Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Spicy Gingerbread Cookies - vegan

Spicy Gingerbread Cookies

There are those who would say that cookies are not for January. They advocate celery sticks. There are those who would say that gingerbread cookies are not for January. They sequester gingerbread to the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. They are missing out. Also, we're probably not bffs, so they're really missing out.

Luckily, some of us are pro-cookies any time of the year. And, yes, I most definitely fall into that camp as well as the one that believes cookies are acceptable for breakfast, at least some of the time. Mr Official Taster? Well, he could eat (and has!) gingerbread morning, noon, and night.

One of the best things about this recipe (at least from his perspective) is that when I make it, I go big and freeze most of it to pull out for hot 'n fresh weeknight cookies. To make it easier on yourself, freeze the dough into either several smaller portions (defrost, roll out, cut, and bake) OR freeze it into a couple logs so that you can slice off as many cookies as you'd like at a time and simply stick the remainder of the log back in the freezer.

Spicy Gingerbread Cookies

Or, you know, you could make enough to eat morning, noon, and night.

Spicy Gingerbread Cookies - vegan
I'm not sure how many cookies this yield, but a lot. Like 60? or more? If you don't want to make the full batch, just make half and you'll still end up with a good number to nibble. Another option is to add small chunks to Gingerbread Ice Cream. just a thought.

1 C (2 sticks) vegan butter
1 C brown sugar, packed
1/2 C unsweetened applesauce
1 C unsulfered molasses
6 C flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
4 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp finely ground black pepper
1/2 tsp salt

In a large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in applesauce and molasses. You'll want to scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times during these first two steps. In another bowl, whisk or sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices, and salt. Add flour mixture to the wet mixture a bit at a time until it's all combined well. I kept my mixer on low and added the flour mix as it was running.

Decide how many chunks you want to divide your dough into (at least three), and set out the corresponding number of sheets of plastic wrap on your counter (if you have room). When I make the full batch, I usually divide the dough into four portions and freeze three of them for later. Wrap each portion tightly in plastic wrap. Chill the packages you plan on turning into cookies in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. Dough that you want to freeze can go straight into the freezer at this point, and should remain good indefinitely.

When you're ready to make cookies, you have two options. You can roll the dough out to an eighth-inch thick between two pieces of parchment or wax paper and cut with cookie cutters. OR you can form the dough into a log and slice off rounds of dough. Regardless, transfer your cookies to a parchment lined cookie sheet. Place the cookie sheets in the fridge while you preheat the oven to 350F. This will help the dough keep its shape.

For softer cookies, bake for 8 minutes. For crispier cookies, bake for 9-12 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool on the cookie sheet for a couple minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

To Frost:
In a small bowl, stir together some confectioners sugar and non-dairy milk, water, or juice. Start with a very small amount of liquid and gradually increase until you reach your desired consistency. Use a piping bag or a ziplock bag with a corner cut off to decorate as you please. If you just want to slather on as much frosting as possible, might as well just use a spoon for easy licking.

If you need some gingerbread-men-frosting-inspiration, here's what I did last year.

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