Today’s recipe is directly inspired by the ginger cookies that will be made and eaten all over the Scandinavian and Nordic world between now and Christmas.Pebbernodder, brunkage, pepparkakor; ginger is a big flavouring at this time of year.
And it’s not just a scandi thing. All over Europe, when the temperature drops, the ginger comes out. The health benefits of ginger as shown in this Good Food article include an early defence against colds, a good impact against nausea, and anti-inflammatory properties. It’s healthy for you…. until you shove a load of butter and sugar in there with it, when the health benefits must be weighed against the extra calories.
However, this time of year as it gets cold, and wet, and colder and wetter a few extra calories are useful to keep you warm. And ginger is synonymous with Christmas: think gingerbread houses, stem ginger and crystallised ginger coated with dark, dark chocolate. My Nan always had a box of chocolate covered ginger as one of her small presents. Not everybody liked it, but I did, and we used to sit, nibbling on each little piece as we watched and laughed our way through Morecambe and Wise.
Today’s recipe is definitely lacking photographs. There’s a good reason for that. I forgot to take any as I went along and, certainly, by the time I’d finished and put the cookies out to cool (with the quick thought that I’d take photos when they were cool) the kids were home… and the cookies went. Very quickly. It’s a simple idea; make a cookie mix, add the toppings you want and then store in the freezer ready to cut and bake as you go along. I’ve used stem ginger in mine, but you could add chocolate chips, raisins, cherries or any flavour combination you like. It’s an American recipe, so it uses cups. That means even my children can measure and make without using the scales (a blessing when they were younger)
Slice and Bake Ginger Cookies2 cups plain flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder1/2 teaspoon baking soda1/4 teaspoon salt1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger1/2 cup crystallised ginger cut into small chunks1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons stick margarine, softened1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar1 teaspoon vanilla extract1 eggVegetable cooking spray
Combine first 4 ingredients in a large bowl. Add ginger, stirring well. Set aside.
Beat margarine, sugar, and vanilla together. Add egg; beat in. Gradually add flour mixture, beating well.
Divide dough in half. Roll each portion into a 12-inch log. Wrap in plastic wrap lightly coated with cooking spray. Freeze for at least 8 hours.
Unwrap dough, and cut off slices at about 1cm thick. Place 1 inch apart on cookie sheets coated with cooking spray. Bake at GM4 (350°) for 12 minutes. Remove from cookie sheets, and let cool completely on wire racks.
Because you don’t need to eat the dough all at once, and it will keep in the freezer for about 4 months, this is ideal for mixing up and keeping as an any-when make. You can add different ingredients, like white chocolate chips and dried cranberries, or dark chocolate chips and dried cherries to make an assortment of slice and bake cookies, so you need never be out of a simple treat!
Like I said, apologies for a complete lack of photos… there wasn’t even crumbs left by the time my gannets had finished!
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