I may have a *slight* obsession with gingerbread men – edible and decorative! I think it stems from a love of the movie Shrek and his little Pal Gingy, the Gingerbread Man when I was a child (ok that’s a lie – I was definitely an “adult” when the movie came along but move right along now folks…!).
Seeing him hosed down with warm milk it’s the cutest awful thing to happen in gingerbread history I’m sure! Plus my Hungry Hubby is a ginger too so of course, I’m biased 😀 These sweet little Soft Ginger Cookies are an excuse to crack open my most favourite sprinkles ever – tiny wee gingerbread men – and really kick off the festive season proper.
Ginger as an ingredient is such a beautiful thing. I adore it in sweet and savoury food alike and at this time of year, making stem ginger ready to use in festive bakes galore is a priority. It’s spicy and hot, which I love being a chilli fiend and I find it addictive to eat, whether fresh, ground or candied.
The amount of ground ginger in this recipe (in effect, a generous tablespoon’s worth) is non-negotiable for me but I will concede that some will prefer to leave the stem ginger out. Not because it makes the cookies hotter but because you may prefer your cookies smooth and toothsome without little nuggets of candied ginger root. I personally love them!
These cookies are soft and a little chewy – there’s no crunch or crispness at all, quite different from traditional gingerbread. The lemon zest in the batter really acts as a seasoning for the ginger and gives the flavour a more rounded feel whereas the icing is sharp and citrus to balance the sweet of icing sugar. These cookies take barely any time to mix together, require no chilling nor cutting out and they make a batch big enough to share as well as fill your biccie tin. They rarely hang around longer than a day in reality though!