Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas Treats

I’ve been doing lots of Christmas baking lately and want to share a couple of recipes. The first recipe is for some most excellent Ginger Cookies. The recipe I found was almost vegan, except for the eggs, so it was easily adaptable. The recipe includes a little cocoa powder, and the method is different from any other cookies I’ve made in the past. They are rolled in coarse sugar, so they turn it out crispy on the outside and remain chewy in the middle. They are spiced just right. I think they’re the best I’ve ever made.

Ginger Cookies
(adapted from Once Upon a Tart)

Yield: 5 dozen cookies

2 cups sugar
2 eggs (I used EnerG egg replacer)
½ cup molasses
1-1/2 cups vegetable shortening, melted and cooled to room temperature
4 cups AP flour
1 T. cocoa powder
2 t. ground ginger
1 t. cinnamon
½ t. cloves
½ t. allspice
2 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
coarse sugar for rolling

Heat oven to 350º and position rack in center of oven. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the sugar and eggs together, using the whisk attachment of an electric mixer on high speed until light and well incorporated. Turn mixer to low, beat in the molasses, then the shortening.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, spices, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add to wet ingredients using the paddle attachment of your mixer on low speed until no flour is visible. (My mixture needed about 3 T. of water at this point to get the dough to come together. If you make the nonvegan version with 2 eggs, this won’t be necessary.)

Pour a handful of coarse sugar onto a plate. Scoop up heaping teaspoons of dough and roll between your hands to form cookie balls (about 1-1/2 inches in diameter). Roll each cookie ball into the sugar, then place onto the baking sheet. (No need to flatten.) Bake for about 11 minutes or until almost set.

Cool the cookies on a wire rack briefly, then transfer off the baking sheet to cool completely.

The next recipe is Cherry Pecan Bread. It’s my favorite bread to bake for Christmas because it’s pink! It’s really a cake baked in a loaf pan. It’s soft and light and perfect for Christmas morning. I made mini loaves to give as gifts (and had one left over for me!).

Cherry Pecan Bread

2 cups AP flour
2 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
¼ cup margarine, softened
¾ cup sugar
1 egg replacer
1 t. vanilla
1-1/4 cup cherry juice + nondairy milk
1 8-ounce jar maraschino cherries, juice drained and reserved
½ cup chopped pecans, preferably toasted

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9 x 5 loaf pan.

Drain the cherry juice into a 2-cup measure, then add enough milk to make 1-1/4 cups. Coarsely chop the cherries.

Stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat the margarine, sugar, egg replacer, and vanilla until light and well incorporated. Stir in dry ingredients alternately with cherry juice mixture, stirring just until combined after each addition. Stir in cherries and pecans.

Pour into prepared pan and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until tester comes out clean. (Bake mini loaves for about 35 minutes.) Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove to wire rack to cool completely.


VeggieGirl said...

Ginger cookies are my all-time favorite!

Kiersten said...

Ginger cookies are one of my favorites! I already can't wait to bake some next week for Christmas.

Catherine said...

Ginger cookies are, hands-down, my all-time favorite Christmas cookie. I'm making two varieties this year (the traditional kind sort of like your recipe, plus gingerbread people,) because I can't get enough spicy, molasses-y goodness!

Andrea said...

I love ginger cookies - the spicier the better. I especially love them when they're crispy on the outside but still chewy on the inside, like yours.

jessy said...

oh my goodness, Diann - the gingerbread cookies look DIVINE! i'm gonna see if i can make those gluten-free, as well as your cherry pecan bread. mmmmmmmmmm! they both look awesome!

The Voracious Vegan said...

Ginger is one of my very favorite flavors and these look amazing! Thank you for the recipe, it looks simple and fantastic. And I love the way the cookies look, all cracked and covered in sparkly sugar - just beautiful!

Sal said...

that cherry bread looks amazing, i'll have to give that a try!

Jacqueline said...

Those cookies look so, so good Diann! I do love a ginger biscuit :)

Bianca said...

I love that you saved a loaf for yourself! I always do that when baking food gifts too!

Lovliebutterfly said...

Pink bread! Lovely idea! Must smell nice too. I happen to have some canned cherries at the moment!

Michal said...

Pretty bread! It almost reminds me of valentines day

Ricki said...

Love the look of that pink bread! I used to love marachino cherries, too. :)

Hope you have a wonderful, warm and very happy holiday!

Jenn said...

Those ginger cookies look really yummy!

Monique a.k.a. Mo said...

Those ginger cookies are so purty and crackly! Love it!

Jes said...

What delicious treats! You can't go wrong with ginger cookies!

River - The Crafty Kook said...

I don't like cherries but I can't get over how pretty your pink cake is! I love it!

Happy holidays to you too! :-)

Hannah said...

Mmm, those ginger cookies look absolutely perfect! Who wouldn't love to get a plateful of those beauties, Christmas time or not?

Happy holidays!

Oraphan said...

I love ginger cookies and I usually make them from store-bought cookies mix. I'm so glad you shared this recipe, thanks so much. I also love the look of your pink cake and the recipe sounds really simple, can't wait to give it a try.

Wishing you the happiest of holidays, Diann!

Anonymous said...


Mihl said...

Those are some delicious looking treats! Happy holidays to you.

Susan G said...

mmmm, maraschino cherries! What a great idea. I think I will sub out the pecans for chocolate chips.....