I have had a serious hankering for gingerbread, which is ironic because I never used to like it. I find that since I officially hit middle age with the recent celebration of my (fill in the blank) birthday, there are changes within myself that I cannot seem to control.
- I now have to remove my glasses to read something up close.
- I need mega doses of drugs to get over a common cold.
- I can no longer say, what up?
- I actually prefer a minivan to a sedan.
- I take medication that I have seen advertised on TV.
- Low rise jeans…well let’s not go there.
- It seems that I like gingerbread.
I have always backed away from gingerbread for a few reasons. First, I never really liked the taste of ginger, and from a philosophical standpoint, I always associated gingerbread men with Christmas and felt it was a wee bit “sacrilegious” to eat them. Recently, I spotted a box of cute, chubby gingerbread men on the store shelf and I only bought it because it was baked in a dedicated nut-free facility. The product is Mi-Del, and so on a whim I decided to try them out to see if my allergic son would like them.
Needless to say, I became totally addicted to them. I loved the crunch, and the gingery kick, though these were a wee bit to…”kicky,” but most of all, (and I am embarrassed to admit this), I loved biting their little heads off. Perhaps this sadistic tendency can also be chalked up to middle age. Who knows?
I liked the cookies, but I thought I could do better…with a little less kick. So, I decided to cast aside all of my pre-conceived notions regarding gingerbread and focus my baking prowess on the GingerBees, the stalwarts of freedom because they too deserve a strong, kicky cookie to remind us of their bravery. I mean, who said there was a religious monopoly on gingerbread? Right? Besides, the gingerbread cookie isn’t as meek and gentle as the sugar cookie, therefore, the Maccabee heads don’t fall off until you are ready to bite them off. Those who have baked Hanukka sugar cookies know of what I speak. How many countless Maccabee heads had to suffer?
So, I bring this awesome gingerbread cookie recipe to you adapted from The Eat Clean Diet for Men Book.
Go ahead, bite someone’s head off…you will feel so much better.
PS-These are egg, nut, and dairy free (and they can be made gluten free as well)
GingerBees (and othe assorted shapes)
1/3 cup canola oil (you can also use coconut oil)
½ cup Sucanat (this stands for Sugar Cane Natural, much healthier than regular sugar because it is unprocessed, doesn’t spike blood sugar and adds to the molasses flavor of the cookie)
¼ unsweetened organic applesauce
½ cup + 2 TBSP Blackstrap molasses
1 ½ cup unbleached all purpose flour
1 ¼ cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour (you can use 2 ¾ spelt or almond for gluten sensitive)
1 tsp. ginger
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. cinnamon
Preheat oven to 325
In a medium mixing bowl, sift the flours, baking soda and spices together.
In a large bowl, combine the sugar and the oil and using a whisk, beat for about two minutes until it is a caramel looking color and fluffy. Then, add the applesauce and molasses and beat.
Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir. As the dough gets stiffer, you will need to use your hands. If the dough is too sticky, add a little more flour (not too much).
Divide the dough into two rounds and wrap in saran wrap. Place in freezer for 1 hour or more.
- Set oven to 325 degrees and line baking sheets w/parchment paper.
- Remove from freezer and let the dough warm up for 5-10 minutes.
- I cut a gallon-size ziploc bag down the side seams so that I can roll the dough inside the bag. Flour a rolling pin and roll out dough to 1/3 “ thickness. Turn the dough clockwise to get all sides. It is so much easier to do this with a Ziploc bag. I find it works much better than plastic wrap or parchment, especially when you have to “peel” the dough sometimes. Then remove the dough perfectly flattened and place it down on a clean surface to use the cookie cutters. The dough can be sticky and you have to work fast. Sprinkle flour generously to prevent sticking.
- Use cookie cutters to shape dough (smaller cookie cutters are best) and place on parchment paper.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes depending on your oven.
- Remove from oven and let cookies cool for about 1-2 minutes
- Slide off baking sheets and place on cooling rack.