Vegan gingerbread cookies

Vegan gingerbread cookies

vegan gingerbread men and trees

As I make these gingerbread cookies in my kitchen, music playing in the background, cat sleeping on a chair next to me, Duncan working away at the computer, my mind travels to my childhood. When my brother and I were little, my parents had a brilliant idea of keeping us both quiet and too busy to fight. All it took was a box of plasticine and an MDF board each (times were tough in communist Poland 😉 ). Suddenly fighting subsided as we both got busy building rival plasticine cities, complete with trees, passers-by, city squares, joined by a single bridge, which we would theatrically rip out whenever we fell out over something again. It may sound odd but you end up quite clued up on city planning when both your parents are architects 🙂 .

I’ve always been a bit of a nerd child (can you believe it? Moi?) who loved details and making intricate things with my hands so it was a perfect occupation for me. Decorating these cookies reminded me of spending hours obsessing over the shape of my plasticine trees 😉 . And if you were thinking ‘did she get her 2 year old neighbour to decorate these?’, you’re entirely forgiven as I am the first one to admit that my icing skills do need a bit of work. The thing is that being fairly health conscious, I am not a big fan of sugar icing so I never get a chance to practise. The icing does make these cookies though so I decided not to be that uptight about a bit of extra sugar.

vegan gingerbread making

vegan gingerbread men before baking

baked vegan gingerbread

vegan gingerbread cookies

vegan gingerbread men close up

makes
60
PREP
30 min
COOKING
10 min
makes
60
PREPARATION
30 min
COOKING
10 min
INGREDIENTS
  • 105 g / approx. ½ + 1/8 cup softened refined coconut oil (I use this one)
  • 105 g / scant ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • 45 ml / 3 tbsp aquafaba*
  • 110 ml / scant ½ cup maple syrup or molasses
  • 330 g / 2 ½ + 1/8 cup all purpose flour*
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • 3 level tsp ground ginger
  • 3 level tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¾ tsp ground all spice
  • ¾ tsp ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt

ICING

  • 1-2 cups icing sugar
  • matcha powder, for green colour (optional)
  • beetroot juice, for pink colour (optional)
  • very finely chopped pistachios (optional)
METHOD
  1. Place coconut oil in a small pot and melt it on the lowest setting. Let it cool down a little bit.
  2. Sift the flour into a medium size bowl. Add baking soda, all the spices and salt. Mix really well.
  3. Place melted coconut oil, dark brown sugar and reduced aquafaba in a large bowl. Cream them together with an electric whisk until well combined and slightly thickened. Add maple syrup and whisk some more until you get a homogeneous mixture.
  4. Fold 1/3 of the flour mix into the wet ingredients and, once combined, add the remaining two thirds, one by one. Make sure there are no flour pockets and everything is well combined but do not knead. The dough will be quite loose and sticky, that’s fine, it’s the way it should be. Divide the dough roughly into 2 portions and wrap each in a piece of cling film (glad wrap). Place them in the fridge for at least 1 hour. You can safely keep it in the fridge overnight too.
  5. Before you are about to take the dough out of the fridge, set the oven to 175° C / 350° F and line two baking trays with a piece of baking paper.
  6. After resting, take the first portion of the dough out of the fridge. Give it a few minutes to bring it to room temperature. Roll it out (gently pressing with a rolling pin) on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough out quite thick (about 5 mm / 0.2 inch) and cut the cookies out of it with cookie cutters. If you want the cookies to be crunchy, roll them out a bit thinner and bake them for longer.
  7. Arrange the cookies on the prepared baking trays. You don’t need to leave a lot of space between them as they don’t expand much. Group similar size cookies together so that they cook in the same time. Bake small cookies for about 7-9 minutes and larger for 10-12 minutes. The longer you bake them for the crispier (and less soft and chewy) they will turn out so adjust baking time to your preference.
  8. To make the icing, mix icing sugar with a very small amount of water (added very gradually) until you obtain a thick sugar paste. I used beetroot juice (squeezed with my hand from 1 coarsely grated beetroot) instead of water to make pink icing and a touch of matcha powder (and water) to make green icing. If you want to do that divide the icing sugar between 3 bowls and treat each portion accordingly.
  9. Place your icing into a small plastic or pastry bag. Push it all into one corner and cut a tiny bit off that corner with a pair of scissors. Start with a small hole and make it bigger if necessary. Apply the icing by squeezing the icing through the hole.

NOTES
 *AQUAFABA: homemade or from a can of low-sodium chickpeas.

*GLUTEN-FREE VERSION: use 330 g / 2 ½ + 1/8 cup GF flour mix and ¾ teaspoon of xanthan gum (unless the mix contains xanthan gum already).

