A grandmother is a little bit parent,
a little bit teacher,
and a little bit best friend.
I have been blessed to have grown up, and grown older, with two amazing women as my grandmothers. Now both of them are gone, although I feel them around me often, and I frequently draw on their wisdom and the things they taught me.
Marga, my mother’s mum, was the doyenne of style in our family. A stay-at-home mother and grandmother from a good family, we often referred to her home as ‘the Palace’. As a cook she was adventurous, passionate and into World Food long before exploring cuisine from other countries came into vogue. She was an amazing cook, and from that old-school tradition of elegant tables, dressing for dinner, candles and music.
Joycey or ‘Nana’, my dad’s mum was an entirely different grandmother. She worked for much of her life, travelled extensively and was into plain home-style cooking.
Marga would serve an exotic Chicken Marengo, and Almond Torte with Praline and Coffee Cream, accompanied by Flamenco music. Nana would cook Apricot Chicken and Apple Crumble with store-bought ice-cream, served up to the six o’clock news.
So who did I turn to for inspiration last weekend at the farm, when my husband announced that he’d invited friends to ‘pop round for dinner’?
It was Sunday morning when he mentioned it, and I was feeling less than my best. Dinner needed to be easy, and made from what I had in the cupboard. I managed lamb chops, home-made coleslaw and sweet potato mash for a main, but I was racking my head for a dessert. Until I spied a lonely packet of gingernut biscuits at the back of the pantry. It inspired me to make Nana’s Gingernut Roll. It was one of her ‘fancy’ recipes, that she taught me when I was about twelve. It’s easy enough for kids to master, but it’s a recipe that is enjoyed by everyone. Here’s how to make it:
1 x 300ml bottle of cream (just over a cup), 1 x tablespoon of honey, 1 x packet of gingernut biscuits (ginger snaps for my American friends), 1/2 cup of fresh orange juice and 1/2 cup of sweet sherry (if making alcohol free use 1 cup of orange juice!)
There’s no cooking here – it’s a dessert that you assemble!
Firstly find a serving plate long enough to accommodate your packet of biscuits and then some.
Whip your cream, adding in the tablespoon of honey. When it is nice and thick, use a little to make a strip down the centre of your your serving plate. This will help anchor your biscuits.
Pour your orange juice and sherry into a wide shallow bowl. Working methodically, drop a biscuit into the bowl and allow it to soak for a moment or two. Fish it out, and drop the next biscuit in to soak as you smear a spoonful of cream on the first biscuit and place it in position at the edge of your cream strip.
Now keep going! Dunk, spread and stick in place. *Repeat*…
When you’re done, cover the entire assemblage in the remaining cream, smooth off and refrigerate for several hours so that the biscuits can soften and the flavours will amalgamate.
To serve the log you can dress it up with some shaved chocolate or toasted almonds, but I went for decadence and topped it off with home-made slightly salty caramel sauce. Yum! Oh, and I suppose I should give you that recipe too…
Easy Caramel Sauce:
3/4 cup butter, 1 and 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar, 2 x tablespoons water, 1 x teaspoon vanilla, 1/2 to 1 cup of cream.
Put the sugar, water and butter in a saucepan over low heat and dissolve all together, stirring constantly. Then raise the heat and bubble away for three to five minutes to reduce the sauce a little. Please do stir during this time so it doesn’t catch on the bottom!
Take off the heat and add in the half cup of cream, stirring constantly. This sauce will thicken more upon cooling, so check your consistency. Do you want it runnier? If so, add more cream. Finally give it a good grind of salt. Or not, if you don’t like the whole salted caramel thing.
This sauce is magic over ice-cream, poached pears or just about anything else you can imagine.
Cool the sauce to luke-warm before pouring some over your gingernut roll or you will melt all your whipped cream. If you wanted to be totally over the top you could add grated chocolate, toasted nuts or crushed up praline on top of the caramel sauce. As you can see, I didn’t quite go to that extreme.
Serve with a good ice-cream or on its own.
Hint: I know this is a simple offering, but boy is it good. Just remember to dunk your biscuits long enough that they are properly moistened so you don’t get hard lumps of dry biscuit in your dessert!
44 thoughts on “Nana’s Gingernut Log Recipe”
I’ve only had this once, 10 years ago when my sister-in-law first made it and all I can remember is how delicious it was. Determined to make it this year, but I’ve now moved to Sweden and alas, I can’t get the packet of Arnotts ginger nut biscuits. I am stuck between a choice of a really thin, really crispy gingerbread about 2mm thick, or a much softer gingerbread which is about 1.5cm thick. I fear the thin ones would be too thin, and would be too much cream to sandwich them with and not sure how they would soften. But on the other hand, haven’t tried the thick soft gingerbread, so not sure how soft it is, but assuming it would be the better one to go with despite it going to get softer in the fridge… what do you think? 🙂 That, or try and make my own thick crispy ones! Decisions, decisions, but I’m determined to have it on the table after I was so disappointed last year when I thought someone had made it but it turned out to be just a chocolate roll xD
Kylie, if you have time I’d experiment with both as a trial. Those very thin biscuits might be amazing with a very thin layer of cream between them. Very fiddly though! The fat biscuits look fine, especially if they are softer to start with. If you had to pick one I’d go with those. Unless you have family back in Oz who could ship you a care pack of gingernuts. Let us know how you go! 😀
Hey! Sorry I never replied! We ran out of time to make this at Christmas, so we made it for New Years instead 🙂 After much debate we decided to try it with the thin biscuits, although they crumbled very quickly if left in the orange juice, so a bit fiddly but worked a treat! We creamed between every two biscuits. 🙂 Turned out amazing and the family loved it!
