Bringing back a traditional NZ cookie
These biscuits from New Zealand, called Elsie’s Fingers, are a very old (as far as history goes for New Zealand!) cookie that was an integral part of the childhood of anyone born before the 80’s. I remember often snacking on Elsie’s Fingers for afternoon tea when I was a kid. For some reason, they were taken out of the NZ cookbook “bibles” at some point, and never put back again. The powers-that-be don’t know what they’re missing out on! They’ve destroyed a part of NZ’s heritage, and at the same time removed a rather tasty snack from the mouths of the youth of today! I say we rise up! Rise up and protest against the injustice brought against thousands of young Kiwis not knowing what Elsie’s Fingers are! Or, you can just make this recipe and have a cup of tea while nibbling on them, and sit in an armchair, while watching someone on TV protest about something else if you prefer.
All about Elsie’s Fingers
Who is Elsie, and did her fingers really look like pale, puffed-up sausages? We shall never know. But whoever she was, I say thanks to her for inventing this childhood favourite of mine. I guess if you really wanted to go crazy, you could add the zest of a lemon into the mixture, but you’d really be going out on a limb there. The biscuits are kind of like shortbread in texture. Perfect for dunking in tea. Elsie’s Fingers are also great fun to make with kids, as the recipe is very simple to make, and in the end, you can form them into whatever shape you like.
If you look at the recipe you will see that the flour varies by 1/2 a cup. This depends on the size of the egg you’re using. Add all the flour, except the last 50g (1/2 cup) first and mix it in, the if the dough is still too sticky, keep adding flour until it doesn’t stick to your hands.
Travel photo of the week
Before you run off to make Elsie’s Fingers, like I just know you will, I want to leave you with another photo from our trip to New Zealand in February. That way you can dream of this beach (Rawara Beach in Northland) while chomping on the cookies. Can you believe it that the sand is so fine that it squeaks when you walk on it!
By Lisa Watson
- 125 g Butter 4.2oz, 1/2 cup
- 90 g White sugar 3 oz, 1/2 cup
- 1 Egg
- 250 – 300 g All-purpose flour 14.1 oz, 2 – 2 1/2 cups
- 1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
- Extra sugar for rolling cookies in
- Cream butter (at room temperature) and sugar together until white and fluffy.
- Beat in the egg.
- Mix together the flour and baking powder, then stir it into the creamed mixture.
- Line a cookie tray with baking paper and heat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF) .
- Roll walnut size pieces of dough into sausage shapes, then roll them in sugar and place them on the baking tray.
- Bake for 12 – 15 minutes until they are light brown in colour.