Do you have a favourite holiday tradition? My fave holiday is Christmas and what I’ve grown to love most is Christmas Eve. Our family heads down to the market for an early breakfast and we shop for ingredients for our dinner that night. The market has such an amazing energy on Decembers24th, it’s festive in every sense of the word. Our Christmas Eve wouldn’t be complete without baking some tasty treats to leave out for Santa as he makes his rounds. Ending our day by making these gingerbread people has become a tradition in the last few years.
The heavenly scent of gingerbread cookies baking puts a smile on my face anytime of year. It’s like a big, warm hug for your senses.
These cookies are crisp and buttery with a hint of orange. If you prefer a softer cookie, add an egg and another 1/2 cup of flour to the ingredients. And if you don’t use all the dough right away just pop the leftover in the freezer to use another day. I’ve even used it as a pie crust in a pinch!
1 cup of unsalted butter, softened
1 cup of coconut palm sugar
Grated zest of 1 orange (preferably organic)
2 tablespoons of pure maple syrup
3 cups of spelt flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1-2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger (or to taste)
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon sea salt
Dried cranberries and/or raisins for decorating (optional)
1 batch of decorative icing (optional)
In a large mixing bowl cream together the butter and sugar.
Mix in the orange zest and maple syrup.
Stir in the flour, baking soda, spices and salt.
Wrap the dough in parchment paper and chill in the refrigerator for 3 or more hours.
When you remove the dough from the fridge – preheat the oven to 375 degrees Farenheit.
Grease cookie sheets, or line with parchment paper.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to about ¼ inch thick (working with ½ the dough at a time can make rolling out easier). Cut out shapes using cookie cutters.
Place shapes on cookie sheets, approximately 1 inch apart.
Decorate with dried cranberries/raisins (optional).
Bake in preheated oven 10-12 minutes until the edges are just beginning to change colour.
Let cool on wire racks.
Once completely cool, finish decorating gingerbread people with icing (optional).
Optional decorative icing:
Sift 1 cup of organic icing sugar. Stir in water, 1 tablespoon at a time until you’ve got a thick, soft icing. Place icing in a piping bag and decorate gingerbread cookies as desired. The icing will harden as it dries.