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!
- 175g soft butter
- 175g soft brown sugar (muscovado if liked)
- 1 large egg
- 1 tbsp golden syrup
- Zest of one small lemon
- Optional - 1-2 balls of stem ginger chopped very finely
- 4 tbsp ground almonds
- 275g plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 3 tsp (rounded) ground ginger
- 1 cup of icing sugar (level it off)
- Juice of one lemon
- A little yellow food colouring gel
- Sprinkles as liked
- Preheat oven to 180˚C.
- Cream the butter and sugar together.
- Beat in the egg followed by the golden syrup. Continue to beat until very light and fluffy.
- Stir in the almonds and lemon zest and if using, the stem ginger.
- Sift over the flour, baking powder and ground ginger. Mix until well blended.
- With damp hands, roll 1.5 inch round balls of cookie dough and place on a lined baking tray, leaving 2 inches between cookies. Don't flatten them.
- Bake for 12-14 minutes until they have spread a little and are a little crinkly on top. They will be pale golden brown in colour and just dry to the touch.
- Cool on a rack and when cold, mix the icing sugar with enough lemon juice to make it the texture of toothpaste (i.e. just flows when pushed) and the food colouring if using at this point. Drizzle a teaspoon of icing on each cookie and immediately sprinkle over the sprinkles. Leave on the rack to set before serving.
- Will keep for 3 days easily in a cookie jar or cake tin.