I haven't seen many healthy vegan Christmas recipes for gingerbread, but since it's one of my favorite Christmas (or any time) treats I have gone through a lot of experimentation to come up with the best vegan gingerbread recipe.
It's a bit trickier than some other recipes, but creates the perfect texture for cutouts or houses. If you're feeling really daring, you can make gingerbread ornaments for your tree.
Phil's parents are in a jazz vocal quartet called 'After Four' and they were rehearsing while I filmed this today.
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 12-15 minutes
Time from start to eating: 42-45 minutes
Makes 30-40 cookies, or 1 gingerbread house.
Click for video transcription
This transcription will have some mistakes because it is partially automated.
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I don’t know if you guys can hear in the background there but that’s Phil’s parents practicing their vocal Christmas songs for their concert coming up this week.
I am pretty excited to go and watch them and what I’m doing is while they practice I hang in the kitchen making some vegan gingerbread, one of my favourite Christmas treats even though I make it throughout the year because I love it that much.
But when it starts to get really snowy outside that’s when I really want to make some vegan gingerbread. So I am looking out at a winter wonderland, the snow is falling. It’s gorgeous and I’ve got my gingerbread started.
So what I do is start in a pot because we’re gonna heat those recipe up. It is a fantastic recipe that works really well for cut outs. You can make them into ornaments, you can make them it to a house, whatever you like.
So you’re gonna start with half a cup of brown rice or maple syrup and what I do is I just fill the cup up halfway with that and then fill the rest with molasses.
You can use the light flavoured molasses or black strap whichever you prefer. Then you’re going to add a pinch of salt, I know they’re cookies but you do need a little bit of salt to bring the flavours together and also to help the action of the baking soda once we add it.
Spices that are going in here: Number one ginger, they’re gingerbread! You gotta add some ground ginger then cinnamon, all spice and a little bit of cloves.
Now if you don’t have cloves or if you really can’t stand cloves you can leave them out or you can add a little bit of black pepper, add a bit more all spice but I find the flavorism, I don’t like cloves on its own necessarily, but altogether, wonderful!
So you’re gonna stir this together really well. So there’s all of our spices in the pot, and I’m just gonna stir it around and mix it thoroughly into the molasses and syrup.
Then you’re gonna put this on to the stove and actually bring it to a boil. So keep an eye on it. Make sure it doesn’t burn on the bottom. You can see how much more liquid this is now that it is heated up.
So to this we’re gonna add some coconut oil, one of my favourite oils for baking makes excellent substitute for butter because it is a saturated fat.
Let’s scoop out any last little bits of molasses from the cup. And the recipe calls for half a cup of coconut oil. You can use less if you wish. I usually use a bit less than that, and then stir it through here and because coconut oil is solid you wanna stir it through until it melts.
Smells lovely! Ok. Now, comes my favourite part of this recipe we’re gonna add the baking soda and your gonna add one teaspoon. This is a half teaspoon measure so we got two halves there. And then you’re gonna stir it in and watch as it expands as the baking soda starts to act. Make sure you get any chunks of baking soda broken up.
Ok. It’s the heat and the salt that is making this baking soda puff up like this. Ok. Once you get it mix in don’t stir it just let the air expand there.
So there is our wet section of the recipe. Now, you’re going to add the flour to make into a cooking batter and what you should use is a whole grain flour. I listed “Spelt” in the recipe although you can use any kind of whole grain you can find, whole wheat if that’s all you can find is ok.
Spelt is good just because it’s a different grain than we normally eat. Any type of flour will work pretty well. I would probably not use brown rice flour in this recipe just because it’s quite grainy and it doesn’t really go very well with the vegan gingerbread.
So measure out your flour put it right into the pot and then stir it- stir it into come up with your dough. Ok. A good idea is you only add part of the flour at first and make sure you have enough liquid because certain flours can act differently depending on how they’re ground, depending on how the wet ingredients are working together, depending on the moisture in the air, depending on all kinds of factors.
The ratio what to dry in your recipe can chance slightly so what I’m gonna do is add probably two and a half cups to start. Let’s see how that goes. I can always add more flour as I go but I can’t really take it out so start with that and see how it goes.
Vegan gingerbread dough is quite dry so don’t be worried if your texture looking like this, this is about perfect and this is actually my two and a half cups so I may need to add more flour as I roll but that was a pretty good amount for this today.
Ok. After a certain point what you need to do is get in there with your hands and just bring it together and make sure first of all you have clean hands. Yes we do!
And then make sure that it will hold together in a ball to see how solid that is, that’s good! And I can probably work more flour into that but I like the texture, as long as it doesn’t stick to your hands, using less flour gonna be better because it will make for a softer cookie.
Another important thing to keep in mind is that you don’t wanna over mix this batter, it helps to put it in the fridge so let it rest so if you want to at this point you can divide the batter into halves.
You’ll be working with half, the other half you can put into a plastic wrap or wax paper or whatever you like to use put that in the fridge and let it rest. Ok! It’s not necessary; it just helps the vegan gingerbread make a softer texture.
So when you’re rolling out cookies what you wanna do is sprinkle some flour onto your board. Phil’s mom has this lovely marble cutting board that is perfect for rolling out cookies. You can put it in the freezer when you’re working with things that need to be chilled.
And then you get your dough here and it doesn’t hurt to sprinkle the top of the dough with flour as well as sprinkling your rolling pin with flour.
Ok. So, we’re getting things rolled out here. Now if you do a thicker cookie it will be softer, if you do a thinner cookie it will be crispier so it’s up to you as how thin or thick you make your cookies. I like to do about, I’m really bad in measurement but I would say that that is like a quarter to a half of inch.
Somewhere in there is where I usually do my cookies, so you got it rolled out and then you take your cutters and press them into the dough.
I usually like to do a variety of different cookie cutters but I only have one right now, the man! And then they should lift easily out when you floured the counter or the board otherwise you use like a spatula to lift them out and then you’re gonna put that on a cookie sheet.
Once you get all of the pieces up and out you put the leftovers back together into a ball. Re-flour your board because it will get sticky and then roll it out again and repeat.
Once you get all your little men or women cut out then it’s time to decorate them if you wish and rather than using icing and sprinkles and stuff like that, you can make them healthy by decorating with raisins for eyes. You can use peanuts for some buttons. Cranberries are also nice, some red buttons and just press them a little bit into the vegan gingerbread and as it bakes they’ll work their way in there.
If you’re making decorations this would be the time to make a decor, to make a hole in them. What I mean to say is as if you’re making ornaments out of your cookies and what you can do is take a fork or a knife or something like that and just make a hole, fork is a little bit difficult because it wants to make multiple holes. Toothpick would probably be the best job, best tool for this job.
So you’re gonna pop your gingerbread into the ones and at 300 degrees they take about 12-15 minutes. You want to wait until you really smell the scent of the gingerbread coming out of the oven that’s really the best way to tell if these are done if you can smell them.
Then once they are done you get to take them out, let them cool on the tray a little bit first, otherwise they’ll be very tender, delicate if you will.
I know they’re men but yes they are still delicate. Then you will take your little men off, put them on a cooling rack to let them cool and then they are ready to eat.
Get creative with the toppings there are lots of good ideas out there. Slivered almonds are an excellent one as well.
So I hope you enjoy your beautiful vegan gingerbread cookies. Most people when I bring these gingerbread cookies can’t tell at all that they are vegan and they are also blown away when I tell them they’re actually healthy cookies made with whole grain flour, low fat and low in sugar.
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