Simple vegan gingerbread

Being both soft and sweet, with a subtle chewiness – this gingerbread is oil-free, a measure of healthy, wholesome ingredients as well as  easy to make! A perfect treat for all the family this Christmas!

Ginger. Cinnamon. Clove. A very dangerous territory if you ask me, but be rest assured with this recipe as through my persistent (definitely persistent) trials of this recipe – not only am I your trusted professional at making gingerbread – but these guys will be amazing! They are easy to make and 100% plant-based.

This recipe is both healthy and wholesome, which is what I truly believe should be at the foundations of all cooking – I do not use white flour or oil, and limit refined sugars in this gingerbread. The replaced substitutions are nut butter, wholemeal flour, and a mixture of stevia and demerara sugar – which is all the better seen as we will obviously be filling our faces over the Christmas holidays! 🙂

INSIGHT

Okay, okay – back to some health benefits… Am I even allowed to receive health benefits at Christmas? Well first of all, even if you have some treats stuffed with corn syrup and palm fat just look on the bright side: they’re ’emotionally healthy’! But yes – nutrition can be counted with these cookies, and is even more important during this yuletide season…

Black treacle, perhaps one of the most bewildering ingredients expected in a ‘healthier’ recipe or subject to an insight; but yes. Black treacle actually has many benefits as it is actually a type of molasses which is created from the second refining of sugar cane. Similarly to blackstrap molasses (created from the third refine of sugar cane), it is brimming with various minerals such as: magnesium, potassium, vitamin B-6, calcium and iron.

Magnesium is particularly important for maintaining bone structure and bone growth. Therefore with a deficiency of it, which is more apparent in women and the elderly, disease such as osteoporosis, high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke can occur – if not progress further. Black treacle contains approximately one tenth of your daily intake in one tablespoon, in addition to wholemeal flour containing a lovely supplement of this magical mineral. 

Wholemeal flour – making up approximately 60% of the dry ingredients in this recipe – couldn’t possibly add a more plainly important element. Fibre. Fibre is a macronutrient which should comprise at least 30g of a person’s daily dietary intake; unsurprisingly many of us are substantially missing the mark. 

What is the huge importance of fibre anyway? What are the consequences of being deficient in fibre? More than you think.

The most prominent symptoms of a fibre deficiency is constipation, weight gain as fibre gives us a sensation of satiety as receptors in our brain say, “I’m done – no more food thank you,” as the volume of our stomachs are filled. Therefore, if you are instead experiencing insatiety you are inclined to eat more often- consuming unneeded energy.

In addition, Blood sugar fluctuations may arise; it sounds dangerous because it is! Fibre delays the absorption of glucose into our blood, which not only assists in slow releasing energy, but maintains homeostasis of our blood sugar levels. If fluctuations occur it can lead to the onset of type 2 diabetes. Nausea and tiredness may also follow – even with a morning coffee boost!

There is a dire matter which needs to be addressed before you get to this recipe! Crunchy, crisp gingerbread men are ginger snaps whereas soft, chewy gingerbread men are true gingerbread. This may just be my fad political bias but this recipe is for gingerbread – as they are two utterly separate types of cookie!

Honestly, mind family must be sick of me by now as I have consecutively baked gingerbread each weekend for a month; you can never say that I’m not devoted to giving your taste buds a treat! I have endeavoured to use accessible ingredients which are also sensible on price, so I’m happy to state that it has been accomplished. 

The gluten in wholemeal flour combines with gram flour wonderfully to build elasticity and chewiness into the dough whilst avoiding typical heaviness in the dough because of the rising properties of gram flour. Due to this I would strongly recommend no substitutions to either of these flours as they are vital for the final result. This recipe is also adaptable to those nut free by substituting the nut butter for tahini, sunflower seed butter or even coconut butter. If you prefer your gingerbread to only have subtle spice I would recommend decreasing all of the ground spices each by half as you may find them too spicy otherwise. Other than that feel free to design and decorate your gingerbread men or women in any fashion you wish! I combined a 1/4 cup icing sugar with 1 teaspoon plant-based milk to create a thick icing which I simply piped on each cookie. Alternatively, you could pipe on nut butter and press down dried cranberries or dark chocolate chips for buttons. Perhaps dip the cookies in melted chocolate or brush them with maple syrup sprinkling over coconut sugar. Either way you do you and tag me on instagram and share with others. Enjoy!

