There is no Christmas without gingerbread cookies. Hearts, stars, Christmas trees — they come in different shapes and forms with or without icing. And gingerbread houses are built with magnificent constructions. Here is a recipe that thinks outside the box and gives us the square shaped cookie, bursting with one of the best spices ever: ginger. I bet Santa will love these crisp gems too with a glass of milk.
In Sweden we call gingerbread cookies pepparkakor or “pepper cookies”, a name with roots in the medieval times, when black pepper supposedly was an ingredient. As a true fan of ginger — I could drink ginger ale everyday — I thought I would put an emphasis on the spicy root this year and bake Ginger Cookies, a recipe from the cook book Under valnötsträdet, by Swedish author Anna Bergenström. I like that these cookies have a square shape instead of the typical circle or heart. Also, since the dough rests for 24 hours this allows the flavor, especially the ginger, to develop which really gives the cookies that kick without being too spicy.
Anna’s Ginger Cookies
100g / 3.5 oz. organic butter
100g / 3.5 oz. organic raw sugar
1 tsp organic vanilla extract
4 tbsp organic golden syrup (in Swedish: ljus sirap)
50g / 1.8 oz. water
270g / 9.5 oz. organic bread flour
1 tsp baking soda (in Swedish: bikarbonat)
3 tsp organic ground ginger
1 tsp organic ground cinnamon
1. Melt the butter. Add raw sugar, syrup, vanilla and water and mix.
2. Sift flour and combine with baking soda and spices.
3. Pour in the melted butter and mix. Kneed gently into a dough, divide in two and form each piece into equally sized, square shaped rolls (25-30 cm/9-11″). Wrap in plastic and chill in the fridge for 24 hours.
4. Heat oven to 180 °C/356 °F. Slice the rolls in thin cookies and place them on a baking tray with parchment paper. Bake for 6-8 minutes. Let cool on a rack and store in an airtight container.
♣ Serve as a cookie along with coffee or tea. The cookies also goes well with a nice, mature blue cheese — a perfect Christmas cocktail party snack.
♣ Sprinkle chopped almonds on top before baking to get a little more crunch.