This month’s IMBB#10: Cookie Swap is hosted by the domestic goddess. I’ve heard of these cookie swap parties but have never actually participated in one. I always thought that if I were invited to such a party, the cookies I’d take would be either crescents or ginger shortbread. But as I was typing “ginger shortbread”, I realized that even though crescents are fantastic, there is really no contest. So… ginger shortbread it is!
Although… crescents have a been a part of Christmas feasts for all of my life. I adore crescents – made with ground almonds and butter and coated with icing sugar – they almost melt in the mouth. My mother uses the same dough to make cherry snowballs; she rolls the hot cookies in fine sugar so that they sparkle like snowballs. But I am not a fan of maraschino cherries. They leave a bad taste in my mouth; I was tormented for years with the false accusation of having stolen several cherry snowballs, eaten just the outsides and hidden the offending cherries behind the chesterfield… but that’s another story altogether! By all means, make cherry snowballs if you like them; I’m not going to for this party.
Ginger shortbread cookies are relatively new to me. Mom always made a similar shortbread without the ginger. I love that too. It is a little similar in flavour to the Scottish-style shortbread we make though. A couple of years ago, I was thinking about Mom’s shortbread and I suddenly decided that we needed something similar – with fresh ginger added. I searched around on the net and found a very promising looking recipe on the CBC Radio Holiday Cookie Contest Winner page. I made them without the chocolate (adding chocolate seems like overkill). And yes, without the chocolate, they are still winners! So, as I said before, ginger shortbread it is! Because we don’t yet have a digital camera (and the minor detail that I haven’t made the cookies yet – probably won’t do so until mid December), the drawing will have to do.
Made with brown sugar and fresh ginger, these cookies are brilliant. The ginger is not overpowering but adds just the right tone and makes them different enough in flavour from regular shortbread. They are the soft kind of shortbread rather than the chunky Scottish style that is cut in squares (we make that kind too). I know that I say in the recipe to use a 2 inch star shaped cookie cutter, but this year, I’m going to make them all with the 1 inch star shaped cookie cutter. We’ve found that after a big dinner, we just don’t want to eat as many cookies as we used to. So the small size is perfect. They make good gifts too. Last year, I packed some up in a wax-paper lined Christmas card box – the kind with the clear plastic top. I tied a festive ribbon around the box to keep the top on. The wax paper allows one to see the cookies. I have to say it was a beautiful little present.