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Ginger Spice Cookies with Cinnamon Oat Crunch & Paris on my mind

Ginger Spice Cookies with Cinnamon Oat Crunch

We are all one, we may all be different, unique individuals, but still, we are all one.

We were out at a concert and got home late on Friday night, we saw the news on TV and were shocked. Paris had been attacked, but not only this city, everybody who believes in freedom, tolerance and compassion was attacked that night. This wasn’t against a state or against a religious group, it was an attack against individual lives, to make us feel scared, to spread hatred and fear amongst each other, everywhere in the world. We felt shaken on Saturday, we were sad and confused, not knowing where all this would lead to. Why does humankind have to be like this, why can’t we learn from our history? We know all this violence won’t lead anywhere, it will only spread the seeds for even more pain and suffering, and if we continue following this sickening road, nothing will ever change.

Yesterday, we were invited to dinner, to my aunt and uncle’s traditional St. Martin’s celebration feast. We took our bikes and rode through the city, down the Unter den Linden boulevard until we got to the Brandenburg Gate at the Pariser Platz, lit up in blue, white and red, in the colours of le tricolore. We wanted to pass the French embassy which is right there but we couldn’t, we had to stop and get off our bikes, to take a minute for ourselves. Hundreds of candles, flowers and letters all over the pavement, people standing and sitting on the floor, in silence. We didn’t know each other but it’s easier to stand the pain when you can share it. We looked into each other’s eyes, coming from different countries, not sharing the same language, lives and beliefs, but this doesn’t matter, in this moment we all cried and were one.

Later on, when we sat at the dining table together with our family and friends after enjoying a wonderful meal cooked by my aunt Ursula and my uncle Uwe, I felt a little more peaceful again – and safe. We discussed and shared our opinions, some of them were close, others were further apart, but still, we sat at the table together, looked into each other’s eyes and used words to express our feelings, worries and beliefs. Eight individual people, with individual opinions, knowing that we can’t escape the fact that we are all different yet still one.

When we rode home, we stopped in front of the French embassy again and I read a handwritten note – Nous sommes unis. This gives me hope.

There was a lot of silence in the past couple days, we were speechless, no words to express what we felt but it wasn’t necessary either. My boyfriend and I felt the need to sit down together more often than usual, we drank tea and ate cookies. My ginger cookies were made for happier times, but still, they made us feel good, warm and cozy, exactly what we needed.

Ginger Spice Cookies with Cinnamon Oat Crunch

 

Ginger Spice Cookies with Cinnamon Oat Crunch

Ginger Spice Cookies with Cinnamon Oat Crunch

Makes about 20 cookies

For the cookie dough

plain flour 355g / 2 3/4 cups
baking soda 1 teaspoon
fine sea salt 1/2 teaspoon
cloves, ground in a mortar, 1 teaspoon
ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon
allspice, ground in a mortar, 1/8 teaspoon
butter, soft, 130g / 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon
granulated sugar 175g / 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons
fresh ginger, grated, 1 1/2 tablespoons
cane syrup or molasses 80g / 4 tablespoons
honey 60g / 3 tablespoons
organic egg 1

For the oat crunch

rolled oats 90g / 1 cup
butter, soft, cut into small pieces, 60g / 4 tablespoons
granulated sugar 100g / 1/2 cup
ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon

For the cookie dough, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cloves, cinnamon, and all spice in a large bowl.

In a second large bowl, cream the butter, sugar, and ginger with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the syrup, honey, and egg and mix well. Add the flour mixture to the bowl and mix with the dough hooks of an electric mixer until just combined. Scrape the dough together, leave it in the bowl, and put it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes (an hour would be even better).

Preheat the oven to 180°C / 355°F (preferably convection setting). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

For the oat crunch, mix the oats, butter, sugar, and cinnamon in a medium bowl and mix with the dough hooks of an electric mixer until crumbly.

Form a spoonful of the cookie dough into a 4-cm / 1 1/2-inch ball. Continue with the remaining dough and spread the balls on the lined baking sheets, leaving enough space, about 5-cm / 2-inch, in between them, they will rise. Lightly flatten the balls with the bottom of a small espresso cup (dip the bottom in water before you touch the dough) and scoop a generous amount of oat crunch on top (see the picture below). Bake in the oven for about 13-15 minutes, the tops of the cookies should be slightly soft when you touch them, don’t overcook them or they will get hard. Let them cool completely.

