Gingery treats are not just for Christmas! An updated version of an old-fashioned classic, this Ginger Almond Slice baked with spelt flour, lots of ginger and very little unrefined sugar is a good afternoon tea companion, especially on a rainy day.
The charm of afternoon baking and sweet treats laced with ginger
Having grown up in India where home ovens were as rare as unicorns, I didn’t know what I was missing until I moved overseas and discovered a whole new delicious world of baking treats for afternoon tea. It started out with me baking treats for after school playdates and potlucks. And it quickly became a ritual. A homemade cake or slice sitting on the kitchen bench under a tea towel or glass dome is a regular feature in our home. I love when everyone just helps themselves to a piece (or several!). I am especially fond of baked treats that have a generous amount of spice in them. Ginger is a staunch favourite.
Native to India and China, ginger was an integral part of cooking when I lived in India. The Sanskrit word for ginger is srngaveram which means body like a horn. I use a lot of ginger every day – from a crushed knob infusing in Nick’s chai to copious amounts used in curry bases and stir-fries. And I bake a lot with it. When I bake with ginger, I use crystallised ginger by Ceres Organics, organic ground ginger powder and freshly grated ginger. In fact, I use this exact combination of ginger in three different forms. The thing with ginger is that if you bake with it, you might not find the taste strong enough when you taste it just after it has baked. But leave it for a day and the flavour intensifies and takes on a whole new rich profile, deep with warmth and spice.
A very good Ginger Almond Slice
I first had a version of this slice when my lovely friend Lisa from the Cheergerm And The Silly Yak blog dropped off a delicious Ginger Almond Slice, still warm from the oven. You must know this about Lisa – she is the queen of shortbread and slices. I have adapted her recipe and given it the Cook Republic treatment with a spelt flour base, lots of more ginger and less sugar.
Because I use rapadura or coconut sugar, the slice has a lovely caramel tone and flavour to it. You could add a bit more sugar to the recipe or a dusting of icing sugar after baking, but we love the low sugar profile here. The spice of the three kinds of ginger I use is warming and comforting with a cup of tea and coffee. The almond meal and the flakes all add to the beautiful texture. The crystallised ginger bits are joyful when you bite into the slice and your teeth sink into a juicy, gingery, jelly-like piece. The slice keeps well for 4-5 days on your kitchen bench, if it lasts that long.
- 150g butter, softened
- ¾ cup (115g) rapadura or coconut sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 ½ cups (200g) spelt flour
- ¼ cup (60ml) milk of choice
- 100g almond meal
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated ginger (optional, for extra kick)
- 125 crystallized or glace ginger, chopped
- Handful of flaked almonds
- Preheat oven to 190C convection (180C fan-forced). Grease and line an 18cm X 28cm slice tin with baking paper.
- Add butter and sugar to the bowl of an electric beater. Beat for a minute until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat for another minute.
- Add the flour and milk. Beat for 30 seconds until just combined.
- Add almond meal, ground ginger, fresh grated ginger and crystallized ginger. Mix gently with a wooden/silicone spoon until the dry bits are completely incorporated in the batter.
- Spoon into the prepared tin. Spread the batter to fill the tin and smooth the top. Scatter with flaked almonds. Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 30-35 minutes until the top is golden.
- Remove and cool completely in the tin. Slice and store in an air-tight container in a cool spot of your kitchen for up to 5 days.
MORE GINGER RECIPES TO TRY
Whether you regularly whip up Michelin-worthy meals at the drop of a hat or your cooking skills are best described as “fine, ” you can always benefit from the helpful little tricks of others. Here, 14 of our friends’, families’ and coworkers’ most-used cooking tips.
There’s a time and a place to whip out that complicated coq au vin recipe you’ve been dying to try. A dinner party isn’t that time. With a new recipe, you’ll likely be chained to the kitchen the whole time, plus, when you’re trying something for the first time, there’s always the possibility that it could go horribly wrong. When cooking for a group, we always err on the side of tried-and-true crowd-pleasers.
You do hours of prep work on an intricate dish, only to be totally disappointed once you taste the terminal product. Bummer. Instead of putting in all that effort only to be disappointed, taste while you cook. That way, you’ll realize sooner that the dish isn’t tasting how you’d like it to, and you can make all kinds of last-ditch exercices to save it. This doesn’t just work for bad-to-OK meals. Tasting midway through and realizing how perfect a dash of cayenne or a squirt of lemon juice would be can take a great dinner to legendary status.