Thanks for the update! Glad it worked out so well xx
Can u put on sauce before serving and keep in fridge ?
It would be better to put the sauce on just before serving.
Will it be ok still if i make the day before
Kerry, it sure will! Just keep it in the fridge.
You can also make a non alcoholic version using 1 cup lemonade instead of OJ.
Thanks, Nia! 🙂
We used to do this with ‘NICE’ biscuits dipped in sherry or orange juice (depending on your taste) then serving with strawberries – great end to a summer bbq, kids loved it. Can’t wait for the weather so I can do it again, my grandchildren would love it!! I’m the granny now and proud of it.☺️
Hi, do you think I could shape the logs to form the letters G and Z….Or will they just fall apart and be a mess?? Thanks
Oh my gosh! That is BRILLIANT!!!!! Go Nana!
Yeah, my Nana rocked the 1950s. 1960s and 1970s -so much that she never needed to update a recipe after that!!! I miss her heaps, but at least I have her recipes. Much love to you, Daisy xx
Oh that dessert sounds divine. I will definitely give it a go.
I hope you enjoy it! 😀
OMG that looks so good!! Drooling!
Drool antidote = make this tonight!!!
How wonderful! I can’t wait to try this one 🙂 I love the quote at the top. My ‘Nanny’ was a loving friend and I still feel her with me, too. Especially with all these spring flowers showing up…
I love that you still feel your Nanny around you. Bless xx
What a fantastic & very easy creation that looks so delectable & amazing too! 🙂 Pretty to look at too! 🙂 That drizzled sauce over the top makes all the difference! 🙂 Yummm!
Yes, the sauce is amazing – and so good on ice-cream (or on its own, eaten straight from the spoon – oops, did I just say that? 😀 )
😉 xxx yes, yes! 🙂
Sounds delish, I will try it over Easter. Thanks for sharing :-))
I hope you do! Enjoy!!! xx
Nicole, thanks for including an alcohol-free suggestion — much appreciated. I hope you’re feeling better every day. 🙂
Thanks, Jesann! I’m working on it 😀
Nicole, this looks absolutely delicious! My children and husband will love it. I am (for the most part) gluten and dairy free but will have to sneak a taste! Thanks also to Pamela for sharing her recipe. Looks great. xx
Sarah, not sure where you are but in Australia you can buy gluten-free gingernuts that are rather awesome!!! I made a gluten-free vegan version of this using coconut ice-cream (slightly softened and then work fast) and the gluten-free biscuits and it was amazingly good!!! Maybe I’ll blog that version soon too!
in friendship i would like to share with you this absolutely wonderful recipe i just found out about:
enjoy all! love, pamela
ps. i am on my 2nd loaf in 3 days! it is dangerously delicious and gluten free! and i just found out that my husband doesn’t want any more, so now i am in big trouble. i am going to have to limit myself to 2 slices a day instead of 5 or 6!
I seriously love you, Pamela!
Wow. What an awesome recipe. I am soooo making this in the next few days. Can see the potential for addiction though…
What a great blog Pamela..loving the simplicity of this recipe Nicole and I just LOVE ginger nuts…<3
why thank you Nicole! i am delighted that you will try out the recipe. it is healthy and delicous! love, pamela
remember making that with Mum- right now that doesn’t fit my alkaline lifestyle but it looks yummy
blessing and love xxoo
Mine neither, but I was oh so grateful to whip up something that our guests devoured happily. Can’t leave these good farmer folk go hungry…
Gosh! I remember making that when I was a kid.
Simple pleasures. It had been YEARS since I had made it, but my fog-addled brain remembered it well, and it was a cinch to throw together. And no left-overs to tempt me later!!!
Exactly. And of course on my Lyme Friendly diet, I didn’t even eat any of it, Annie!!! I had a fresh persimmon instead. (Although I do admit to running my finger through the remaining caramel sauce on the serving platter and stuffing it in my mouth before I did the washing up… Mmmmmm)
My teenage daughter was reading this with me and she said “Yum! that looks awesome” I guess we will have to give it a try 🙂 !
and how blessed you were to have two grandmas…I never had the pleasure of knowing mine on either side.
I am so fortunate to have had all of my grandparents alive during my childhood. They were major influences in my life, and continue to be. I hope you and your daughter enjoy my Nan’s recipe xx
Thank you Nicole, I was trying to find a delicious yet simple dessert for when a friend (who likes his sweet things) comes to lunch. Take care.
It was a big hit with the guests. I also make this one with chocolate ripple biscuits, coffee and kahlua. Similarly well received.