Saturday, December 19, 2009

Gingerbread House Cookies (done a bit healthier!)

Making gingerbread houses is a perfect play date activity and makes everyone even more exited that Christmas will soon be here! The kids and I spent a very thoughtful time in our > co-op's bulk department, deciding which natural (hfcs-free, artificial-flavoring and artificial-coloring free) candies we wanted to decorate our houses. The candy was the really fun part as far as the kids were concerned!

Whether you want to make gingerbread cookies or houses is up to you. We used gingerbread house cookie cutters but didn't bother assembling the houses. For the icing I went with making a simple powdered sugar and lemon juice icing, though you certainly could choose a more classic > royal icing. I adapted a gingerbread cookie recipe from the > Look and Cook children's cookbook and spiced it up a bit, using whole wheat pastry flour rather then white flour, and less sweeteners. After tasting these I honestly am not sure why the original recipe doesn't call for whole wheat, or even better, > sprouted flour, they are just so good like this!

Gingerbread Cookies or Houses

1. Mix thoroughly 6 cups whole-wheat pastry flour, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 T plus 1 tsp baking powder, 1 T ground ginger, 1 tsp ground cloves, 2 tsp cinnamon, and 1 tsp real sea salt.

2. In a stand mixer cream 1 cup softened organic butter with 1 cup > fair-trade dark brown sugar, and 3/4 cup black-strap molasses for a couple minutes, then add in 3 whole organic or pastured eggs, continue mixing until combined nicely.

3. Slowly, patiently, cup by cup, add in the flour mixture to the butter and sugar mixture (going too fast will result in a whirlwind of flour all over).

4. Divide dough into 2 balls, wrap in plastic wrap and leave in the refrigerator at least 4 hours, preferably over-night.

5. Roll out dough until to 1/4 inch thick, cut as desired and place cookies on a stainless steel or ceramic cookie sheet in a 350 degree oven, baking for 10 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned and still slightly pliable.

6. Let cookies cool and hand them over to your kids to decorate flamboyantly!

*recipe makes at least 48 gingerbread cookies or two big gingerbread houses (this depends on the size of your cookie cutters of course)