Christmas time is a wonderful time filled with special meanings, perfect weather, time with friends or family and of course yummy food. This last Christmas was no short of these things and ever year I am saddened it goes by so quickly. Over the Christmas holiday my son was home from school so I made sure we had plenty to do while we were at home. One of the things I planned for us to do was to build a gingerbread village. I let me son pick out one of the prepackaged gingerbread village sets they had at the store. It came with candy decorations, white royal icing and the ever important gingerbread.
While setting up the gingerbread houses, being the dutiful mother I am, I needed to “test” out the gingerbread to ensure its quality. That is what any good mother would do right? The gingerbread was understandably hard (as it needs to be to stand up and hold all the icing/candy) and quite tasteless. It might have seemed lack luster to me in the taste department only because I love the strong taste of ginger. I use ginger in any recipe I can. I make straight ginger tea at least once a day. I even have a jar of sliced ginger in my refrigerator that I sneak a couple bites of whenever I get the chance. So I guess it would be without question that the prepackaged gingerbread wouldn’t have the ginger kick I was looking for.
As usual I decided I needed to make my own gingerbread cookie. I looked through many gingerbread recipes, learning the basics for the cookie so that I could ensure I was headed in the right direction with my own recipe. I wanted the cookie to be healthier then the traditional gingerbread cookie so I choose whole wheat as the flour base for my recipe. In additional to being healthier, I knew the whole wheat would give the cookie a nuttier taste and a more complex texture then bleached flour.
I wanted the gingerbread cookie to be low in sugar so I choose unsweetened applesauce instead of sugar. Applesauce also works as a great binding and moisture component so I am using it to replace the oil and egg in a traditional recipe. To ensure the cookie is sweet enough to make it a cookie, I also added pure stevia extract. I kept the traditional spices of a gingerbread cookie which are ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, allspice and molasses. Molasses and ginger are the two ingredients that really make a gingerbread cookie stand out from the rest.
This cookie recipe produces a fairly dense, yet chewy cookie. The batter will be quite sticky. You can either use a rolled ball technique to produce a thicker cookie or you can flatten them out using the bottom of a floured glass cup. I prefer to flatten my cookies out so I use the floured glass up method.
Whole Wheat Gingerbread Flats
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tablespoons molasses
1/4 cup almond milk
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground ginger (add more if you want more ginger taste)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon clove
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon pure Stevia extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Stir in the molasses, applesauce and almond milk just until blended. Roll the dough into small balls. At this point you can keep the cookie in the ball form or you can flatten them out on the cookie sheet using a floured glass bottom cup (if you want a fancier cookie you can also sprinkle with granulated sugar or sugar cane). Place the cookies about 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven.
If you want a crisper cookie you can bake longer or if you want a chewier cookie you can bake less. The added bonus of having no egg in this recipe is that you never have to worry about the dough being too raw inside. In fact you can eat the batter straight up, which I do from time to time. Cool on wire racks. The finished cookies can be stored in an air tight container or frozen to keep longer.