Holiday Baking

It’s that time of the year again where more baking is done in households, mine definitely included. There is nothing better then baking some scrumptious treats to be given out to friends and family. I love to bake and when I get into the flow of things I find it hard to stop and by the time I do stop I realize I may have gone slightly overboard, but then again how much is too much. 

There are some “special” treats that are made more at Christmas time then any other time of the year. Treats such as gingerbread, sugar cookies, chocolate peppermint bark, shortbread, chocolate truffles, etc. All of these can easily be made anytime but there is something about making goodies in winter that really spark a persons passion in the kitchen and need to show off their hard work.
 
 Over the next three days I will be bringing a gluten free and vegan recipe of some yummy treats. Today is Gingerbread!
 
 
 
Gingerbread traces its origin to the 900s AD when a monk introduced the confection to the French people. It then spread throughout the rest of Europe where it was adopted by many nations and given a regional makeover. The 17th century saw the introduction of the cookie version of gingerbread. 
 
It was believed that these cookies had medicinal properties and often could be found sold in pharmacies of the time and in monastic hospitals. The gingerbread men shape is thought to have been an invention of Queen Elizabeth I of England to serve to foreign dignitaries. Other types of gingerbread are as a cake or as a loaf of bread that is sliced and buttered for breakfast. 
 
 
 
As ginger was an ingredient that was extremely expensive only nobility or royals could afford to have it in their households. It would only have been baked into gingerbread at special occasions, such as when a Lord may want to impress his guests, or at a wedding. It also tended to be mixed with honey or molasses and wine, particularly red wine. 
 
In many ways the original gingerbread was more of a bread pudding as it would use chuncks of a bread loaf mixed with liquids and spices and then set to dry. Today gingerbread, or some variation of it is popular worldwide and in the traditionally Christian parts of the world is prepared at Christmas time. 
 
Gingerbread Cookies
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 25 Cookies
 
Ingredients
  • 2½ Cups gluten free flour
  • 1½ Tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 Tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ Tsp ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ Tsp ground nutmeg
  • ⅛ Tsp black pepper (optional)
  • ⅛ Tsp ground cardamon (optional)
  • Dash of salt
  • ½ Cup molasses
  • ½ Cup shortening
  • ¼ Cup un-packd brown sugar
  • Candied ginger, minced (optional)
Instructions
  1. Mix molasses and shortening on low speed in stand mixer or beat together with hand whisk. Add brown sugar and spices and mix all together.
  2. (optional) Add minced ginger and mix again
  3. Add xanthan gum and flour to wet ingredients and mix together on low for a minute or two, or until dough becomes unified into a ball.
  4. Cover with cling wrap and place in refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or overnight if there is time.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 de
  6. grees.
  7. Turn dough out onto well floured surface. Roll out till dough is ¼ inch (if dough is a bit sticky then place parchment paper or cling wrap onto to roll dough out easily).
  8. Cut out shapes with cookie cutters. Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet and put back in refrigerator for 10 minutes.
  9. Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes or until edges are browned slightly. Let rest on sheet for 2-3 minutes. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
  10. Once cooled decorate as you like and store in container up to 5 days or freeze to eat at another date!
  11. Have fun with decorating. You could also add little ladies such as M&Ms, chocolate chips, mini jujubes, etc.
Simple Icing
 
Ingredients
2 cups icing sugar
1 tbsp melted vegan butter
1-2 tbsp non-dairy milk
Directions
1. Mix all together. You want the icing to be thick and not runny. Place in piping bag or zip lock bag and decorate.
Come back tomorrow for Shortbread cookies!!!
Enjoy!
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