Gingersnap – Brunkage – Pepparkakor – World Favorite Cookie

August 4th, 2010 / Comments 6

Ginger is one of the most versatile ingredients in my kitchen. I have ground ginger in the spice drawer, fresh ginger root in a ceramic crock and crystallized ginger in a jar in the pantry. I make ginger tea by simmering slices of fresh ginger in water with a bit of brown sugar. Served cold, it is a caffeine free substitute for iced tea that I enjoy in the evening. I put ginger in everything from to stir-fries to meatloaf, and it is always present in the form of gingersnap cookies. They are a mainstay in Charles’ diet. He can resist chocolate cake, banana splits and candy bars but he has an undeniable gingersnap habit – he ends every lunch with a gingersnap.

cookie jars c egbert Gingersnap   Brunkage   Pepparkakor   World Favorite Cookie

So, when he reached into the Chinese cookie jar on Monday and found only a teaspoon of crumbs, something had to be done so I suggested that we make a batch of gingersnaps.

Spiced cookies were popular during the Middle Ages, not only because they tasted good but also because the ginger and the honey used to make them were valued for their health benefits. Ginger flavored cookies are called brunkage in Danish, pepparkakor in Swedish and lebkuchen in German and ginger nuts in the UK, Australia and New Zealand.

two girls c egbert Gingersnap   Brunkage   Pepparkakor   World Favorite CookieIt may be the zip of ginger, cinnamon and cloves or the sweetness of molasses and brown sugar that has made them so popular, but I think it’s the childhood memories that this sweet treat triggers that make them the favorite of so many.

Gingersnaps are crisp sugar cookies that are easy for even an inexperienced baker to make. Charles’ gingersnap lesson began by gathering the tools and ingredients we would need. I took the butter out of the fridge so that it could warm to room temperature and he gathered measuring spoons and cups. Our first problem was that there was only half a teaspoon of dry ginger and our second problem was that the molasses jar was nearly empty. Things weren’t looking good. Our neighbors were at the beach so we couldn’t borrow molasses and ginger from them and we wanted to fill the cookie jar without driving to the market. With a bit of improvisation we succeeded. Here’s how we did it:

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Gingersnap Cookies

Charles put three and three quarter cups of unsifted flour, three teaspoons of baking soda, one teaspoon of cinnamon, half a teaspoon of ground cloves, half a teaspoon of ginger and a quarter of a teaspoon of kosher salt into a large bowl and stirred with a wire whisk until they were well combined.

I put three quarters of a cup of unsalted butter into the bowl of my stand mixer and beat it until it was soft and then added one cup of light brown sugar and one cup of white sugar. When the sugar and butter were combined, I added two eggs and beat until the mixture was fluffy. Because I had only half a teaspoon of ground ginger and needed two teaspoons for this recipe, I added three teaspoons of grated fresh ginger. I used a larger quantity of fresh ginger because it is less potent than the dry.

I needed half a cup of molasses but had only a quarter of a cup, so, inspired by the bakers in the Middle Ages, I used honey to make up the difference. I beat in the molasses, honey and two teaspoons of fresh lime juice and then gradually added the flour mixture, and mixed the batter until the flour was incorporated.

I put the soft, sticky dough into the freezer to chill and after about half an hour in the freezer, the batter was stiff enough to be formed into cookies. I had preheated the oven to 350º and lined two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Charles made three quarter inch balls of dough and I rolled each one in granulated sugar before putting it onto the baking sheet. In ten minutes they were baked and I transferred them to a wire rack to cool. Without the parchment paper, it would have been impossible to lift the cookies from the baking sheet. This recipe makes about five dozen cookies. We baked a third of the dough and put the rest in the fridge. These crisp, gingery cookies surpassed Charles exacting gingersnap standards, and I expect he will be baking a second batch by tomorrow afternoon.

National Gingersnap Day is celebrated on the first of July, and although it’s too late to do anything about it this year, it’s not to soon to begin planning for next year.

Gingersnap List

  • flour
  • baking soda
  • cinnamon
  • ground cloves
  • ground ginger
  • kosher salt
  • unsalted butter
  • light brown sugar
  • granulated sugar
  • two eggs
  • fresh ginger
  • molasses
  • honey
  • fresh lime juice
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• 6 Responses to “Gingersnap – Brunkage – Pepparkakor – World Favorite Cookie”

  • Maria says:

    I love ginger and I have never made gingerspaps…I must make this recipe, thanks!

  • I thought I was a ginger fiend – but you’ve outdone me! I need to get my hands on some crystalised ginger. I’ve never seen a recipe for Gingersnaps with lime juice before. I will have to find time to give this a try!

  • Drick says:

    somehow I imagine the fresh ginger would yeild a tastier version, a sense of chimera on the ol’ tastebuds…good cookies, love crispy ones too

  • Cristina says:

    Ginger is good ingredients. I luv it in cooking, but especially in my baking. Gingersnaps sound good…haven’t had one in ages and I’ve never made them before. Thanks for sharing your recipe and inspiration!

  • Oh you are so a lady after my own heart…Ginger, I have it everywhere as well. I 100% agree on it’s versatility, savory or sweet it’s all about the ginger:)Love this recipe…

  • Claudia says:

    I do love gingersnaps and love to bake with them. I (gulp) almost always buy them. This will hve to change. I think Charles is a very civilized person – ending each day with a gingersnap. Especially your gingersnaps.And by the way, dreaming of a touch of cayenne in chocolate torte. Obsessing really!

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