Plating pasta means tossing some onto a plate and finishing it with a nice dollop of sauce right on the middle, right ? Wrong. Here’s how to take your carbs to the next level : On the stove there should be two pans, one with pasta and one with sauce. Cook the pasta to al dente and transfer it into the sauce. Then, add a little bit of pasta water ( literally just the starchy water the pasta has been cooking in ), which will help the sauce cling to the pasta while also keeping it the right consistency. Perfection.
In the pursuit of the perfect steak, you have to be OK with your kitchen getting a little smoky. That’s because, to get the mouthwatering sear we’re all after, the meat has to be dry and the pan should be pretty damn close to smoking hot. Trust us, it’s worth a few seconds of a blaring alarm.
Most foods are ruined by too much salt. Steak is different. When it comes to seasoning your meat ( before you cook it ), more is more. Use a generous amount of coarse Kosher salt—more than you think you need. Since most cuts of steak are pretty thick, even though you’re using a lot of salt, it’s still only covering the surface.
This one isn’t too complicated. Whether you’re making avocado toast, pizza, fried rice or a burger, the addition of a fried egg on top will not hurt your feelings. Trust us.
This one seems like a no-brainer, but we’ve definitely found ourselves in a situation where we assumed we knew all of the ingredients that went into chocolate chip cookies only to find out that we had about half the required amount of brown sugar. Ugh. to avoid a mid-cooking grocery-store trip, read the recipe from front to back—carefully—before you start.
Prepping grains in mass quantities is less about taste than convenience. Rice, quinoa and even oatmeal last about a week in the fridge after being cooked. When we’re prepping any one of those, we double up our measurements and store the leftovers, which are then impossibly easy to use up throughout the week. Too tired to make dinner ? Heat up some leftover rice from the fridge and toss an egg on top ( remember ? ). Couldn’t be simpler.
So you fried up a pound of bacon for an indulgent ( read : delicious ) brunch. Great, just make sure you don’t throw out the grease in the pan. Instead, save it in the refrigerator or freezer ( it technically lasts for up to a year, but should be used sooner than that to take full advantage of its flavor ). Then, anytime you’re cooking something you typically prepare in oil, try cooking it in the bacon grease instead. You’ll never want to eat Brussels sprouts the old way again.
You’ve probably heard that whenever a dish is lacking a little something-something, the best thing to do is toss in some salt. But, we have it on good authority that salt isn’t always the answer. When you’re tasting a dish at the end and you think it needs a little oomph, often it just needs a splash of acid ( like lemon juice ) to round out the flavor.
You know the difference between a paring knife and a fillet knife, but do you know how to take care of them ? Or, more importantly, how to use them ? A set of good knives can be the difference between a stressful cooking experience and a great one. First, practice your knife skills. Look up tutorials on YouTube and practice chopping, slicing and julienne-ing. It’s amazing what you can do with your cook time when your prep time is shortened with solid knife skills. Then, once you’ve got your skills down pat, learn how to take care of your set. No one ever achieved kitchen greatness with a dull chef’s knife.
The key to tender, flavorful barbecue and roasts ? Cooking it on a low temperature for a long time. The same doesn’t go for roasting veggies. For crispy, perfectly cooked butternut squash, Brussels sprouts and more, remember the magic number : 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Any lower, and you risk pulling a pan of blah carrots out of the oven. It might seem high, but to get the nice roasted flavor, you need high heat. And while we’re on the subject, stop crowding your veggies in the pan, which will also make them soggy.
You know how just about every cookie recipe suggests that you chill your dough in the refrigerator for at least a few hours, but oftentimes you don’t listen because you just want cookies now ? ! ( Same. ) Unfortunately, this step actually does make a difference. In addition to limiting how much the dough spreads while baking, chilling your dough intensifies the flavors and produces that perfect chewy, crispy texture we know and love.
It won’t do your breath any favors, but never ( ever ) scrimp on garlic. In fact, we typically double the amount a recipe calls for. Apologies to anyone who was planning on kissing us.