Category Archives: ginger

The Best Vegan, Gluten-Free Gingerbread Cookies

I am delighted to present this recipe as part of the Sweetest Season Cookie Exchange. This my fourth year participating in this event during which food bloggers post holiday cookies, raise awareness and donate money in support of Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. We believe in their mission to raise funds for innovative pediatric cancer treatments and research through bake sales and cookie swaps. Many supporters (“Good Cookies”) do this throughout the year, and I am happy to contribute by participating in the Sweetest Season. If you’d like to learn more and/or make a charitable donation to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, click here. For cookies, keep scrolling!

The Best Vegan, Gluten-Free Gingerbread Cookies

I’ve spent years making different variations on gingerbread cookies, and though I will go to the mattresses for my Maple Spice Stars, I think these Vegan, Gluten-Free Gingerbread Cookies are my best to date. They’re sweet and snappy, and if I didn’t outright tell you that they are egg, dairy, and flour-free, you’d never know it. They just taste like Christmas.

The Best Vegan, Gluten-Free Gingerbread Cookies

These sweet little cookie people are every bit the soul-warming ginger-spiced cookies we all know and love, just made more accessible. Baking is rarely something I do with only myself in mind and that goes double for the holiday season; it makes perfect sense to have recipes that can feed more of my community in my repertoire. My community happens to include a lot of people who are gluten-free or vegan or both, so these festive treats certainly fit the bill!

Let’s talk process. This dough is simple and straightforward, relying on easy-to-find ingredients like almond flour, vegan butter, and confectioner’s sugar in addition to classic gingerbread fare like molasses, brown sugar, and a bevy of spices. It takes just minutes to mix up and only needs an hourlong chill before it’s ready to roll and cut. You can use any cookie cutter you like, of course, but I am a sucker for classic gingerbread people. So cute!

Baking is business as usual. These little buddies take 12-14 minutes at 325F, with crisper results coming more toward the 14 minute mark. Heads up: keep an eye on them in that last minute so they don’t over-brown. Even if they do get a little overdone though, you can fix them right up with icing. Vegan Royal Icing to be exact!

Where classic royal icing is made with egg whites, the vegan stuff uses my favorite egg replacer ever: aquafaba! Yep, the liquid from a can of chickpeas is the secret to pipeable, reliable egg-free royal icing! Its protein structure allows it to whip up just like egg whites do, making it a perfect 1:1 replacement here.

With the exception of swapping aquafaba for my usual mix of water and meringue powder, this Vegan Royal Icing comes together exactly the same way as my traditional recipe, and is just as delicious! I used the icing as-is for decoration, but feel free to dye it any color you like or to thin it for making flood icing if you’re interested in more intricate designs.

The Best Vegan, Gluten-Free Gingerbread Cookies

Oh, and for those concerned, this icing doesn’t taste like beans at all—it just tastes like icing.

The Best Vegan, Gluten-Free Gingerbread Cookies

And these vegan, gluten-free gingerbread cookies? They just taste like Christmas.

The Best Vegan, Gluten-Free Gingerbread Cookies
The Best Vegan, Gluten-Free Gingerbread Cookies
makes about 2 dozen 4-inch cookies

3 cups blanched almond flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
3 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup vegan butter, softened to room temperature
2/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For decoration:
Vegan Royal Icing (recipe below)
sprinkles of choice

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together almond flour, baking powder, salt, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cloves. Set aside.

In a separate medium-large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat vegan butter until fluffy (about 2 minutes). Add dark brown sugar and confectioner’s sugar and beat until fully combined (about 2 minutes). Beat in molasses and vanilla.

Add dry ingredients in two installments, mixing completely after each addition. Dough may look rubbly, but should hold together extremely well when pinched.

Divide dough in two. Form each half into a disk, then wrap with plastic wrap. Chill for 1 hour or up to 3 days.

Place oven racks in central positions. Preheat oven to 325F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment.

Use confectioner’s sugar to dust a surface and rolling pin. Unwrap one disk of dough and place it on the surface. Use the rolling pin to roll it out to 1/4-inch thickness. A thin offset icing spatula or bench scraper (or similar) will make moving the dough much easier, as will adding more confectioner’s sugar to the surface and rolling pin.

