Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Gingerbread Cookies





Gingerbread cookies - especially gingerbread men and women - are traditional for Christmas, and make a great cooking project for children.  My youngest son has always loved them, and even now that he's older, he still enjoys a cookie or two every year during the Holidays.  (Image from blago.net )

This recipe is not as playable as normal wheat doughs, but it can still be successfully rolled out and cut into shapes.  If your children are making these, it might be easier for them to treat this like play dough and just make a series of flattened shapes together on the cookie sheet.

For gingerbread-loving adults, here is a more sophisticated version of this delicious dessert from   sweetgirlconfections.com


Ingredients :

-  1/2 cup molasses
-  1/4 cup of maple syrup or honey
-  1/4 cup of butter
-  1 tablespoon of heavy cream
-  3 cups of blanched almond flour (don't use flour with skins included for this)
-  1/2 teaspoon baking powder
-  1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
-  1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
-  1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
-  1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
-  1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions :
  • Preheat oven to 350'F
  • In a small saucepan, melt the butter.  Add the molasses, maple syrup or honey, and heavy cream and heat over medium heat until combined. Remove and set aside.
  • In a mixing bowl combine the rest of the ingredients.  Pour the saucepan mixture over the top and mix well until thoroughly combined.
  • Form into a ball, wrap in wax paper, and refrigerate for half an hour.
  • Cut two sheets of parchment paper, put the dough in between the two, and then with a rolling pin roll the dough until about 1/4 of an inch thick.
  • Remove the top sheet and cut the dough with your favourite cookie cutters. 
  • Remove carefully with a spatula and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  At this point you can decorate with small pieces of nuts and dried fruit if you wish.
  • Bake for 10 minutes, then cool for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack and allowing to cool completely.
  • If you like you can also further decorate these cookies with an icing made from an egg white and coconut icing sugar.  



thehealthychef.com
Here is another version that I often make with chocolate.  These still have that nice spicy taste and are a little easier to make.  It might seem like a lot of sweetener, but remember it makes a lot of cookies.  Even though you can substitute your favourite sweetener for the suggestions I give, make sure to use molasses as well because this gives a nice rich flavour and helps the dough stick together.

Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies
Makes 4 to 5 dozen

Ingredients :

-  3 cups fine almond flour
-  1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
-  1/2 teaspoon baking soda
-  1 tablespoon ground ginger
-  1 cup soft butter
-  1 cup sweetener (honey, maple syrup or coconut sugar)
-  3/4 cup molasses
-  1 egg

Directions :
  • In a large medium bowl combine the almond flour, cocoa, baking soda and ginger and set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl cream the butter, gradually beating in the sweetener and molasses. Then beat in the egg until well combined.
  • Blend in the dry ingredients.
  • Chill the dough for 2 or 3 hours or until firm enough to roll out.
  • Roll the dough a bit at a time to an 1/8" thickness.  You can use a little almond or coconut flour to lightly flour your board so the dough doesn't stick. 
  • Place your cut out cookies and an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 350'F for 8 to 10 minutes.  Cool slightly before removing from pan and cooling completely on a rack.

      

If you like this recipe you'll find others like it in my Christmas recipe book 10 Easy Christmas Desserts. There are three books in my Christmas Collection and together they will give you all the recipes you will need to have a great holiday season.

You can use the recipe above to make a terrific gingerbread house as well.  (Get complete instructions and a pattern template here.)  You can use the egg white and coconut icing sugar recipe to put together your house, and if you decorate it with dried fruit and nuts rather than lots of candy and icing, it will be a healthy as well as delicious project for bored children who can't wait for Christmas to finally come.

(Image from homemadesimple.com)

 “Life isn't about finding yourself.  Life is about creating yourself.”   - George Bernard Shaw



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