Christmas Traditions and Vegan Gingerbread Cookies

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Cookies are a big part of Christmas for me and my family. I’m sure that holds true for many families out there. Ever since I can remember my Mum, my sister and I would bake Christmas cookies together. When I moved out I started my own tradition of baking gingerbread cookies and giving them out as gifts. Of course I end up having to bake multiple batches because the first batch never seems to make it out of my kitchen intact.

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The tradition of baking Christmas cookies has not stopped despite neither myself or my sister living at home anymore. We schedule a day every Christmas season to go home to our parents house to decorate their tree and bake the Christmas cookies. Luckily both my sister and myself live only about an hour away from our parents. The tree my parents get every year is a massive real tree, the kind that fills the whole house with that evergreen smells and scratches the ceiling on the way in. After the tree is decorated (under my careful direction, I don’t trust them not to try and hide some of the decorations. I believe every decoration must go on the tree!) we get to the business of baking. Now these cookies are a kind of oatmeal cut out cookie, with nutmeg and cinnamon and just full of deliciousness.

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You have my apologies but I will not be sharing this sacred family recipe. It was passed down from my Gran to my Mum and it is top secret for family eyes only! I don’t even own a copy of the recipe yet, my Mum makes the dough in advance and refrigerates it until my sister and I come by.

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You have my apologies for the less than stellar photo quality I took the pictures on my phone. Sprinkles are an essential part of the cookie baking process. Red and green only. They are also best when dipped in soy milk. They taste like Christmas to me. We blast our favourite childhood Christmas albums (Raffi and Sharon Lois and Bram as well as Fred Penner) and bake away. My sister and I then get to package some up to take home with us.

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While I can’t share our top secret Christmas cookie recipe with you, I can share the recipe for vegan gingerbread cookies. This is the best recipe I have found, it’s from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. An oldie but a goodie. I made a double batch so that I had enough to package up for friends and family while still keeping some to snack on for myself!

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I love all things ginger, a rather recent occurrence. These cookies have a good ginger bite but are still sweet enough to eat without any icing at all. Of course half the fun of making gingerbread cookies is decorating them.

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You can feel free to go to the store and buy the red and green icing you find easily at this time of year. I prefer to make my own icing so that they have a lovely white frosting on them. Less chemicals, more delicious! The cookies are crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. If you prefer your gingerbread cookies more crunchy I would roll the dough nice and thin so that they bake up crispy.

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They certainly aren’t perfect, they wouldn’t win any presentation awards but who cares? It’s Christmas! Christmas to me means, making a mess of your kitchen, decorating cookies however you want, eating lots of raw dough as you go. I don’t like the overly stylized trees and decorations. I like my Christmas a bit messy, our Christmas tree doesn’t have any theme or colour scheme. What it does have is a whole bunch of decorations that hold memories. We’ve started buying decorations when we travel, and the tree has many of my childhood decorations on it. Each one is personal and important to us.

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I like to buy a bunch of Christmas tins at the dollar store and fill them up with cookies. I am going to be spending Christmas eve baking a few other kinds of cookies and cinnamon rolls. That has become another Christmas tradition in my family. I bring cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning for breakfast. Even though it’s going to be 14 degrees celsius tomorrow (What country do I live in again???? Pretty sure we had 14cm of snow this time last year!) I feel plenty Christmassy baking in the kitchen with the Christmas tunes playing and my whole house smelling like gingerbread.

Merry Christmas All!

Vegan Gingerbread Cookies

(If you’re going to be gifting I recommend doubling the recipe!)

  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup plain soy or coconut milk
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger

Directions

  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer using the paddle attachment combine the oil and sugar for approx 3 minutes or until well combined. Add the soy milk and molasses.
  2. Sift in the other dry ingredients. I recommend adding your first cup of flour, followed by the baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon and ginger. Then add the second cup of flour a little bit at a time until the dough has reached the desired consistency (sticking together, but not too wet, very pliable) You may not need the entire second cup of flour.
  3. Flatten the dough into a disc wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour (and up to three days)
  4. Turn oven to 350. Lightly grease two baking sheets or put down parchment paper.
  5. On a lightly floured surface with a floured rolling pin roll the dough to your desired thickness. Cut out your shapes!
  6. Bake for 8min, allow to cool on the baking sheet for 2 min more before moving them to the wire rack.
  7. When they are cool decorate however you want!

 

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