HEMSLEY + HEMSLEY’s Holiday Spiced Ginger Biscuits

Originally posted on hemsleyandhemsley.com.

My good friends and superstar chefs Melissa and Jasmine Hemsley have been so kind and allowed me to share one of their killer Christmas recipes with you all. I hope you’re ready to bake today, because their Holiday Spiced Ginger Biscuits are just divine – bound to be snapped up by any guest dropping by to spread some merriment.

This recipe is inspired by a classic American baked good – Pumpkin Pie – and an English ginger cookie usually known as a ‘gingernut’. Instead of walnuts and raisins, they’ve added pecans and apple-sweetened cranberries to make these deliciously chewy cookies, free from gluten, grain and refined sugar.

HEMSLEY + HEMSLEY’s Holiday Spiced Ginger Biscuits


220g ground almonds

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp allspice

¾ tsp ground ginger

½ tsp nutmeg

⅛ tsp or a pinch of sea salt

1 tsp baking soda

40g dried cranberries (look for the sugar-free, apple-sweetened variety)

40g whole pecans, each chopped into 4 pieces

5 tbsp pure date syrup or pure maple syrup


Preheat oven to 175°C / 350ºF.

Mix ground almonds, spices, sea salt, and baking soda in a bowl.

Stir through the cranberries and chopped pecans.

Stir in maple syrup until well combined. Dough will be crumbly.

Take approx 1.5 tablespoons of the mixture and shape into a rough cookie with your hands.

Place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper, pressing each biscuit lightly with the flat of your hand to approx. ½ cm (⅕ inch) thick.

Repeat with the rest of the mixture, leaving plenty of space between biscuits.

Bake for approx 12 minutes, until browned at the edges but still soft in the middle. (Oven temps vary, so keep an eye on the biscuits after 10 minutes.)

Let cool for 10 minutes to crisp up before serving.

Store in the fridge in an airtight glass container. You can also freeze after baking and defrost at room temperature as desired.

Did you bake a batch of these delicious treats? Show me over on Instagram!

Caroline Byron 2016

When does healthy eating become unhealthy?

Since realising I was gluten-intolerant I’ve become more conscious of everything I eat and truly believe that food is medicine.

In some sense, we really are what we eat. I have experienced first hand how changing to a gluten-free diet can be transformational. But lately I’ve become worried about some of the healthy eating advice being put out there, and thought I’d share with you my views on a healthy lifestyle.

Don’t cut out food

This seems to be a piece of advice that’s handed out very readily.

Get rid of dairy, don’t eat fat, abolish sugar from your diet. Each and every healthy eating guru seems to have a different stance about what’s poisoning our bodies. Who should we believe, and who should we follow?

I don’t cut anything out of my diet that isn’t directly linked to a health disposition. I don’t think it’s healthy or realistic. I don’t eat gluten due to health reasons and, apart from moral objections, I can’t see any other reason to never eat a particular food or food group again.

A healthy lifestyle is all about balance and knowledge. The more you understand what your body needs, the better you can feed it. Of course I don’t eat dairy in every meal and yes I try to steer away from refined sugars. But I’m aware of, and welcome, the health benefits that come from different types of food and eating them in moderation.

Vary your diet

This is something that actually makes me sad.

Food is so wonderful! There are countless cuisines across the world with exciting new flavors for us to try and to inspire our cooking. Fusions to be created, and flavor combinations to change your food world. So why, oh why, would you limit yourself to the same meals day in day out?

I’ve seen health advice that advocated having roughly 10 tried and tested healthy meals over a month repeatedly. Varying your diet is key to ensure you’re getting all the right nutrients and energy from your food. It allows you to dip in and out of different food groups and ensure you’re getting everything you need to stay healthy and happy. Don’t be afraid to be adventurous with your meal times – that’s part of the joy of eating and cooking.

No cheats or shortcuts

I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s been tempted by a regretful quick fix diet, or thought I’d found the secret to being healthy. But the fact is there are no shortcuts. There are no cheats. There’s no magic. This is an illusion conjured up by the weight loss industry.

Being healthy is a lifestyle, it’s not a diet. The goal of living healthily isn’t to be thin, it’s to feel nourished, energized and happy. If the dietary advice you’re following isn’t doing that, then it really isn’t worth it.

When do you think healthy eating becomes unhealthy? Let’s talk – tweet me!