture. It just wasn’t what I expected from gingerbread but it’s just the perfect thing to munch on when walking or, in my case, getting lost in the Lake District.

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      6th October 2015

      Getting lost in the Lake District is part of the experience Phil; it’s no good going there without an adventure or two to tuck into your belt šŸ˜‰ Yes, the gingerbread is very different to anything else I’ve ever come across.

  11. Leave a Reply

    Alicia (foodycat)
    6th October 2015

    This looks lovely! I’ve never tried the original but I like the idea of a crumblier shortbread texture rather than a sticky cakey gingerbread!

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      6th October 2015

      This definitely isn’t cakey Alicia, but be warned, it is very moreish.

  12. Leave a Reply

    Allen
    6th October 2015

    Such wonderful recipes. Thanks! God bless you and yours. In Christ, Allen.

  13. Leave a Reply

    Vicki Montague - The Free From Fairy
    6th October 2015

    Oh good grief this looks good!!! I love ginger and crumbly, sweet gingerbread just can’t be beaten! I think I might have to have a go at making this myself…gluten-free, dairy-free and refined sugar-free! I’ll let you know if it works šŸ˜‰

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      6th October 2015

      I’m sure this would be fine Vicki if you used coconut oil instead of butter, coconut sugar or rapedura instead of sugar and GF flour. That’s how I’d make it anyway. Let me know šŸ™‚

  14. Leave a Reply

    Claire @foodiequine
    6th October 2015

    I’ve never heard of it either. Bet I come across it again somewhere this week. That’s what always seems to happen! Sounds delish.

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      6th October 2015

      Hehe Claire, you might be lucky and have a friend returning from the Lake District with the real deal šŸ™‚

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      8th October 2015

      Ooh yes Stella, I wish I’d tried one with some hot ginger tea. Will just have to make some more so I can šŸ˜‰

  15. Leave a Reply

    Kate - gluten free alchemist
    10th October 2015

    These look like they have a wonderful crumbly, short texture! The addition of the oatmeal and crystallised ginger must take them to an altogether different level!

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      11th October 2015

      They have an odd texture, a bit like the originals, so not exactly short. They are quite hard at the bottom with a crumbly bit on the top. I may not be selling it very well, but it works šŸ™‚

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      11th October 2015

      I have some of your ginger biscuits on my “must make” list CC. I’m astonished just how many different kinds there are.

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