*FREEZING: This dough freezes very well. You can make it in advance, divide into 4 portions (so that it thaws quicker) and freeze wrapped up in cling film. Defrost a few hours before you are ready to start baking.

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NUTRITIONAL INFO
calories
42
2%
sugars
5 g
6%
fats
0 g
0%
saturates
0 g
0%
proteins
1 g
1%
carbs
10 g
4%
*per cookie
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5.0
4 reviews, 17 comments
REVIEWS & QUESTIONS
Amanda:
Are these sturdy enough to build houses with?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Yes, definitely!
Serena Patel:
This is my go to gingerbread recipe! So simple and always a crowd pleaser- I love it. I recommend the syrup over molasses because it can make them quite dark and a deeper flavour but it’s still delicious. Thanks for the amazing recipe :)
    Ania
    Ania:
    My pleasure, Serena! Thank you for your lovely feedback. Ania
Judith:
I've just made these and they're awesome! - Texture and taste is exactly like non-vegan gingerbread cookies, super pleased with them, thank you!
    Ania
    Ania:
    I'm delighted to hear that Judith! Thank you for taking the time to let me know! Ania
Serena Patel:
I made this today and it came out AMAZING! I’ve recently been experimenting with vegan recipes, have been vegetarian my whole life but trying to be vegan a few days a week . I used golden syrup instead as it’s all I had and it was delicious. The aquafaba was new to me but worked well. I halved the recipe but now wish I made more!! When I heated the oil after I took it off the heat, I added the sugar then a stick of cinnamon, some fresh cloves and cardomam as well. Let it infused then removed it. Also I put nutmeg too
Will definitely be using again - thanks for posting :)
    Ania
    Ania:
    I'm delighted to hear that, Serena and thank you for taking the time to review and rate this recipe – it really help my work to be seen and I appreciate it! Ania
Lauren Arendt:
Do you think the reduced aquafaba could be substituted for a different egg alternative? Such as the "NeatEgg" or flax egg?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Lauren,
    I've never used NeatEgg so it's hard for me to comment but flax seed gel should work (although I have not tried it myself in this context). It is a bit bitsy though so I would suggest boiling the flax seeds whole in some water and then putting this gel through a sieve perhaps to get rid of flax seeds. Hope that helps! Ania
Laura:
OOps . Just saw your bit about freezing in the article!! This is great. Thanks again Laura
    Ania
    Ania:
    No worries at all, hope you'll enjoy these :) Ania
Laura:
Hi Ania
Thanks for the great recipe!! Do you think its alright to freeze the dough... Many thanks. Laura
Tania Rayes:
Hi Ania! I love the way you decorated these cookies, SO beautiful!!
I was wondering if you'd know of a substitute for aquafaba? I love using it, but my sister is home for the break and she's allergic to chickpeas. Also any idea if you can use/add blackstrap molasses for a healthy cookie? :)
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Tania,
    Glad to hear you like the cookies :) You can also make aquafaba from other pulses, white beans work well for example. Alternatively, I would try using the same amount of flax or chia egg (RECIPE HERE). As for blackstrap molasses, I haven't tried using them but a quick search on the Internet suggests that they may not be the best substitute as they are quite bitter. Hope that helps! Ania
Anna:
Hey Ania! Love your version of gingerbread cookies, and there is nothing wrong with your icing skills! They look awesome! Also, congratulations to your parents for coming up with the idea of plasticine to keep you guys occupied! My parents used to give me and my brothers packs of 'wycinanki' and got us to make all the paper chains for xmas tree , then whoever made the longest one, won (there were no prizes, as you said, communist/ post communist Poland sucked! :) pinning these bad boys for later! x
    Ania
    Ania:
    Aw, thanks so much, Ania! :) Yes, I do have fond memories of making stuff out of plasticine as a kid. I also remember doing mahoosive paper chains for our xmas tree from sheets of colour paper! Yes, times were bleak but being a kid is mostly fun, isn't it although I do remember wanting to be a grown up so badly back then ;) Oh, the irony! Pozdrawiam! x
Kate@MyLittleLarder:
What are you talking about, your icing skills are great!! I just love the way you've decorated these cookies - they are sooooo cute! Especially the little kisses and love hearts. Great idea!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks Kate! That's really nice to hear as I was agonising on whether to do them again and re-shoot. x
Nguyen:
Hi Ania,
I started to follow you not so long ago, but already developed a habit of checking your website every single day ;) It is addictive!
Your recipes are amazing and the pictures look fantastic (mouth-watering ;) )!! I look forward to trying these cookies. They are so Christmasty.
Please keep up your work!!
Love.
Ps: I love your cats <3
    Ania
    Ania:
    Aw, thanks soooo much for such a lovely feedback, Nguyen! Your comment made my day :) And I will pass your love to the cats, for sure! Ania
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