Ultimate gingerbread

The best gingerbread I've ever eaten in my life is from a shop in Grasmere, in the Lake District, that I visited some years ago. They use a secret recipe which is about 150 years old and, of course, they wouldn't let me in on it, so I decided to have a go at my own... and it's not half bad – in fact, this will be some of the best gingerbread you'll ever eat! So, here we go. Don't forget, you can eat this simply as a biscuit, but it also works well sprinkled over ice cream or dipped into warm compote and cream for afternoon tea. And it's especially nice when used as a cheesecake base.

Nutritional Information (amount per serving)


Serves Makes 8-10   Approx time: 25   Difficulty: super easy


  • 400 g shortbread
  • 170 g coarse demerara sugar
  • 3 level teaspoons ground ginger
  • 40 g mixed peel, chopped
  • 40 g crystallized ginger, chopped
  • 70 g plain flour
  • 1 pinch baking powder
  • 40 g golden syrup
  • 40 g treacle
  • 70 g unsalted butter


Preheat the oven to 170ºC/325ºF/gas 3 and find a baking tray about 20x35cm. Put the shortbread, sugar and 2 teaspoons of the ground ginger in a food processor and whiz until you have crumbs. Remove 100g of the mix and keep this to one side. Add the remaining teaspoon of ginger to the processor, along with the mixed peel, crystallized ginger, flour and baking powder, and pulse until well mixed.

Melt the syrup, treacle and butter together in a saucepan big enough to hold all the ingredients. When melted, add the mixture from the food processor and stir with a wooden spoon until everything is thoroughly mixed together. Tip into the baking tray and spread out evenly. Press the mixture down into the tray, using your fingers or something flat and clean like a potato masher or a spatula. When the mix is a flat, dense and even layer, pop the tray in the preheated oven for 10 minutes.

Take the tray out of the oven and sprinkle the hot gingerbread with the reserved crumbs, pressing them down really well with a potato masher or spatula. Carefully cut into good-sized pieces with a sharp knife, and leave to cool in the tray before eating.

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