Ginger Kisses and 80’s Rock Stars

80’s rock stars, how I loved your imperfect teeth, your curly hair, your baggy pants and billowing white pirate shirts. Your castaway on a desert island looks, your exuberance and subtle sexuality.

No overt flaunting of your nibbles and nobbles, be you lady or man. Just a luscious and gorgeous sensuality in the way you moved and dressed.

I am talking about you; David Bowie, Michael Hutchence and all of INXS. Yes, you Sting, the strangely sexy Prince, The Police, U2, The Church and The Cure. Yes; you Split Enz, Crowded House, Pat Benatar, Blondie and Siouxsie and the Banshees. Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten Duran Duran, Tears For Fears, Icehouse, Depeche Mode and New Order.

If I could, I would give you all a big Ginger Kiss. Rest assured, I am not smothering my lips in ginger sauce and going in for the pash. (Not that I wouldn’t mind giving a few of the above a smooch or two.) I am talking about that delightful New Zealand cake like biscuit, sandwiched with a buttery, mock cream type icing.

My childhood is embedded with memories of my paternal grandmother Nana J opening a packet of these wee puffy clouds from heaven. The spicy smell of them would waft towards you and your mouth watered with great expectation. Mr Bagpipes has memories of his mum baking them from scratch back in the day but by the time us grandkids had come along, Nana was busy running the business side of things for their trucking business. So, opening a packet of these ginger kisses was quicker by far. Nana still baked and cooked, her pavlova roll was legendary.

Baking these has been on the old ‘to do’ list for a while and I was very happy with the result. Warming, gingery and sweet. They were a real treat. Sure they weren’t quite as puffy as the store purchased ones, as I used a wholemeal flour but they had more substance. Try using the same amount of plain flour if you want an even lighter result.


115g butter, softened
85g caster sugar
1 egg, room temperature
2 tsp golden syrup, placed in a small dish and warmed slightly
125g/1 cup wholemeal flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp hot water

30g butter
120g icing sugar, sifted
1/2 tsp vanilla essence or 1/4 tsp vanilla powder
2 tbsp boiling water
1 tsp ginger or 1 tbsp preserved ginger

Preheat oven to 180C or 170C non-fan forced oven, line two baking trays with baking paper.
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then beat in the egg, followed by the golden syrup.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and spices.
Fold the sifted dry ingredients into the butter mixture and lastly, stir in the baking soda, dissolved in the hot water.
Put the mixture in small teaspoonfuls (I did large teaspoonfuls and they spread quite a bit) on the trays, or use a piping bag with a 1cm/1/2 inch opening. (I am not a fan of the intricate art of piping so I didn’t.)
Bake for about ten minutes, then remove to a cooling rack.

Making the filling by beating the butter, icing sugar and vanilla together. Slowly add the boiling water a little at a time and continue to beat until the mixture is very light and creamy. Once the icing looks light and fluffy enough, stop adding the water as you may not need all of it. (I added too much water too quickly and had to add extra icing sugar, so my filling was a little heavier than it should have been.)
Pair up the Ginger Kisses, matching the sizes, smear a small amount of filling on each lower half and stick them together.
Store airtight, this made about 12 very large Ginger Kisses, next time I will make them a tad smaller.

Recipe from Ladies A Plate, Traditional Home Baking by Alexa Johnston. Published by Penguin Books 2008

44 thoughts on “Ginger Kisses and 80’s Rock Stars

  1. A.PROMPTreply

    Looks yummy but I bet it’s better if it comes with a Nana J! God, you really did make my heart sing listing all those artists I know…..those were the days, huh?

    • They are so much better than the store purchased ones Mrs P! They were so the days hey? Ahhh, the memories, the neon mesh, the fingerless gloves and lopsided haircuts, sigh…

  2. God knows I love ginger and these look a treat. Love the sandwich-y idea of an icing center – much more to my taste than the trendy macarons! On the must-try list. Cheers!

  3. Your Ginger Kisses look delish, Mrs Cheergerm! If they could ever be improved, (as if possible!), they would have to be eaten to a soundtrack by your 80s musicos, possibly with the added aroma of too much hairspray!!! xx

  4. This looks like a keeper! I have a ginger cookie (Canadian for biscuit) recipe that calls for grated ginger which gives a big boost of intensity to the flavour. Kind of like if you invited Jon Bon Jovi into the kitchen – the heat builds. Mmmm.

    • It’s a goodie Mrs M! Mmmm….both on that delicious sounding ginger cookie and on Jon B in the kitchen…is he baking and wearing an apron? (In a glam, rockstar kind of way over the top of leather pants?)

  5. Oh, the indulgence of a home-baked cookie with icing in the middle! These look perfect for us in the northern hemisphere–experiencing a need for a warming, spicy treat. And I love your suggested soundtrack 🙂

    • Thanks LM! If I could send a batch your way to warm you up I would! Luckily you are a dab hand in the kitchen. It sure looks like you have been experiencing winter up there!! Brrrr….baking these and busting some moves to Prince sound like a great winter warmer.

  6. Oh, the 80s. I was going to marry Simon le Bon you know. We would have been perfect together #sigh. Speaking of perfect these airy, spicy little morsels look like perfection on a plate.

  7. I really hope your nana had the opportunity to taste your divine looking food. I would be sky high with pride if my grandkids could be so inventive and wonderfully successful in the kitchen.
    And by the looks of those gorgeous delights, I’d eat an entire batch–one after another as soon as you’d finish filling them with cream, but before you’d have a chance to set them on a platter. They look that incredible.
    I need food.
    Please come bake for me.

    • Sadly Mrs P, she didn’t. But I think there is a baking gene (😁) in our family. I will be there on a plane ASAP…well, maybe when it gets a little warmer there?? Lucky you have a cooking gene running in your veins too. These were very, very nice. I feel another batch coming on.

    • Thanks KW! Would love to hear some of your pop idols too!! It is actually a New Zealand treat, although you can now buy packets of them here in Australia. They remind me a bit of a whoopie pie and I was wondering if a ginger version of those existed anywhere. What a big wide world of biscuits we live in. ☺️

  8. Ah these look divine- nearly as divine as kissing or xx Michael Hutchence- well at least when he was alive, and a few others from your kissable eighties list. Might have to make these right now!

  9. These looks just wonderful. Ahh brings back all those memories. I had such a crush on Michael Hutchence. Scrawny, spotty, but oh so sexy. Prince. Not so sure about.. I do love everything ginger though. It’s a real heart warmer.

  10. I looove ginger kisses. And had a moment of horror in the supermarket last week when they start playing a Bowie song; I know I’m getting older when I both know and like supermarket music. Surely he’s too cool for them?! Great post and I’m definitely making these kisses. Thanks!

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