Last night I got together with some friends and made snowy scenes out of gingerbread and icing. We decorated with whatever we had in our pantries including kidney beans, cinnamon sticks, stale marshmallows … ! We ended up with a hobbit house, a 1st Nations long house, and a forest. I made the forest. The inspiration for the forest and for an evening of gingerbread constructing with friends came from Lindsay Anderson and 365 Days of Dining.
I’ve actually been involved in gingerbread construction for many years. When my children were, well, children, we would make something every Christmas – there was one memorable year when my daughter made a carousel and my son made a graveyard! As well, I’ve incorporated gingerbread construction into my classroom every December as a math unit – students design their buildings, draw up blueprints and templates, roll and cut dough, assemble and decorate buildings. I just realized last night, after I lovingly and carefully brought my gingerbread forest into the house, that this was the first gingerbread creation I’d ever made for myself! If that’s not enough motivation to share on my blog, then the vegan gingerbread recipe sure is.
Gingerbread Cut-Out Cookies
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup plain soy or almond milk
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp each nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon
1 1/2 tsps ground ginger
1/2 cup white flour
Mix oil, sugar, molasses and milk together and whisk for 3 minutes. Mix together whole wheat pastry flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir to combine. Stir in the 1/2 cup white flour to make a dough that holds together. Form into a ball, wrap in a plastic bag and refrigerate for an hour. Roll out dough to about 1/2 cm thick. Cut into desired shapes using cookie cutters, templates and knife. Put on lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes exactly. Cool in pan for 2 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack. Let cool completely before assembling and icing.
Confession: My gingerbread forest was not 100% vegan! Gasp! I used royal icing which is made with egg white. Today, I looked for a vegan icing recipe – I haven’t tried it yet, but it sounds like the writer of the blog had a great time making gingerbread houses and that the icing hardens up nicely just like royal icing. If you try it or know of another vegan icing good for gingerbread construction, please post a comment.