If you follow me on Instagram (which, duh, you should!) then you know I took a bit of a break last week. I was having a lot of kitchen disasters and overall losing confidence in my baking game. While I cannot say that those feelings have gone for certain I think taking a break from your passion can once in a while be refreshing. I still baked lots and lots but didn't stress about how it looked, lighting, or all those little pieces that my perfectionist brain stresses over. So HEY, I missed you. Let's talk cookies.
The second that Halloween is over, commercial and personal enterprises alike launch into the holiday season.
For our American brethren this is heightened by the fact that American Thanksgiving is in November and kicks off the Holiday season of food, food and...food. And family. And football. Lots of FFFF's.
In Canada this is true but to a lesser extent as we had our thanksgiving in October. But lo and behold two weeks before Halloween is even over the stores are cranking out their holiday garb and the sleigh bells begin to ring-a-ling!
Personally, I am A-OK with it. Despite never having celebrated many of these holidays growing up as a full-fledged adult human being nothing brings me more joy than snow fall, warm beverages, fancy desserts and all the singing, baking and holiday joy the season can muster!
What does this have to do with anything? VALID QUESTION! And I will happily oblige, of course.
The mainstay of holiday bake-a-thons, gatherings and parties. I think cookies get their fair share of glory all year round but the winter holidays, to me, well, that is true cookie season. All the coolest cookies come out to play and one of the hallmark holiday cookies for me are cut-out cookies! Be they chocolate, vanilla bean or gingerbread -- the cut-out cookie allows us the base with which we can cut fun holiday shapes and decorate them with friends and family.
There is pretty much nothing healthy about THOSE cookies. Their ability to be pliable enough to roll out and cut and bake flat and crunchy enough to decorate with cookies is founded in the holy trinity of flour, butter and gluten.
Eep. My eyes and heart say yes and my tummy says nay. What is a cookie loving gal to do?
I present to you the cure for your holiday woes: The ultimate. The quintessential. THE GINGERBREAD COOKIE. Without the refined sugar, butter and other additives of course. All of the crisp sweet wonder of your favourite cut-out cookies that roll out just the way they should. Cut out whatever shapes you want -- holiday or anti-holiday (ya scrooges!) if you prefer.
These. Are. Perfection. The sweet fragrant smelling dough rolls out like a dream and they really could not be easier to make. Treat them just like you would your beloved holiday cookie and decorate them with your favourite icing!
P.S If chocolate roll-out cookies are your thing I made some healthy ones over here! And that recipe goes over my gluten free flour preferences, too!
Healthy Gingerbread Cookies
Yields Approximately 24 Cookies
Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free, Vegan
- 2 cups gluten free all purpose flour blend - I use my own or Bobs Red Mill 1 to 1 Baking Flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon cloves
- 3 teaspoons vanilla extract or 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 2 large eggs or 2 'flax eggs' (2 tablespoons flax seed mixed and gelled with 6 tbsp water)
- 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
- 2/3 cup coconut sugar, organic cane sugar or granulated sweetener of choice
- 2 tablespoons organic black-strap molasses
*Protein note: For a high protein version of the recipe substitute 1/2 cup of the gluten free flour for equal amounts of a brown rice protein powder
* A word about flour -- as I go back and re-test recipes with the new Bobs Red Mill mix I notice the flour really makes a huge difference! Have extra flour handy just in case! Your mixture should be a nice soft dough.
- In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, spices and mix gently
- In a large mixing bowl add your sweeteners, flax egg/egg, vanilla and coconut oil
- Blend your sweetener mixture until fully combined
- Add in 1/3 of your flour mixture at a time until your mixture is fully combined -- it will be sticky!
- Scrape dough from bowl and wrap ball of dough in wax paper or plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 1 hour
- When ready to roll out cookies preheat oven to 350 F
- Roll out dough onto a floured surface to 1/4 inch in thickness and cut out desired shapes as close together as possible*
- Re-roll scraps and repeat the process, refrigerating in between only if dough becomes to warm
- Bake each batch for 8 - 10 minutes or until the edges are golden brown and the cookies no longer appear 'wet' - leave in for an addition 2-4 minutes for a crispier cookie
- Cool on a wire rack for 30 - 60 minutes before decorating
- Store in an airtight container for 2-3 days
*The thinner you roll these cookies the crunchier they will be! For a softer cookie simply roll the dough out thicker
*Fun tip: Use a straw to poke a hole at the tops of your cookies if you want to hang them as ornaments!
This dough is really easy to work with. A lot easier than traditional cookie dough for roll out cookies. It's a lot more forgiving!
And it's quite lovely all on it's own!
Or stacked high in a pile with friends.
The dough is fairly sticky at first. But it firms up nicely. In general, gluten free doughs, batters and other things have a different consistency from what you are used to!
But ahh....they are so cute. Even when tragedy strikes!
These cookies make me oh so happy. And the decorating opportunities are ENDLESS! Dip them in chocolate, colour the dough different colours, cut them into fun shapes, draw faces on them, cover them in ordinary icing -- do whatever you want to! They are crispy and crunchy and sweet and delicious. Yum yum yum!
Of course you don't HAVE to cut little gingerbread men and women...but I definitely suggest you DO IT!
Best part is because they are much healthier for you than the usual sugar cookies you can share them with everyone! They are a perfectly spiced natural alternative to conventional gingerbread cookies -- and MUCH MUCH MUCH tastier than 'healthy' brands of gingerbread cookies I have tried. Which, let's face it, lots of gluten free goodies are mostly...yucky.
And you don't HAVE to only do gingerbread men. How about ginger-bears! Oh the cute!
You will be able to join the ranks of the ultimate holiday cookie crew but you will be like, that posh hipster one that made healthy delicious cookies and everyone will want to know all your secrets.
I did decorate my cookies with royal icing and dark chocolate and other fun things. Royal icing is not, in general, vegan. But in that case you can just use a simple glaze recipe or melted chocolate and other candies to decorate! Sky is the limit.
What do you think of the holidays? I can be a scrooge sometimes but I love me some themed things. I am all about the dollar stores for dun decor items for pretty much every holiday. It's only the beginning of November and I am already plotting all the stores I will visit to stock up on fun Christmas things.
Do you do the same? Do you bake cookies for the holidays? Cookie exchanges with family and friends? If you DO do a cookie exchange...how about these all boxed up for a gluten free or vegan friend?!
TELL ME SOME STUFF! I MISSED YOU!
And Happy Healthy Holiday Cookie Cookin'!