Konditor & Cook
In my family, baking runs in the blood. My grandmother had a large oven on her farm, where she was able to bake 12 massive loaves of bread at once. My mother was a great home baker, and my sister eventually married the village baker – my subsequent holiday job turned into a lifetime of baking. Unknown to me for a long time, my great-great-aunt Irma was also an excellent baker. She took her baking skills to California, where she ended up working for Hollywood legend Ginger Rogers. In her autobiography, Ms Rogers mentions the wonderful cookies that Irma used to bake for her. There was quite a bit of drama in the perfomer’s life and I’m sure Irma kept her nice and sweet with her baking. Sadly, the recipe has not survived. However, I hope I have created a fantabulous recipe here, befitting a Hollywood star. Fragrant stem ginger, zesty orange and chunks of white chocolate – just the thought of these fabulous ingredients makes me feel as if I’m being spun round on the dance floor in the arms of Fred Astaire.
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Put the butter, sugar and orange zest in a mixing bowl and beat with an electric handheld beater on slow speed for 1 minute. Add the egg yolk and beat for about 30 seconds longer.
Sift in the flour and bicarbonate of soda and work everything together into a dough, using a wooden spoon. Stir in the white chocolate and the stem ginger.
Divide the dough in half, shape each piece into a rough log and cut into 12 equal pieces. Roll them into balls and chill for 1 hour.
Heat the oven to 180°C/Gas Mark 4. Grease a baking tray or line it with baking parchment and place the balls of dough on it, pressing them down slightly. Be sure to space them well apart, as
they will double in size. Bake in the top half of the oven for 9–10 minutes. The cookies should develop a golden edge but still be slightly soft in the centre. Remove from the oven and leave to cool. If you don’t want to bake all the cookies at once, you can keep the dough balls in the fridge, wrapped in cling film, for up to 5 days; alternatively, freeze them for up to 2 months.