Simple Vegan Gingerbread

A perfect marriage of warming spices, and a soft, chewy texture. Fuss free, oil free and excellent for the festive season!
Course Dessert, Holiday, Snack
Cuisine British
Keyword gingerbread, Men
Prep Time 2 hours 25 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 35 minutes
Author Jamie Waters

Equipment

  • 2 Baking trays
  • 2 mixing bowls
  • Cling film
  • Cookie cutters

Ingredients

  • 40 g Black treacle *
  • 87 g Demerara sugar with stevia **
  • 100 g Nut butter*** Natural oil-free, unsalted
  • 80 ml Plant-based milk
  • 166 g Wholemeal plain flour
  • 84 g Gram flour
  • ½ chia/ flax egg seeds must be milled
  • Zest of 1 medium orange
  • 2 tsp Ground ginger
  • 1 tsp Ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp Ground nutmeg
  • Pinch of Ground clove
  • ½ tsp Bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ tsp salt

Instructions

  • line two baking trays with greaseproof paper and place them to one side.
  • Firstly pour the black treacle, sugar and stevia, nut butter, orange zest and all of the spices into a small non-stick saucepan over a medium heat. Use a rubber spatula to continuously stir the mixture until everything had dissolved, gently bringing the mixture to a boiling point.
  • Now take the saucepan off of the heat and mix the bicarbonate of soda into the mixture until just combined. Carefully pour the mixture into a mixing bowl and leave it to cool for 15 minutes. Meanwhile mix 1½ tsp flaxseed/ chia seed + 1½ tbsp warm water until a coagulous consistency is reached.
  • Pour the flax egg into the wet mixture and stir to incorporate.
  • In a separate bowl, sift both flours and the salt together and whisk until evenly distributed, then in three batches, fold the dry mixture into the wet ensuring that each batch is evenly incorporated. When the batter becomes too dense to mix use your hands to knead and combine the batter in the mixing bowl.
  • Transfer the dough to a double lined layer of cling film. Fold over the cling film and wrap up the dough, placing it in the refrigerator for approximately 2 hours to stiffen and enhance the flavours.
  • Place a layer of greaseproof paper on your work surface with the two lined baking trays to the side. Next unwrap the dough on the lined work surface and roll it out 5mm thick.
  • Using gingerbread men cookie cutters (I used the smallest) carefully cut out your gingerbread men and evenly place them on the baking trays; work quickly otherwise the dough may become sticky and harder to handle.
  • Preheat the oven to 160°C/ 320°F (140°C fan-assisted), meanwhile place the baking trays into the freezer for 10 - 15 minutes to solidify before baking.
  • Place both trays in the oven, timing them for 8 - 10 minutes or until lightly brown around the edges. Alternate the trays ½ way through the cooking time to ensure they all bake evenly. Remove from the oven and leave them to cool on the baking trays for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack.
  • Once cool you may decorate your gingerbread anyway you like! Personally I suggest coating them in melted chocolate or piping on almond butter and attaching dried cranberries as buttons. Yum!
  • Store them in a airtight container at room temperature. The gingerbread softens further with time, so I recommend consuming them within 3 - 5 days. If you have used icing, wait for it to completely set before transferring the gingerbread to a container; separate with greaseproof paper in the container to avoid gingerbread being iced together.

Notes

* May use blackstrap molasses as a substitute; may give the gingerbread a slightly more bitter flavour.
** I used this sugar. You can use coconut sugar or light brown sugar as a replacement but you will need to add 130 g of this NOT 87 g.
***If you're nut free simple substitute sunflower seed butter, tahini or possibly cocnut butter

“Sugar and spice makes everything nice"

anonymous

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