Use a cookie cutter to cut shapes, then use the icing spatula to move them to the prepared pans, keeping them 1.5-2 inches apart. Bake cookies 12-14 minutes, rotating the pans top-to-bottom and front-to-back at the 7 minute mark.

Let cookies cool 10 minutes on their pans. Use a spatula to remove them to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Repeat rolling, cutting, and baking as needed, re-rolling scraps as needed. Let cookie sheets come to room temperature between batches.

Once cookies are all baked and cooled, decorate with Vegan Royal Icing (recipe below) and sprinkles. Let cookies dry at least 8 hours before layering with parchment paper and stacking.

Cookies will keep covered at room temperature for at least a week.
Vegan Royal Icing
makes more than enough for 1 batch of gingerbread cookies

1/3 cup aquafaba (liquid from a can of chickpeas)
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 pound (3 3/4 cups) confectioner's sugar, divided
1 tablespoon corn syrup

Special Equipment:
gel food coloring
piping bags (or plastic sandwich bags)
small round piping tips and couplers
sprinkles

Beat aquafaba and cream of tartar with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until doubled in size, about 1 minute. Mix in vanilla. With the mixer running on low, add half of the confectioner's sugar. Mix in corn syrup. Add the remaining half of confectioner's sugar. Scrape down the bowl before beating on medium-low for an additional 30 seconds.

To ice as pictured here, transfer 1/4 of the icing to a piping bag fitted with a coupler and tip. Ice as desired, sprinkling with any sprinkles immediately after piping (the icing hardens very quickly). Let cookies dry in a single layer uncovered for at least 8 hours, or until fully dry, before stacking.

For storage, press plastic wrap to the surface of your container of Vegan Royal Icing, it may be kept covered at room temperature for up to four days or in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks. Beat with a mixer before using, as it may slowly separate over time. If if needs to be thinned, add 1/2 teaspoon water at a time until icing dribbled into the bowl forms a ribbon that fades within a few seconds.

For information on more intricate decorating like outline/fill icing, using multiple colors, etc., click here.

Gingerbread Cake {Vegan & Gluten-Free}

Gingerbread Cake {Vegan & Gluten-Free}My friend, VJ, loves gingerbread. Loves it. She speaks often about how before she had to stop eating gluten and went vegan, her grandma used to serve hers with canned peaches and whipped cream. While I am not much for canned peaches, the gingerbread part and the badass baking grandma part? Those I get.Gingerbread Cake {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Over the years, VJ has asked me to make gingerbread cakes for various milestones and occasions, but I have mostly failed. I even failed this past Thanksgiving! Too greasy, too dry, vaguely tarry, completely flavorless—I’ve made all the gingerbread cake failures under the sun. Let’s not discuss the occasion on which she had to serve store-bought ice cream cakes (that she couldn’t even eat!) at her own party because my attempt at this cake was so vile.

But then—but! then!—I tweaked my go-to gluten-free vegan cake recipe and made this Gingerbread Cake, and it’s exactly right: soft, tender, slightly sticky and spicy. And easy. And vegan and gluten-free. And out of this world delicious. This recipe right here? This one’s for VJ.Gingerbread Cake {Vegan & Gluten-Free}It’s not just because I like to have a gluten-free vegan item on my holiday line-up every year (which I do). It’s that VJ’s 40th birthday is next week—you know I can’t let my favorite gluten-free vegan’s milestone birthday pass without cake. No way. Not rain, nor sleet, nor masked and distanced delivery will stop me from getting this cake to her on December 23rd.Gingerbread Cake {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Holy crap, y’all, this is good. Super moist with nothing to distract from its deep dark flavor, it’s better than most traditional flour, egg and dairy-based gingerbreads I’ve had. It’s definitely not better than VJ’s grandma’s though, because nothing is ever better than grandma’s. Believe me, I’ve tried to out-do grandmas and it never goes well. But anyway… Gingerbread Cake {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Gingerbread Cake {Vegan & Gluten-Free}This Gingerbread Cake tows the line somewhere between holiday dessert and wintry everyday cake. It doesn’t need a blanket of frosting (although I think a little vegan maple buttercream might be good) or any adornment beyond a dusting of confectioner’s sugar, really. It can be baked square or round. You could even double the recipe and layer it or make a sheet cake. It can be served at the end of a holiday meal, snacked on mid-afternoon, left for Santa, frozen for you to find in the middle of February, wrapped up and given as a gift, or delivered to a birthday lady in the middle of a pandemic. No matter the occasion and regardless of whether you’re vegan and gluten-free, this might just be the only Gingerbread Cake recipe you’ll ever need.Gingerbread Cake {Vegan & Gluten-Free}

