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Monday, April 25, 2011

Gingerbread Hearts

Big A requested decorated gingerbread cookies and carrot cake cupcakes for the girls' party on May 14. Because the next few weeks are crazy busy, and I don't know what's going to happen with my grandma, I decided to make these this weekend and freeze them for the party.

I absolutely ADORE gingerbread cookies, so hopefully there won't be many leftovers or I will likely devour them all myself. This recipe happens to be vegan, but you can use butter in place of the Earth Balance, if you prefer. I use fruit puree, not only to cut down on the fat, but it also keeps them soft and chewy, which I like. In fact, I can't stand crunchy cookies at all. Biscotti is about as appealing to me as raw potatoes. If you like your gingerbread really crisp and crunchy, just omit the fruit puree and double the amount of Earth Balance or butter.

If I was making these for adults, I would cut down on the sugar and add a few tablespoons of fresh, grated ginger for more kick, but these are really for the kids.

Over the next few weeks, I will be perfecting a recipe for pink royal icing to decorate them, which has no yucky artificial food colouring. I will add this recipe once it's done.

1/2 cup Earth Balance or butter, softened
2-4.5oz jars organic baby food prunes or 1/2 cup homemade prune puree (or apple sauce)
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup molasses
2 tsp vanilla extract

4 cups organic whole wheat pastry flour (+ more for sprinkling)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves and/or allspice

Whisk together wet ingredients in a large bowl. Combine dry ingredients and add to wet. Stir with large spoon until dough forms. Press into ball and turn out onto floured surface. Roll out to desired thickness (thicker ones will be softer, thinner ones will be crisper) and cut out using heart shaped (or other shape) cookie cutter or rim of a glass or cup (for circles). Bake at 350F on non-stick baking sheet for 12 minutes, or until golden.