Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Treats

In the spirit of Christmas, the kids and I have been making lot's of fun crafts and treats this week.  One that I can share on here is for Gingerbread Men Cookies.  I took a recipe from Elenas Pantry, and made some modifications to meet my preferences better.  For example I subbed Pure Maple Syrup for the Agave, as agave is not a good choice for sweeteners, it is very high in fructose and no better than using high fructose corn syrup.  Please read this article for more information on the differences in sweeteners. I also subbed Blackstrap Molasses for the Yacon Syrup simply because I didn't find any at the Natural Foods store, and then I tried two different batches, one with mostly olive oil and a little grapeseed oil and one with melted coconut oil.  Again, if you are eating Paleo, grapeseed oil is one of the oils that should generally be avoided due to it's high Omega 6 level.  Both ways turned out about the same and tasted great.  If you are going to use the coconut oil, be sure to melt it and have your maple syrup and eggs at room temperature so they don't harden your coconut oil when you mix them together.  
This was a fun thing to do with the older kids, but would be a bit difficult for real young ones.  I did have a little trouble with the dough being real sticky, so added an additional 1/2 cup of almond meal and worked in small amounts.  My suggestion is to roll it out on some parchment paper or silicone mat. I used silicone mat dusted with rice flour and we dipped our cookie cutter in cocoa powder to keep it from sticking to the dough.  I would suggest rolling out about 1/3 -1/2 of the dough at a time, cut out your cookies and the easiest thing would be to leave them on the mat removing the excess dough from around them.  Then transfer the mat or paper to a baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes depending on your oven and the thickness of your cookies. I would also suggest chilling the remaining dough between each batch so it's easier to handle.  These are a heavily spiced cookie which is what we really enjoyed about them, however, if you don't like that you may want to cut back some on the spices.  
Another thing I did was to experiment with cinnamon's, one batch I used Saigon Cinnamon and another one I used Korintje Cinnamon.  Both were very tasty, again it is a matter of preference, my taste testers where split, the Saigon Cinnamon gives it an almost spicy kick, while the Korinjte is milder and not "spicy". 

* I read a neat trick for making your cookies cripsy somewhere on the internet, not sure where or I would give credit...when your cookies lose their crunch place in your oven at 170 degrees for an hour.  I tried it today and it works great!  Nice crunchy gingerbread men cookies now! *
Merry Christmas and Happy baking!

Gingerbread Men Cookies

5 1/2 cups almond flour
1 TBSP cinnamon
1 TBSP ground ginger powder
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp Celtic sea salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup olive oil (be sure not to use extra virgin, just plain olive oil), or coconut oil (see notes above)
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1 TBSP pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsulfered blackstrap molasses
2 eggs
1 tsp lemon zest

In a large bowl, combine almond flour, cinnamon, ginger powder, cloves, salt and baking soda.  In a smaller bowl mix together your oil, sweeteners, vanilla, eggs and lemon zest. Then stir your wet ingredients into your dry ingredients and mix well.
Chill dough for 2 hours.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Then roll dough out on a silicone mat or parchment paper until it's about 1/4" thick.  Her suggestion is to roll it out between two layers, but that didn't work out to well for me.    Again see my notes above for suggestions on how to make this easier.
If you used two layers of parchment paper, then remove the top layer and using cookie cutters make your gingerbread men (a medium cookie cutter works good).  Decorate with dried fruit and nuts if you like (we left ours plain).  
Either transfer with a spatula or transfer the whole mat/paper to a baking sheet.  
Cook at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes.  Remove from the oven when they are done to your liking, then remove them from the mat or parchment paper and cool on a wire rack.  Then you get to enjoy your yummy cookies!

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  1. Thank you Sheilla!!!!

  2. These are very good. Looking forward to serving them at Christmas with several of my gluten-free friends. Thank you!

  3. Where do you purchase so much almond flour?

  4. Brittany: You can find Honeyville almond flour on Amazon and it is far cheaper per pound than the Bob's Red Mill at the store, and far better quality too.

  5. 3 Researches REVEAL How Coconut Oil Kills Fat.

    The meaning of this is that you actually get rid of fat by consuming coconut fat (also coconut milk, coconut cream and coconut oil).

    These 3 studies from big medicinal magazines are sure to turn the traditional nutrition world around!