Monday December 22, 2014
How I imagined this going: Maria, Dave, and Bean bent over the kitchen table, cutting out gingerbread men and women, pressing the raw dough with humorous faces and outfits.Oh, haha! This one looks like a nerd with glasses, must be Daddy! Oh my gosh, Bean just picked up the homemaker with hearts for eyes and called it Mommy. Did you get that on video? Wait, I’m pretty sure she just ate the raw cookie whole. Yep, she’s going for her second one. Sweetheart, we have to bake the cookies before you eat them, ha ha ha! Oh, noo! OH, Bean, you are too much. TOO MUCH. Is everyone’s hot cocoa the right temperature? Ok, where were we?
How it went: Bean was still silently getting her breath under control post rolling pin incident when she realized what we were making. And proceeded to shriek in abject terror. Turns out anthropomorphic cookies are NOT OK. I’m thankful Dave whisked her off to the living room before she witnessed the absolute massacre of smiling heads and cute limbs that came next, as I tried to transfer the men and women from the table to their baking sheets. Needless to say, the hot cocoa went cold.
I can’t guarantee you that family fun times will result in the making of these cookies, but I can definitely assure you that this is one robust recipe. I screwed up several things along the way, and I still got a totally delicious, soft yet crunchy, cookie out of it.
(as always, due to food intolerances in the family, this is a vegan-ized version of Gourmet magazine’s Gingerbread Snowflakes.)
2/3 cup molasses
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp baking soda
1 cup Earth Balance shortening sticks (dairy free and soy free)
1 1/2 tsp Ener-G Egg Replacer
2 tbsp warm water
3 3/4 cups flour (plus more for rolling out)
Since I was baking with a toddler (or, attempting to bake with a toddler), I went with a gingerbread man/woman stamp kit rather than deal with vegan royal icing. More on that later.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease cookie sheets (I used Spectrum Vegetable Shortening)
In a small bowl, combine the egg replacer and water. Whisk until you can’t see any particles, set aside. In a large pot, bring molasses, brown sugar, and spices to a boil. Turn off heat. Add in baking soda. Gourmet says the mixture will “foam up.” The mixture will become a foam, I believe is what they meant to say. It’s very strange, but keep going.
Add in the shortening sticks, one tablespoon at a time until it’s all incorporated. You’ll now have a different weird texture, kind of stringy. I’m fairly sure this doesn’t happen with real butter, but it doesn’t matter. Keep going.
Add in the egg replacer/water mixture. The mixture should go back to looking normal.
Add flour, a cup at a time.
Take the batter out onto a floured surface and knead for a minute. Halve it, then start rolling. Make sure not to roll the dough too thin. The cookies should have some heft.
Cut out your shapes. If you’re using a stamp kit like me, transfer the cut-out cookies to the baking sheets and only then stamp them. Otherwise, you may end up with The Great Gingerbread Man Massacre of 2014 like me. The dough will rip where the cookie has been pressed down.
Put them in a middle rack (or, top and bottom, and then switch halfway through) for 10 – 12 minutes.
Proceed to eat them all up before company arrives.
The recipe really works, despite the vegan aspect. I’m beginning to think vegan baking just isn’t that hard. These cookies are terrific, just perfectly spicy but not toooo spicy that they cross over into the realm of a ginger snap. The brown sugar (and absence of white sugar) gives them a mellow sweetness that’s not overpowering at all. They’re just wonderful.