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Grasmere Ginger Shortbread – A Fiery, Crumbly, Chewy Delight

Grasmere Ginger 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. This version, Grasmere ginger shortbread, is the closest I’ve come to it.

Grasmere Gingerbread

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, Sarah 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. 

Grasmere Ginger Shortbread

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, Grasmere ginger shortbread. 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, wasn’t too far off either and it 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 Ginger Shortbread aka Grasmere Gingerbread

I wrapped some of my Grasmere ginger shortbread 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. The reason for my visit was the World Chocolate Forum, but 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.

October must be the month for ginger, because this time last year I made these ginger chocolate oaty biscuits which were rather good too.

Grasmere Ginger Shortbread – The Recipe

4.25 from 8 votes
Grasmere Ginger Shortbread
Grasmere Ginger Shortbread
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
40 mins
 
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.
Course: Afternoon Tea
Cuisine: British
Keywords: biscuits, cookies, easy, ginger, Grasemere gingerbread, shortbread
Servings: 16 slices
Author: Choclette
Ingredients
  • 150 g wholemeal spelt
  • 150 g plain white flour
  • 50 g fine or medium oatmeal I used fine
  • 1 rounded tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 125 g fine demerara sugar or light muscovado
  • 125 g slightly salted butter
  • 50 g 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 crystallised 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 180℃ 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.
Recipe Notes

Adapted from The Great British Bake Off Big Book of Baking by Linda Collister

Other ginger biscuits you might like:

Keep in Touch

If you make this Grasmere ginger shortbread, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below or via social media. A photo is always good too. For more delicious and nutritious recipes, follow me on TwitterFacebook, Instagram or Pinterest.

Grasmere Ginger Shortbread. PIN IT.

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44 Comments

  1. Emma Cooper

    5th October 2015 at 12:02 pm

    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 🙂

    Reply
    • Choclette

      5th October 2015 at 8:41 pm

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

      Reply
  2. Helen at Casa Costello

    5th October 2015 at 12:10 pm

    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

    Reply
    • Choclette

      5th October 2015 at 8:41 pm

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

      Reply
  3. Emily

    5th October 2015 at 12:40 pm

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

    Reply
    • Choclette

      5th October 2015 at 8:42 pm

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

      Reply
  4. Ceri

    5th October 2015 at 1:05 pm

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

    Reply
    • Choclette

      5th October 2015 at 8:44 pm

      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.

      Reply
  5. Rachel

    5th October 2015 at 1:51 pm

    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.

    Reply
    • Choclette

      5th October 2015 at 8:45 pm

      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.

      Reply
  6. Becca @ Amuse Your Bouche

    5th October 2015 at 3:05 pm

    This sounds lovely, I love gingerbread made with wholewheat flour, so much more texture. Never tried it with ginger though!

    Reply
    • Choclette

      5th October 2015 at 8:45 pm

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

      Reply
  7. Judith (Mostly About Chocolate Blog)

    5th October 2015 at 3:59 pm

    Shamefully I have to admit I have never heard of it before this post! It does look like an absolutely amazing recipe though and one well worth trying!

    Reply
    • Choclette

      5th October 2015 at 8:46 pm

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

      Reply
  8. Katharine

    5th October 2015 at 4:20 pm

    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!

    Reply
    • Choclette

      5th October 2015 at 8:49 pm

      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 😉

      Reply
  9. Dom

    5th October 2015 at 6:36 pm

    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!

    Reply
    • Choclette

      5th October 2015 at 8:50 pm

      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.

      Reply
  10. Kacie

    5th October 2015 at 6:38 pm

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

    Reply
    • Choclette

      5th October 2015 at 8:52 pm

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

      Reply
  11. sue|theviewfromgreatisland

    5th October 2015 at 6:54 pm

    I’m a huge shortbread lover, and I can’t wait to try this, the flavors sound so deep and rich!

    Reply
    • Choclette

      5th October 2015 at 8:53 pm

      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.

      Reply
  12. Ingrid

    5th October 2015 at 10:18 pm

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

    Reply
    • Choclette

      6th October 2015 at 8:22 pm

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

      Reply
  13. Phil in the Kitchen

    5th October 2015 at 11:00 pm

    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.

    Reply
    • Choclette

      6th October 2015 at 8:24 pm

      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 😉 Yes, the gingerbread is very different to anything else I’ve ever come across.

      Reply
  14. Alicia (foodycat)

    6th October 2015 at 3:07 am

    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!

    Reply
    • Choclette

      6th October 2015 at 8:26 pm

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

      Reply
  15. Allen

    6th October 2015 at 9:08 am

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

    Reply
  16. Vicki Montague - The Free From Fairy

    6th October 2015 at 12:58 pm

    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 😉

    Reply
    • Choclette

      6th October 2015 at 8:29 pm

      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 🙂

      Reply
  17. Claire @foodiequine

    6th October 2015 at 7:16 pm

    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.

    Reply
    • Choclette

      6th October 2015 at 8:32 pm

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

      Reply
  18. Stella @ Stellicious Life

    8th October 2015 at 10:28 am

    Mmm these would wonderfully go with a cup of hot (ginger) tea in the fall! 🙂

    Reply
    • Choclette

      8th October 2015 at 2:51 pm

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

      Reply
  19. Kate - gluten free alchemist

    10th October 2015 at 11:45 pm

    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!

    Reply
    • Choclette

      11th October 2015 at 10:23 am

      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 🙂

      Reply
  20. the caked crusader

    11th October 2015 at 10:50 am

    Looks an amazing texture. I’m always keen to try new and different forms of gingerbread!

    Reply
    • Choclette

      11th October 2015 at 1:06 pm

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

      Reply
  21. Corina Blum

    6th March 2019 at 12:25 pm

    I don’t think I’ve ever tried ginger shortbread but what a brilliant idea! It must have a great fiery kick!

    Reply
    • Choclette

      6th March 2019 at 3:23 pm

      If ever you’re up in the Lake District, you absolutely must go to Grasmere and get some of their shortbread. It’s really unusual and you’d love it Corina.

      Reply
  22. Chewy

    11th March 2019 at 7:02 pm

    The recipe’s good, but not close enough to the real thing. The ones you get from Grasmere Gingerbread are a bit more fiery in ginger spice, and more gooey in the middle, which suggest that more that 1 rounded tsp of ginger is required. Also, I suspect there might be some honey or maple syrup required to get that gooey centre. I’m going to keep trying, thanks for posting this, I suspect I’ll be tweaking this recipe till I get closer to the real thing.

    Reply
    • Choclette

      11th March 2019 at 8:09 pm

      Thanks for trying the recipe and the feedback. Do let me know if you get something that’s closer to the real thing. It’s been a long time since I tried it now, but I don’t remember a gooey centre.

      Reply

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