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Ginger is quite amazing in its versatility, a bit like lemons, you can add it to both sweet and savoury dishes and if in sensible quantities, it’ll improve them.
Basic ingredient in Oriental cuisines, you can make it into a drink and persuade yourself that it cures cold, especially if you join it with lemon and honey. There is anecdotal evidence that it might relieve pain and nausea. Made in heaven match for duck, enlivens bland vegetables (just a grating will transform stir fried pak choi or string beans – okay, with admittedly a dash of oyster sauce and a glug of sesame oil) but I do love it best in baking.
Gingerbreads, or Lebkuchen, are my firm favourites and the Christmassy, German in provenance honey and ginger cake likewise. Here’s a classic: ginger cookies, quite a bit more chewy than the popular British ginger snaps – these are cookies rather than biscuits. If you use only white sugar they’ll be less chewy. The crystallised ginger can be swapped for preserved stem ginger.
The recipe was found here and I improvised on it a little.
ginger cookiesServings: makes 2 dozen cookiesTime: about 45 minutes
- 115g butter
- 85g golden syrup or honey
- 350g plain flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 100g caster sugar
- 70g soft brown sugar
- 1 tbsp ground ginger
- 1 large egg
- 50g crystallised or preserved ginger, chopped in small pieces
1. Melt the butter in a small pan, add the golden syrup and leave to cool slightly. Sieve the flour with the baking powder and baking soda into a large bowl, add the ground ginger and both sugars. Mix well to get rid of brown sugar clumps. Add the crystallised ginger pieces.
2. Beat the egg lightly and add to the dry ingredients with the melted butter and syrup mixture. Mix with a large spoon and later just use your hands (the mix will be too stiff for the spoon) until combined and smooth.
3. Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/gas 3. Line two or three baking trays with parchment – you won’t fit more than six cookies on a tray or they’ll melt into each other.
4. Shape the dough into walnut sized balls and place on the trays very well apart. Bake 15 minutes until deep golden. Cool on a wire rack.