UPDATE DECEMBER 2011: If you got here looking for gingerbread, the recipe below is outdated. It’s just too iffy. If you want a much better gingerbread recipe, read Homemade Soft Organic Gingerbread Cookies.
We usually have a cookie baking and decorating day during December, with the main event being gingerbread. This year I asked the kids if they wanted to make gingerbread cookies or gingerbread houses instead. Everyone thought houses sounded like fun, but settled on cookies because they’re more fun to eat – who wants to kill their gingerbread house just to eat it?! So, this year we’ll be making cookies.
Homemade Organic Gingerbread Cookies: This recipe makes about 18-20 cookies each, depending on the size and thickness of your cookies. I anticipate mess ups and other mishaps on a major cookie making day, so I plan for too much dough rather than not enough and make one full batch of gingerbread for each kid. So, in my case, with three kids, I’d triple the ingredients below. If we end up with too many cookies, we give some to friends and family. Also, to save on packaging, I do buy dry ingredients in bulk when possible.
Note: The chilling process takes about an hour, so plan ahead.
Gather the following:
- 3/4 cup packed dark brown Fair Trade organic sugar
- 1 stick organic butter, softened
- 2 large organic eggs
- 1/4 cup Fair Trade organic molasses
- 3 3/4 cups all-purpose organic flour (plus you’ll need a little extra for dusting your work surface)
- 2 teaspoons ground organic ginger
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon ground organic cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated organic nutmeg – if you don’t want to grate nutmeg, use ground, but since fresh nutmeg is more potent, you’ll need to use a bit extra ground.
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
To make your gingerbread cookie dough:
1. Use an electric mixer on low and cream the sugar and butter together. I’ve also used a wooden spoon, which is fine if you don’t have a mixer.
2. Add the eggs and molasses to the butter mixture and mix until combined.
3. In another bowl, sift the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt together.
4. Add your dry ingredients to the wet mixture and mix with a spatula.
5. Scrap your dough out of the bowl, wrap it in waxed paper (we don’t use plastic wrap here). Place the dough in the refrigerator until it’s nice and firm. This usually takes about 1 hour.
Make your cookies:
You can preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. if you like. I never preheat to save energy (bakers all over the world faint) this is totally up to you and your oven. My first batch of cookies just takes a few more minutes, but ah well.
- Take your dough out of the fridge, and allow it to sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes, until it’s pliable enough for the kids.
- While your dough softens, line some cookie sheets with reusable cookie sheet liner, reusable parchment paper, or simply go old school and grease a cookie sheet.
- Once your dough is soft, give each kid a pile of said dough. Have them roll out dough on a lightly floured surface, until dough is about 1/8 inch thick. Cut out designs of your choosing with cookie cutters.
- Re-roll any scraps and use up all the dough. Transfer the cut cookies to the prepared cookie sheets.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes, until just beginning to brown at the edges. Transfer to wire racks to cool.
Decorate your gingerbread cookies:
- You’ve got lots of choices when it comes to decorating your cookies.
- You can make an easy homemade icing – mix 1 cup Fair Trade, organic confectioners’ sugar (sifted) with 1 to 2 tablespoons organic milk and 1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract, and either leave it white, or add some non-toxic food coloring.
- Don’t use frosting at all. You can also simply sprinkle your cookies with a dusting of organic confectioners’ sugar.
- If you’d like to decorate your cookies with pretty sprinkles or little candies head to Natural Candy Store for organic and natural treats.
- Non-toxic Food Coloring set.
- Serve cookies with homemade organic Fair Trade hot chocolate.
- Make organic sugar cookies instead.
- Great green cooking gifts for kids.
[images: cookie dough © fonto; organic cookies © Barbara Dudzinska]