Perfect Vegan Christmas Gingerbread Cookies Recipe
Christmas is coming!!! Many would say it’s the most wonderful time of the year. Unfortunately for vegans/ vegetarians, it is just a time during the year in which we are constantly flaunted with foods we cannot enjoy. It sucks because we don’t want to be excluded because of our choices on what we eat? It should not be like that.
Well now it doesn’t have to be!!
I don’t know about you guys but when I hear Christmas, I think Gingerbread. Growing up ginger bread was a must have for the family, mostly because we wanted to leave some for Santa!
This is going to be my first vegetarian Christmas but I’m not worried at all. I already have a plan, and I have all the recipes dialed in for everyone who wants them! Let’s dive right in!!
What Is Gingerbread? Where Does It Come From?
Lets start off, with an excerpt from The Spruce, “An early form of gingerbread can be traced to the ancient Greeks and Egyptians who used it for ceremonial purposes. Gingerbread made an appearance in Europe when 11th-century Crusaders brought back ginger from the Middle East for the aristocrats’ cooks to experiment with. As ginger and other spices became more affordable to the masses, gingerbread caught on.”, Its funny how food used to travel during those times.
After doing my own research, and asking around in my chef community; I found out some really good information! These particular cookies date back long before their first appearance in Europe, but we will start here, in the 11th century.
At first, these cookies were literally made with left overs. Stale bread crumbs, broken almonds, r1osewater, sugar and their newly obtained ginger. The paste that was made from this mixture was then forced into wooden molds, and cooked off. Once cooked, cookies were then carved from the ginger block, then served to high society as decorated delicacies. Decorations were used to bring out certain details in these cookies, some used a very thin white icing and others used edible gold painting! I imagine the gold was only used in royalty, and people that could afford it.
Fast forward to the 16th century. The recipe is beginning to evolve into a more refined treat. They replace the old bread crumbs with flour, and added eggs and sweeteners to develop a lighter more pleasing cookie. It was Queen Elizabeth the 1st who is the sole inventor of the Gingerbread Man!
I was shocked!! These cookies are royalty! All she was trying to do was entertain her dinner guests!! During this time, the gingerbread man was a symbol of love. Now, isn’t that sweet.
These cookies were so aromatic they were actually used to cover up the smell of decaying meat. So that goes to show they had a wide variety of uses.
In present time, Gingerbread takes on a number of different flavors, shapes and sizes. In some countries like Russia, Croatia, Poland, and America; Gingerbread is considered an art form. For once there might be some people that take food more seriously than me!! There are literally groups of people, called guilds, that are sanctioned by the government to make Gingerbread! Don’t worry, were going to leave the government out of this.
Then came the Gingerbread house. Most likely a response to Hansel and Gretel in the 19th century, this recipe has become even more of an art form. Unfortunately, I’m not going to build a gingerbread house. But I will give you some bang up recipes!!
Gingerbread Cookie Tricks and Tips
Gluten free or Whole Wheat Options
Featuring some in your face flavors like molasses, ginger, clove and cinnamon; It is very easy to use healthier flours and get away with it. Whole wheat is a good substitute for people that can handle gluten, but want to eat a little better. For people that prefer gluten-free, we got you! Bobs 1-to-1 Gluten-Free Flour is a perfect option to use my restaurant quality recipes, not have to convert anything, and maintain your diet!
Chill the Dough
With these recipes, it is imperative to chill the dough completely (2 Hours) before rolling out. The reason being, when Gingerbread gets warm it will stick to everything! Make sure the dough is cold!
Working The Dough
When rolling out the dough, be sure to do the bare minimum to get it where you want it. You don’t want to over work the dough. It will result in a tougher cookie. I will show you an easy technique in just a minute.
Once the dough is rolled out, you have a couple options. You can go basic, and use basic cookie cutters to get more cookies out of your dough. Then there is the unique cookie cutters, these shapes will look awesome and wow guests, but you will get less actual cookies. There is no right or wrong way, just do what you want. Either way, you need to map out how you are going to optimize your cutting. One way to really get the most out of your dough it to use different shapes. Cut your main shapes, and squeeze some smaller shapes the extra spaces.
Keeping it Fresh
These style of cookies tend to go stale quicker than others. So once they are cooled down, it is best practice to keep them in an airtight container or bag. You can still display them at a gathering or party, but while they are not on display; store them properly. If you have a bunch of cookies, place layers of wax paper in between the cookies and stack them.
Even though you chill the dough, it is best practice to take other measures when working with ginger bread dough. Lightly flour the surface you will be working on, this flour will not be on the final product. Another measure to take is to spray your cutters with pan coating. It doesn’t have to be much, a light spray will keep the gingerbread at bay.
Probably the best part of gingerbread cookies, the decoration!
Make sure the cookies are completely cool before decorating. A simple icing of non-dairy milk and confectioners (powdered) sugar is perfect. I spice my icing up with a little orange zest and cinnamon. You can flavor yours with what ever you want, or keep it simple.
Freeze for Ease
If you are pressed for time plan ahead and make the dough prior to when you actually need it. The dough can last in the fridge for 3 days and in the freezer for three months.
