When Cyrus was living in Amsterdam, he used to buy a type of ginger biscuit from a certain Dutch supermarket chain. He really loved it and so did I – he always bought it for my visits in Amsterdam, and I frequently asked him to bring me a packet when he visited me in Dusseldorf, where I used to live back then.
Recently, he remembered those biscuits and asked me whether I could not produce something like that. So I started experimenting around and came up with the recipe below. Since it has been a while since I had the biscuit giving inspiration to this recipe, I can – with all honesty – not say whether it is even close to the original. I am guessing, though, that „not really“ would be closer to the truth – starting with the fact that the Dutch cookies were ginger-lemon flavored and I am suggesting to make them ginger-orange flavored instead. Naturally, that also means that you may feel free to exchange the orange zest with lemon zest and skip the Grand Marnier (note that in this case you might need sightly less flour).
Anyway, Cyrus has become a big fan of this recipe regardless of whether or whether not its outcome mimics the inspirational Dutch biscuit, and I have to say that our tastes are in perfect harmony here.
By the way, in the recipe the dough is rolled in vanilla sugar in the last step before refrigerating. I usually make the vanilla sugar myself. It is really simple and I am explaining it in the frame below.
Ingredients (for approx. 45 biscuits):
- approximately 10 grams of finely grated fresh ginger
- 70 grams of sugar
- 110 grams of soft butter
- 1/2 vanilla pod
- 1 to 2 pinches of cinnamon
- 170 grams of flour
- 1/2 package of baking powder
- zest of 1 orange
- 1 teaspoon of Grand Marnier
- vanilla sugar, very fine sugar for rolling the dough
How to make vanilla sugar yourself: I use around 60 to 70 grams of sugar on each 1/2 vanilla pod. This amount will take you quite far, so I recommend that you size you batches accordingly. As for sugar, I use a type of sugar that is between fine and icing sugar (sold as „Feinster Zucker“ in Germany). Halve the vanilla pod and cut open lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds and mix well with the sugar. Keep in an air-tight container. I also add the vanilla pod after scraping out the seed which not only gives of flavor as all but has the additional effect of looking really very decorative. The vanilla flavor needs 2 to 3 weeks to infuse the sugar, then you can start using it. It keeps for at least 2 to 3 months.
- Peel the fresh ginger and grate it very finely. Mix with the sugar.
- Beat the butter with and electric mixer in a bowl until creamy. The color should change to almost white. Then beat in the sugar-ginger-mix.
- Halve the vanilla pod, cut lengthwise and scrape out the seeds with the back of a knife. Add to the butter. Also add the cinnamon.
- Pass the flout and the baking powder through a fine mesh and add to the butter. Knead until you have a smooth dough. Should the dough be too sticky, add a little more flour.
- Last, knead the orange zest and the Grand Marnier into the dough. You may have to add a little more flour after adding the Grand Marnier depending on whether the dough becomes sticky or to moist after adding the liquid.
- Form two rolls of dough with a diameter of approximately 1.5 to 2 cm.
- Make a mix of vanilla sugar and sugar. Roll the sough rolls in the mix and then wrap in cellophane. Refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (fan oven). Cut the dough rolls into slices approximately 1/2 cm thick and put on an oven tray covered with baking paper.
- Bake for approximately 15 minutes. The cookies should at most be very lightly brown.
- Let cool of and preserve in a cookie jar. The biscuits remain fresh this way for two to three weeks.