The last of the ginger treats and easily my favorite. This is a relatively “new” Christmas tradition, in that Heather and I have been baking them for about six years or so. I honestly don’t remember exactly when we started or even which cookbook we got the recipe from – Heather has the book, so maybe she remembers which one it is. You can find all kinds of gingernut recipes on the internet, with varying ingredients and results. Because I use a very specifc recipe and can’t recall where it came from, I’m going to include it at the end of this post.

Gingernuts are also called ginger biscuits, and they’re known in European countries by many other names. They’re not quite the same as what Americans call ginger snaps; those are a drop cookie, whereas gingernuts are rolled and coated in sugar. While they all have their slight variations, they are essentially a butter cookie flavored with ginger and other spices (such as cinnamon and nutmeg). Thus, the ginger effect is quite subtle, which is probably why I like them better than other ginger treats. They are super easy to make, and they can be addictive little snacks. I find that they’re particularly tasty when paired with coffee or eggnog.

It’s a simple process to make gingernuts. The dough is quick to bring together; most of the time involved with this recipe is in rolling out the cookies and baking them. So it’s nice to have a dough that takes maybe 5 minutes to make.

The cast of characters: dry ingredients (flour, sugar, spices, leavener), cold butter, egg, and karo syrup.

The cast of characters: dry ingredients (flour, sugar, spices, leavener), cold butter, egg, and light corn syrup.

The cold butter is added to the dry ingredients and finger-blended. At this point, the dough should look like dry breadcrumbs.

The cold butter is added to the dry ingredients and finger-blended. At this point, the dough should look like fine breadcrumbs.

The egg and corn syrup are beaten together and added to the dough. I used my hands to mix it into a firm dough-ball. This is a very hands-on recipe, which makes it kinda fun!

The egg and corn syrup are beaten together and added to the dough. I used my hands to mix it into a firm dough-ball. This is a very hands-on recipe, which makes it kinda fun!

Pinch off pieces of dough from the doughball and roll them into balls. Roll them into some sugar to coat, and then place on the baking sheet. No need to grease or anything, they pop right off after coming out of the oven.

Pinch off pieces of dough from the doughball and roll them into balls. Roll them into some sugar to coat, and then place on the baking sheet. No need to grease or anything, they pop right off after coming out of the oven.

And after 15 minutes of baking, here they are! As you can see, they smoosh out during baking. They're very light, firm on the outside and with a little squich on the inside.

And after 15 minutes of baking, here they are! As you can see, they smoosh out during baking. They’re very light, firm on the outside, and have a little squish on the inside.

These are best when they’re crackly and crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside. They can over-bake quickly, and it’s hard to tell when that’s happening. If you take them out of the oven when they’re still a bit soft, they’ll harden up nicely as they’re resting. They should be just lightly golden on the bottom.

Of course, the true test is when you bite into them, and even if they’re a little overdone, they still taste wonderful. If you don’t like them crunchy, try baking them for a minute or two less. They make for a very nice Christmas treat, and I always leave a few for Santa!

 

Gingernuts

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar (+ more for rolling)
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
2-3 tsp ground ginger (to your taste!)
pinch of salt
½ cup cold butter, cut in pieces
1 egg
1 tbsp light corn syrup

Preheat oven to 300°F. Mix together the flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. Rub in butter with your fingers until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Beat together the egg and syrup; add to the dry ingredients. Mix together until it forms a firm dough ball. Pinch off pieces of the dough and roll into balls. Roll balls in sugar to coat and place on a baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes or until lightly colored. Cool and serve. Yields about 6 dozen cookies.

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