You can store the cookies in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Ginger Spice Cookies with Cinnamon Oat Crunch

 

Ginger Spice Cookies with Cinnamon Oat Crunch

 

Ginger Spice Cookies with Cinnamon Oat Crunch

 

Ginger Spice Cookies with Cinnamon Oat Crunch

 

gingercookiesoatcrunch12

 

gingercookiesoatcrunch11

Ginger Orange Christmas Cookies

Ginger Orange Christmas Cookies

There is a very popular Christmas cookie in Germany called Zimtstern, meaning cinnamon star. They are a tiny bit chewy inside, soft and juicy. The dough is made without flour and butter but with lots of ground almonds or hazelnuts and egg whites which gives it its typical texture. This sweet is a classic which you can find on every German Christmas cookie platter and I have faithfully baked them for years. It has always been one of the recipes that I look forward to with excitement, these cookies bring out the best of my beloved cinnamon!

As so often when I follow a tradition with such consistency, at one point I need a little change or at least a variation, which is the substitution of spices in this case. I took out the cinnamon and replaced it with lots of freshly grated ginger, orange zest and cloves. The result is an extremely aromatic cookie with the same texture as the Zimtstern, they are equally soft and chewy inside. I covered them in a thin layer of orange glaze to give them a glowing festive look. As I had already broken with the tradition I thought I might as well give them different shapes. When I took out my cookie cutters I went straight for the sausage dog, reindeer and squirrel apart from the classic trees and stars!

I wish you a happy Advent!

Meike xx

If you’re looking for some more baking inspiration for the next days, here are my Espresso Meringue Cookies with Cardamom Ganache, a Chocolate and Orange PanettoneVanilla KipferlChocolate and Apricot Jam Sandwich CookiesBittersweet Spice CookiesMaltese Lemon CookiesGerman Spitzbuben Cookies and Elisenlebkuchen with Bittersweet Chocolate.

Ginger Orange Christmas Cookies

 

Ginger Orange Christmas Cookies

Ginger Orange Christmas Cookies

For about 60 cookies you need

ground hazelnuts and/ or almonds 320g / 11.5 ounces
(I used 100g / 3.5 ounces hazelnuts and 220g / 8 ounces almonds)
organic egg whites 2
a pinch of salt
sieved icing sugar 250g / 9 ounces plus 100g / 3.5 ounces for the glaze
freshly grated ginger 20g / 3/4 ounce (about 3 teaspoons)
grated zest of 1 orange (about 2 tablespoons)
cloves, crushed in a mortar, 20 (about 1 teaspoon)
freshly squeezed orange juice, about 6 teaspoons, for the glaze
granulated sugar, to roll out the dough

Set the oven to 160°C / 320°F (fan-assisted oven) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine the ground nuts with the ginger, zest and cloves. Spread and rub the ginger with your fingers into the nuts until well combined.

Whisk the egg whites and salt until stiff and mix in the icing sugar (gradually). Mix in the nuts and spice mixture with a wooden spoon until well combined. Scrape the dough onto cling film, form a ball and keep in the fridge for about 2 hours.

Roll out the dough between sugared cling film, it should be about 1/2cm / 1/4″ thick. Dip the cookie cutters in sugar and cut out cookies, spread them on a baking sheet with a little space in between them and bake for 11-12 minutes or until golden. They should still feel a bit soft. Let them cool for a few minutes before you put them on a wire rack.

For the glaze, mix 100g / 3.5 ounces of icing sugar with 5 teaspoons of orange juice, the mixture should be very thick and slightly runny. Add a few more drops of the juice if necessary, mix until smooth and brush the cookies with the glaze.

Ginger Orange Christmas Cookies

 

Ginger Orange Christmas Cookies

 

Ginger Orange Christmas Cookies

 

Ginger Orange Christmas Cookies

 

Ginger Orange Christmas Cookies

 

Ginger Orange Christmas Cookies

 

Ginger Orange Christmas Cookies

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