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Gingerbread Folks by Dreena Burton, plant-powered kitchen

Gingerbread Folks

A variation on the holiday classic, these cookies have a slight chewiness and crunch, with a delicious, lightly spiced flavor.
Course Cookies, Dessert

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups + 1 tbsp sifted spelt flour see note
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 + 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • ¾ tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp allspice
  • 1/3 cup organic extra-virgin coconut oil at room temperature so softened, or can use organic canola oil (see note)
  • 1/2 cup unrefined sugar
  • 2 tbsp molasses blackstrap or regular cooking molasses
  • 2 tbsp non-dairy milk see note
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup

Simple Gingerbread Icing

  • 1 cup powdered sugar see note
  • 1½ - 2 tbsp vanilla non-dairy milk 'non-dairy nog' is very nice here!

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and allspice. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the coconut oil, sugar, molasses, milk, and maple syrup, beating on medium speed for several minutes until creamy, and stopping to scrape the bowl as needed. Mixing at low speed, add the dry mixture about 1⁄2 cup at a time, over about a minute or so. Continue blending until the dough comes together in one or two balls on the paddle, separating cleanly from the inside of the mixing bowl. Transfer to a clean, dry countertop. Roll out the dough to about 1⁄4 inch thick. (If you are having trouble rolling the dough—if it is sticking—sandwich the dough between two sheets of parchment paper and roll your pin on top of the parchment, instead of directly on the dough.) If the dough has become too pliable (this may happen if your room is slightly warm), transfer to the fridge for 10 to 15 minutes to firm slightly. Once rolled fairly evenly to 1⁄4 inch thick, use cookie cutters to cut the dough into shapes. A spatula (offset or regular) will help lift the cookies off your counter and to the prepared baking sheet. Space the cookies at least an inch or so apart. Bake for 10 to 11 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on the pan for at least a couple of minutes. The cookies will firm more as they cool, and even more after they are chilled. Refrigerate the cookies in an airtight container. Decorate as desired, such as with the simple gingerbread icing.

To prepare the icing: In a bowl, mix the sugar with 11⁄2 tablespoons of the milk, until very smooth. Add the extra 1⁄2 tablespoon or so of milk, if needed, to thin mixture to a soft enough consistency that can be squeezed through a piping or resealable plastic bag (snip one corner if using a plastic bag). After decorating the gingerbread, allow the icing to dry on the cookies before stacking.

Recipe Notes

  • Note: I use Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Powdered Sugar, which is powdered sugar made from unrefined cane sugar (rather than icing sugar that is made from white refined sugar). If you cannot find organic powdered sugar, you can easily make your own. To do so, use a blender and combine about 1¼ - 1½ cups of unrefined sugar with 1 tbsp of arrowroot powder or cornstarch. Blend on a high speed until powdery, scraping down the jug once or twice. The arrowroot or cornstarch may not be needed with a very high-powered blender such as a Vita-mix.
  • If This Apron Could Talk: I like the size this batch of dough makes—enough for fifteen or more cookie cutouts. If, however, you prefer to bake in larger quantities, simply double this recipe and bake the cookies in batches. Finish cutting all of your cookies, and then refrigerate the shapes until ready to bake the next batch . . . or refrigerate the dough first and cut out only one batch’s worth at a time as they bake.
  • Note: If you are refrigerating the dough for more than 30 to 40 minutes, it will need to soften briefly at room temperature to roll out, as the coconut oil hardens when cooled.
  • Ingredients 411: Any nondairy milk can be used, though I like the hint of flavor a soy nog gives to the batter!