Monday, December 10, 2012

Gingerbread Vegans

Happy Chanukah to those of you who celebrate!

This recipe comes from Shmooed Food, a blog written by Jennifer McCann, and featured in one of her books, Vegan Lunchbox. I bought Vegan Lunchbox many years ago. I was dating someone at the time who was a very picky eater, and I thought this book might offer me some good solutions. It has some really great recipes, good for kids and adults alike! I especially like a lot of the relatively simple, but tasty snack ideas, and the baked goods. I'm not a big fan of egg replacer, a common ingredient used in vegan baking. It can be very chalky tasting, and it makes for very dense baked goods, not things I much care for. This recipe, like most of my favorite baking recipes, avoids the use of egg replacer, which if you ask me is a very, very good thing.

I grew up eating gingerbread around the holidays, and I love the taste! I actually first made these cookies at a friend's house on Christmas, complete with lots of snowflake shapes, gingerbread men, Christmas trees, Santa Clauses and reindeer. They were so good I thought I'd adopt them as my own holiday tradition, so I now make Chanukah gingerbread vegans for my family and friends!

Gingerbread Vegans

The recipe says it makes about 2-3 dozen, I find it usually makes at least 3 dozen (it all depends on the size of your cookies!)

What You'll Need:

1/3 cup non-hydrogenated margarine (I like to use Earth Balance), at room temperature

1 cup packed golden brown sugar
1 cup sweet unsulphured molasses
3/4 cup water
6 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp allspice

What You'll Need to Do:

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or (as in my case) in a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer, cream together the margarine, brown sugar, molasses, and 1/2 cup of water.

In a medium size bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and allspice. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, adding just enough of the water to form a dough that holds together well.

Form the dough into four equal balls. Wrap each ball with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

When you're ready to make your cookies, preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line some baking sheets with parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.

Working with one ball at a time, roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin. Roll the dough about 1/4 inch thick and use cookie cutters to cut out your shapes. Use a spatula to transfer the cookies to the prepared cookie sheets, placing them about 1 inch apart.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the surface is relatively firm. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, then decorate with Gingerbread Vegan Icing.

Gingerbread Vegan Icing

makes about 3/4 cup, enough to decorate all your cookies!
What You'll Need:
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tbsp Silk Nog or 1 tbsp water
Food coloring (optional)

What You'll Need to Do:

Combine powdered sugar and vanilla. Add Silk Nog or water in slowly, stirring well with a small spatula and using just enough liquid to form a smooth icing. It should be soft enough to squeeze easily out of a piping bag, but not so runny that it runs out! Add food coloring, if desired. Transfer the icing to a piping bag (or a resealable sandwich bag with a very small hole cut in the tip of the corner to squeeze the icing out) and decorate the cookies as desired.

This is a relatively simple recipe, but ultimately quite time-consuming--I recommend making them with friends and family, if there are two of you it will go twice as fast and be (depending on your helper) twice as fun!

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