These ginger cookies aren't gingerbread, nor ginger nut cookies, but instead more a ginger-flavored sugar cookie. A traditional German recipe, they're easy and truly delicious.
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You may have seen me mention before that I lived in Germany for a while as a student over the winter. Despite the cold, it was a great time of year to be there.
A definite highlight was the each town's Christmas market where local artisans shared some beautiful gifts and wooden decorations. And of course, they also sold gluhwein, German mulled wine, and stollen, German Christmas cake.
While I was there, I studied German language, literature and culture, which had some interesting twists since I was based in former East Germany only 10 years after the fall of the Berlin wall.
It may seem like a while, but you could definitely still see the legacy, such as the amount of road building and some of the communist remnants in the university library.
In general, German language lessons were a fairly broad conversation focus or debating current affairs etc, but one lesson before Christmas was dedicated to German Christmas recipes.
Are ginger cookies the same as gingerbread?
I've called these ginger cookies as that's what the name translates to, and they are indeed made with ginger, but they are not quite what you might think when you see that name.
They are not the more familiar gingerbread or pfeffernusse cookies that you commonly see in the market made with both ginger and molasses, and usually other spices as well.
Nor are they ginger nuts, which are pretty common in the UK. Instead, they are more of a shortbread or sugar cookie with a ginger flavor in there.
Steps to make these ginger cookies
Whatever you call them, they are easy to make and really tasty. All you do is:
- Cream together the butter and sugar.
- Blend in the egg then mix everything else in.
- Chill the dough before rolling out, cutting out shapes then baking.
As well as being easy, the fact you can cut out shapes and give them a chocolate glaze decoration (or some other kind) makes them perfect for getting the kids involved, giving them as gifts, or make a hole in them as you make them to hang on the tree.
While I made what for me is a relatively big batch since it was one egg's worth, these still went in pretty quick time as we all loved them (helped by guests and neighbors, who also enjoyed).
No one was even bothered by the fact the chocolate glaze discolored overnight in the fridge (serves me right for baking after dark).
Gently spiced with ginger, with a smooth crumbly texture, these ginger cookies are a wonderful addition to any cookie plate, whether for Christmas or any time. I know we'll be making them again.
Tools you may find helpful for these cookies
If you need some seasonal cookie cutters to make these, I can suggest these: WILTON Grippy Cookie Cutter Set Of 6 - Christmas. I'd also recommend a Silicone Baking Mat on top of a Half Baking Sheet. (affiliate links)
See some of my favorite cooking tools and ingredients in the Caroline's Cooking Amazon store.
Try these other tasty cookie recipes:
- Chocolate orange shortbread cookies
- Basler brunsli (Swiss chocolate almond cookies)
- Meyer lemon cookies
- Alfajores (dulce de leche sandwich cookies)
- Plus get more Holiday recipes in the archives.
German ginger cookies
- 7 tbsp unsalted butter 100g
- ½ cup sugar 100g
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 cup all purpose flour 140g plain flour
- ½ cup cornstarch 65g corn flour
For the chocolate glaze
- ½ cup confectioners sugar 70g icing sugar
- ½ tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tbsp water
- Cream together the butter and sugar in a stand mixer/food processor or with a hand mixer until smooth and slightly glossy. Add the egg and vanilla and blend in.
- Add the ginger, baking powder, flour and cornstarch and mix in at a low speed to save the flour going everywhere. Bring the mixture together as a ball and chill for around 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 375F/190C.
- Roll out the chilled dough fairly thin on a floured surface with a floured rolling pin. Use cutters (shapes, circles, as you prefer) to cut out cookies and transfer to a lined baking sheet/tray/cookie sheet. Repeat with all the dough.
- Bake for approx 10 minutes until just starting to brown. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
- Sift the confectioners sugar into a small bowl and mix with the cocoa powder and water. Blend until smooth, then either spread on the cookies with a flat knife for a simple glaze, or transfer to a small piping back (or small freezer bag then snip off a corner) and decorate as you choose. Note if you glaze more fully, you may need a little more glaze.
Plus try some of these other cookie ideas:
- Candied Cranberry Walnut Oatmeal Cookies by Soulfully Made
- Cherry Chocolate Pistachio Cookies by Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
- Hot Cocoa Cookies by That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Italian Rainbow Cookies by April Golightly
- Peppermint Pinwheel Cookies by Food Lust People Love
- Spiced Persimmon Cookies with Figs by The Wimpy Vegetarian