Gingerbread Cake {Vegan, Gluten-Free}
makes one 8- or 9-inch square or round cake

1 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
2/3 cups unsweetened almond milk
1/4 cup molasses (not blackstrap)
3 tbsp pure pumpkin purée or unsweetened applesauce
1 1/3 cups blanched almond flour (not almond meal)
6 tbsp cup potato starch
2 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

For finishing:
confectioner’s sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8- or 9-inch square or round pan. Line with parchment and grease again. Set aside.

Pour apple cider vinegar into a liquid measuring cup. Add almond milk until liquid reaches the 1 1/4 cup mark. Stir and let sit for 5-10 minutes, until curdled. Stir in pumpkin purée (or applesauce). Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together blanched almond flour, potato starch, cornstarch, light brown sugar, ginger, cinnamon, cloves nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add liquid ingredients in two installments, whisking until combined.

Transfer batter to prepared pan and smooth to the edges with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon. Tap pan on the counter 5 times to release any large air bubbles. Transfer to the oven and bake 32-34 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out with only a few crumbs (no batter).

Let cake cool completely in its pan on a cooling rack. Run a thin knife along the edges of the pan before inverting to release onto a platter (alternatively, you may keep it in the pan and serve from there). Sift confectioner’s sugar over the top before serving, if desired.

Slice and serve. Flavors will intensify the day (or several hours) after baking.

Cake will keep at room temperature for up to 3 days and refrigerated for up to 4. Plain cake may be triple-wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen for up to 1 month. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.Gingerbread Cake {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Gingerbread Cake {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Gingerbread Cake {Vegan & Gluten-Free}

Ginger Limeade

Ginger LimeadeIt feels weird to be posting Fourth of July recipes because of literally everything, but I’m doing it anyway. I mean, none of them are red, white and blue…this year.Ginger LimeadeGinger Limeade is a perfect summery option for this weekend or any weekend. Crisp and light with a zippy ginger finish, Ginger Limeade would be a great addition to your (socially distanced) Fourth of July. It’s simple to make and a bit more sophisticated than your average non-alcoholic summertime beverage. I love a spicy sip.Ginger LimeadeGinger LimeadeGinger LimeadeGinger LimeadeGinger Limeade starts with a homemade ginger simple syrup. It’s as easy as combining sugar, water and sliced fresh ginger in a 1:1:1 ratio, simmering it and letting it steep until completely cool. You can use this syrup to make homemade ginger sodas, put it in milkshakes, or liven up some iced tea.Ginger LimeadeGinger LimeadeToday we’re combining the syrup with an equal part (1 1/3 cup) of fresh lime juice and a few cups of cold water, then pouring it over ice and floating lime slices on top. Yum!Ginger LimeadeAs with most beverages, Ginger Limeade is easily customizable. I think the 1:1 ginger syrup to lime juice ratio allows both to shine, but feel free to adjust them up or down to your preference. If you want to jazz it up, use sparkling water instead of still.

Oh, and I haven’t tried it myself, but I have a sneaking suspicion that if you reduce the water to 1 1/2 cups, this mix would probably make for great popsicles! If you give this a shot, please let me know how it works.Ginger LimeadeGinger Limeade is the sort of thing you can sip during a cocktail hour, have by the pool, or pour into a large mason jar and take to the beach. Not to be Debbie Downer, but keep in mind that lime juice can burn your skin when exposed to sun. Yes, really.

