Dark maple syrup, with its rich color and deep sweetness stands up well to the assertive spice of ginger. That blend of complex sweetness and assertive spice makes this maple gingerbread men a particularly nice cookie to serve for Christmas cookie swaps and yuletide parties. It's something you can tuck into tins and give to friends, or set on a plate for Santa's visit.
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Which kind of maple?
Maple is a natural pairing for ginger. Its rich flavor and subtle woodsy notes marry beautifully with the fiery, assertive flavor of ginger. It can also stand up well to another traditional gingerbread flavor: molasses.
Real maple syrup is classified by color which ranges from a light golden to a very deep, dark brown. And flavor corresponds with color. The lighter the syrup, the lighter its flavor, and the darker the syrup, the deeper and more robust its flavor.
So while a light Amber-colored maple syrup does particularly well as a topping for fresh berries, sourdough pancakes or homemade yogurt as well as in maple vinaigrette, dark maple, with its deep flavor, pairs nicely with stronger and more assertive flavors. So while a light maple syrup might get lost between the molasses and ginger in these gingerbread cookies, a dark maple stands up well to these flavors, bringing greater depth of flavor to the cookie.
As a minimally processed, natural sweetener, maple syrup is also richer in micronutrients than refined sweeteners like white sugar. It contains various antioxidants, as well as minerals like manganese, zinc, potassium, calcium and iron.
Maple Gingerbread Men
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Place the fresh ginger, butter, maple sugar, molasses and maple syrup together in a small saucepan set over low heat. Whisk them together until the butter melts, and then turn off the heat.
- Add the flour, powdered ginger, baking soda and sea salt to the bowl of a stand mixer, and then pour the liquid ingredients and the egg into the dry ingredients. Using the paddle attachment, beat the dry ingredients together with the wet ingredients until they form a firm dough.
- Turn the dough out onto a piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap, wrap the dough well and refrigerate it for 1 hour.
- Heat the oven to 350 F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Turn the chilled dough out onto a floured work surface, and roll it out until it's about ¼-inch thick. Cut out the cookies, and place them on the lined baking sheets. Bake the cookies about 10 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool for 5 minutes on their baking sheets, and then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely before serving.