These gingerbread snowflakes are a staple in our home come the holidays, and always make their way onto the cookie platters I bring to get-togethers this time of year. According to my hubby these are “Christmas in a cookie”, although his opinion may be biased as these are his absolute favorite and the first cookie he requests every year.
The finished cookies usually have to be hidden until the other varieties are bakes otherwise they disappear before they make onto any of may cookie platters.
This recipe is an adaptation of a Martha Stewart recipe I made for years prior to going vegan. Since going vegan I’ve tried countless recipes for gingerbread cookies however, none really lived up to my expectations. They were either too soft, too pale, of just lacking depth of flavor. This year, I decided to go back to the basics and work off a recipe we already knew and loved. Much to my surprise, it didn’t take much tinkering to get a cookie that was just as good, if not better to its non-vegan counterpart.
The dough itself if quite soft so I recommend chilling the dough for at least an hour prior to rolling. The flavors and color will continue to deepen as it chills, which make the chilling time all the more worthwhile. If you choose to make the dough a day ahead, remove it from the fridge 30-40 minutes prior to rolling so the coconut oil can begin to soften. The dough is moist and will roll out easily without cracking. I like to use a variety of snowflake cookie cutters, the largest being approximately 7 inches in diameter which makes a cookie perfect for sharing (or not if you’re like my husband).
If you choose to make smaller cookies, the dough can be easily halved to save your hands the painstaking numbness of having to pipe icing on to 5-6 dozen cookies. When shopping for snowflake cookie cutters, a word of advise, simple is best. The simpler the shape, the more flexibility you’ll have in icing the cookies. Not to mention, large ornate snow flaked are a “pain in the you know what” to transfer to the baking sheet. I have a weakness for large copper snowflake cookie cutters, but take my advise, it the design is fancy with lots of small extrusions, just walk away, you’ll thank me later. You can serve these without the icing, I know it takes time and patience to ice these, but I think the finished product is well worth the effort.
Makes approx 3 dozen cookies ( of various sizes)
- 1/2 cup vegan margarine, such as Earth Balance Buttery Spread
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, softened
- 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
- 4 teaspoons ground ginger
- 4 teaspoons ground cinnmon
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons ground flax seeds, mixed with 4 tablespoons of warm water and set aside
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup molasses
- 5 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 2-4 tablespoons of non-dairy milk
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the margarine, coconut oil, and brown sugar. Beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.
Add in the spices and continue to beat until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as required. Mix in the flax seed mixture followed by the baking powder, baking soda, and molasses, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.
Turn the speed down to low and slowly add in the flour, one cup at at time until completely combined. Divide the dough into thirds, wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour to chill, or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350°F and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to a 1/4-1/8 of an inch thick. Keep the dough thickness closer to a 1/4 inch if making large cutouts so they are easier to transfer. Transfer the cookies to a prepared cookie sheet and bake for 12-14 minutes until crisp and barely golden around the edges. Allow cookies to cool on the cookie sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Scraps of dough can be re-rolled; lightly brush them with a pastry brush to remove excess flour and avoid drying out the dough prior to re-rolling. If the dough begins to soften, place it back in the refrigerator to chill.
To make the icing place the sugar and cream of tartar in the bowl on an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed while gradually adding the non-dairy milk. Continue to add milk until the desired consistency is reached. Icing should be firm enough to hold its shape but soft enough to pipe. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a small round tip and pipe snowflake designs onto the cooled cookies. Allow icing to harden before storing in an airtight container, separated by layers of parchment paper. Cookies can be stored at room temperature for up to 5 days.