I guess I just like to live on the edge.Ginger Limeade

Ginger Limeade
makes about 6 cups

Ginger Syrup:
1 5-7-inch piece fresh ginger
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup water

For Limeade:
1 batch ginger syrup
1 1/3 cups fresh lime juice
3-4 cups cold water

For serving:
ice
lime slices or wedges

On a cutting board, scrape the edge of a spoon across the ginger to peel. Discard peelings. Slice ginger as thinly as possible—you should have about 1 cup slices.

Combine ginger, sugar and water in a small pot. Bring to a simmer over medium-low and then let cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Cool the syrup with the ginger pieces. Once cool, strain ginger pieces out, pressing them to remove as much syrup as possible. You should have 1 1/4-1 1/3 cup ginger syrup. Discard ginger pieces or use for another purpose.

Make limeade. Combine ginger syrup and lime juice in the bottom of a large pitcher. Stir together, then add 3 cups of cold water. Stir again, taste, and add more water if desired.

Add ice cubes to a few glasses. Pour ginger limeade over ice and garnish with lime slices or wedges, if desired.

Ginger limeade is best the day it’s made, but keeps in the refrigerator for a few days.Ginger LimeadeGinger Limeade

Chocolate Cranberry Ginger Blondies

Chocolate Cranberry Ginger BlondiesHello, it’s me, your completely exhausted food blogger friend!

I’m writing this post on Friday night (wild life I lead, huh?), but by the time you read it on Monday, I’ll be at my parents’ house in Texas assembling a Porchetta (!) and giving their dog as many scritches and snuggles as she’ll allow. I’m looking forward to the break and the family time, and to making holiday food.Chocolate Cranberry Ginger BlondiesIt’s been determined that our Christmas dinner dessert will be a Winning Hearts & Minds Cake, mostly for deliciousness and ease-of-preparation reasons, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to find an excuse to make these Chocolate Cranberry Ginger Blondies, too. Thanks to their quick prep time and my mother’s love for any and all dried fruit, I’m sure she won’t object. She may, however, not exactly love me kneading dinner roll dough on her counter, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.Chocolate Cranberry Ginger BlondiesThe blondie base is so simple to make that I have the recipe committed to memory. Well, almost. I reduced the flour by a couple of tablespoons for an extra dense and chewy result and I don’t regret it one bit!Chocolate Cranberry Ginger BlondiesYou could put 1 1/4 cup of any mix-in you like in this blondie batter and it’d bake up beautifully. I went with chocolate chips, dried cranberries and candied ginger because I had a little of all of those in my cookie mix-in cabinet—it’s as simple as that. It helps, of course, that chocolate, cranberries and candies ginger are both beautiful *and* sweet, tangy, delicious holiday fare. I mean, are these calling your name like they are mine?Chocolate Cranberry Ginger BlondiesI’ll be taking this Wednesday off posting because it’s Christmas (duh). I hope you have a wonderful holiday filled with good food and people you love. I’ll be back Friday with my last recipe of 2019 and probably some dog pictures.Chocolate Cranberry Ginger Blondies

Chocolate Cranberry Ginger Blondies
makes one 8-inch pan

1 cup water
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
1 large egg, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1/4 cup small-diced candied ginger
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease an 8-inch square baking dish and line it with parchment, leaving overhang on two sides for easy removal. Grease again. Set aside.

Plump the cranberries. Bring water to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Remove from heat and add cranberries. Let sit about 5 minutes before straining out water.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together melted butter and brown sugar. Add egg and vanilla, followed by flour and salt. Stir in dried cranberries and candied ginger. Check to make sure the batter isn’t too warm to the touch before stirring in chocolate chips (you don’t want them to melt).

Spread batter into prepared pan and bake for 25-27 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean. Let blondies cool in the pan on a rack until they reach room temperature. Run a small, thin knife around the edge of the pan, then use parchment to lift them onto a cutting board. Slice with a large, sharp chef’s knife, wiping the blade clean between cuts. Serve.

Blondies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for three days.Chocolate Cranberry Ginger BlondiesChocolate Cranberry Ginger Blondies