- Stand Mixer or Hand Mixer
- Paddle Attachment
- Rubber Spatula
- Vessels for Ingredients
- Rolling Pin
- Knife or Bench Scraper
- Cookie Cutters
- Sheet Tray
- Wax paper or Silicone Baking Mat
- Cooling Rack (optional)
Vegan Icing for Gingerbread Cookies
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
- 1 lb. (450g) Powdered Sugar
- 3 Tbsp (45g) Vegan Butter
- ¼ Cup (60ml) Soy Milk or Almond Milk
- 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1 ea Orange, Zested (optional)
- Using a mixer or hand mixer, combine all ingredients in a bowl except for half of the milk.
- Once fully combine, add the rest of milk slowly until combined. Depending on powdered sugar you may need a touch more milk. This icing is for decorating gingerbread, so it will be thick!
Gingerbread Cookie Recipe ( Vegan Butter)
Prep Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Cook Time : 8-12 Minutes
- 2/3 cup (145g) Vegan Butter
- ¾ cup (150g) Dark brown sugar
- 2/3 cup (200g) Molasses
- ¼ Cup Unsweetened applesauce
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
- 3 ½ cups (437g) All-Purpose Flour or Bobs 1-to-1 Gluten-Free Flour
- 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 1 Tablespoon Ground ginger
- 1 Tablespoon Ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon Ground allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon Ground cloves
- I recommend using a stand mixer or a hand mixer for this recipe. Whip the butter for a minute on low, to make sure it’s nice and soft.
- Now add brown sugar and molasses, and beat on high. Make sure to beat this until the ingredients are fully incorporated and the butter is fluffy, then turn off.
- Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, then add the applesauce and vanilla extract. Beat mixture on high for a minute or two max. If the butter breaks it is ok, the recipe will still work.
- In a separate mixing bowl combine the flour, baking soda, and spices. Mix thoroughly to ensure even distribution in your dough.
- Turn the mixer on low, and add the dry mixture into the wet ingredients little by little until fully incorporated. This dough should be thick and a little sticky.
- Lightly dust the work surface with flour, and then take dough out of mixer. To make it easier in the next steps, divide the dough into 2 or 3 pieces. Lightly dust the outside of each dough, very lightly! Wrap in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator. Chill the dough for at least 2 hours.
- Preheat the oven 350°F (180°C). Line the sheet tray with parchment paper or silicone mat.
- Remove 1 portion of dough from the fridge, flour the work surface generously, and remove plastic .
- Roll out dough portion until it is evenly spread out and ¼ in thick. You may need to flour the surface again depending on the dough. Its ok if you need more flour to prevent sticking.
- Once rolled out, cut your desired shapes. Place shapes on the lined baking tray 1 inch apart minimum. You can re roll the scraps if you want to maximize cookies but the re-rolled cookies will be a touch tougher. Most people won’t notice, I do because I’m cursed. Repeat this process until the dough is gone.
- Bake the cookies for 8 minutes and then check. Depending on the size they may take longer. Just check every minute or so after 8. You may also need to rotate your tray depending on your oven. You know your oven better than me.
- Allow cookies to cool for 5 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack (optional). Store cookies in an airtight container to maximize freshness.
This next recipe is seriously going to rock your world. These cookies are the healthiest out there. No butter, no oil, and easily converted to gluten-free. You can eat a whole tray and not feel bad about it! Enjoy your Christmas.
Healthy Low-Fat Gingerbread Cookies
Prep Time: 5 Minutes
- 3 Cups All Purpose Flour or Bobs 1-to-1 Gluten-Free Flour
- 2 teaspoons Cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons Ground Ginger
- 1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon Ground Cloves
- ½ teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon Sea Salt
- 1 ½ teaspoons Baking Soda
- 1 ½ teaspoons Baking Powder
- ¼ Cup Silken Tofu
- ¾ Cup Molasses
- 1 Cup Brown Sugar
- 2 Tbsp Maple Syrup
- ¼ Cup Unsweetened Applesauce
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
***I know it seems like a lot of ingredients but this recipe is so simple!! Just keep reading!This recipe defies the laws of baking!
- Mix all the dry ingredients together, and mix thoroughly.
- In a separate bowl, mix the rest of the ingredients. Really try to break that tofu down. I used animmersion blender, and it worked well.
- Gradually, incorporate the dry mixture into the wet mixture. It took me about 3 batches or so. This mixture will get thick, I suggest using a wooden spoon or sturdy rubber spatula.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Once fully incorporated, scoop little balls from the dough. I used a .75 ounce scoop. Place the balls onto a lined baking sheet. Flatten the balls a touch by slightly pressing down on them on the tray. **Sprinkle a little extra sugar onto the cookies, if you want. I used turbinado sugar.
- Once the oven is preheated, bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Keep a watchful eye after 8 minutes.
- Pull cookies out once cooked and let them cool on they tray for a few minutes. Transfer them to a cooling rack for optimal results.
Let me know what you guys think about these recipes. Thank you for reading I appreciate the support!