Saturday, December 12, 2009

Gingerbread Cutout Cookies

Davan loves making gingerbread. It's something she really looks forward to at Christmas time, so I knew I'd be putting "Let's make gingerbread!" in the Advent calendar at some point, but I wasn't sure how it would go this year. The difference is that this year we're sugar free at home and we're not using oil, either. Now I've made many desserts that have stayed sugar and oil free, but I wasn't sure how the gingerbread would turn out as such.

With great trepidation, knowing that today was the day on the Advent plan, I started trolling the web for gingerbread cookie recipes to modify a couple days ago. Concurrently, I started thinking about how to decorate the suckers. We have always decorated then baked as opposed to iced after baking. What we've used is colored sugar, chocolate chips and little candies meant for decorating. Only chocolate chips (vegan and grain sweetened) are still something we eat, although we did still have some colored sugar left over from last year I had yet to dispose of.

First, I found a recipe and mentally adapted it. Then, last night, decorating ideas came to me, so I ran out this morning to pick up a couple of things to supplement what we had on hand.

Davan was so excited to make gingerbread. Here she and her dad are decorating (I did all the cutting out):

And here I am, pulling a sheet out of the oven:

Here's the dough recipe (which we doubled to have plenty to share with vegan friends tomorrow when we go to their house for lighting the Advent candles):

1 individual serving of applesauce or about 1/3 cup
3/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/4 cup cold water
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups whole grain spelt flour
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
a sprinkle of salt

First, combine the dry ingredients. Then, in a separate bowl, combine the wet ingredients. Mix together and go. Refrigeration doesn't seem to be necessary here, unlike with most cut out cookies, but we still did for a bit while we gathered our toppings.

We used:

chopped up dried unsweetened cherries
vegan, grain sweetened chocolate chips
cacao nibs
fruit leather - three different flavors for different colors, although they are so close it didn't end up making much difference - which we cut up into shapes as desired
blanched slivered almonds
chopped raw pistachios
cashew pieces
cut up Panda Black Licorice
cut up Panda raspberry confection (both of these ended up a little brown when cut rather than the black and red I'd been hoping for)

All-in-all, the cookies turned out to be a little monochromatic, but very cute. They taste pretty darn good (although we're used to our goodies not being too sweet) and are very cake-like.

Here are some of them all done:

Oh, and I offered Davan the use of the colored sugar, just asking that not use it on all of them because I just don't knowingly eat sugar, but she said, "Let's just not. Let's throw it away." Cool kid.

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