Every year around the solstice we throw a "Gingerbread Cookie Party" for all of James’ friends. Kids come over to decorate cookies with piping bags of white and colored icing, to drink Silk Nog and sparkling cider, and play games. No gifts are exchanged, but each guest is asked to bring $2 for the animal shelter. The next day James and I take the money down to the shelter to wish the animals there a happy, homebound holiday.
All-natural vegan food coloring and sprinkles are available on the web from Vegan Essentials.
makes about 2 to 3 dozen cookies, depending on the size you choose
1/3 cup non-hydrogenated margarine, at room temperature
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup sweet unsulphured molasses
¾ cup water
6 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. cloves
½ tsp. allspice
Gingerbread Vegan Icing (see below)
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer, cream together the margarine, brown sugar, molasses, and ½ cup of water.
In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and allspice. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, adding just enough of the water to incorporate all the flour and form a dough that holds together well.
Turn the dough out of the bowl and form into four equal balls. Wrap each ball well with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.
Preheat the oven to 350º. Line some baking sheets with parchment and spray with nonstick spray. Set aside.
Working with one ball at a time, roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin. Roll the dough about ¼-inch thick and use cookie cutters to cut out your desired shapes. Use a metal spatula to transfer the cookies to the prepared cookie sheets, placing them about 1 to 2 inches apart.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the surface is firm. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, then decorate with Gingerbread Vegan Icing.
Gingerbread Vegan Icing
You may want to make multiple batches of this icing and color each with a different food coloring for some very colorful cookie creations. I prefer the look of clean white icing on my little vegans.
makes about 3/4 cup
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
½ tsp. vanilla
1 ½ TB Silk Nog or 1 TB water
Combine the powdered sugar and vanilla. Sprinkle in the Silk Nog or water, stirring well with a small spatula and using just enough liquid to form a smooth icing. It should be soft enough to squeeze easily out of a piping bag, but not so runny that it runs out of the bag unbidden. Transfer the icing to the piping bag and decorate the cookies as desired.
To pack some frosting for the lunch box, put a small amount of icing into one corner of a sandwich-sized ziplock bag, then twist the filled corner off and secure snugly with a small rubber band and a piece of holiday ribbon. Cut away the top of the baggie, then cut a very small hole in the tip of the bag to squeeze the icing out. Cover the tip with a bit of plastic wrap so the icing does not dry out before lunch.