Jordan Roth / Sun Contributor

December 4, 2019

’Tis the Season for Vegan Gingerbread

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With the holidays fast approaching, it’s easy to get bombarded by the best things of the season: snow, Hallmark original movies and of course, holiday baking. As a vegan, holiday baking is a little bit difficult to partake in, as fruitcake and peppermint bark aren’t the most vegan-friendly treats. So, this year, I decided to take matters into my own hands and bake a vegan creation anyone would want to eat. What’s on the menu? The one treat the holidays aren’t complete without: gingerbread cookies.

Finding a recipe for vegan gingerbread wasn’t difficult at all — just a few clicks and I found a relatively easy one to follow. The recipe I used can be found here from Loving It Vegan.

Most of the ingredients I already had, but I did have to make the trip to Wegman’s to pick up molasses, flax meal, ginger and allspice. Then, I was ready to start baking. Mixing the ingredients was simple enough, although molasses is always difficult to handle. Making a flax egg was also a bit of a struggle, because I ran out of bowls — to be fair, I only had two — so I had to use a measuring cup to hold the flax and water. I also may or may not have burned myself on the hot water I used to make the flax egg — surprisingly, even dorm kitchen water can be hot — but nothing Cornell Health worthy. From there, it was time to put the cookie dough on baking sheets.

My interpretation of gingerbread cookie dough-laying was that you are supposed to flatten the dough before putting it in the oven. So, I did just that, with the exception of a few thicker cookies because chewy cookies are my personal preference. Due to my lack of cookie cutters, I hand-shaped the dough into squares, circles, stars, hearts and a few blobs when I ran out of creativity. Two baking sheets later, the dough was ready to bake.

After the cookies had finished baking, I took them out of the oven, and was, well, confused by the results. The thinner cookies were burnt black on the bottoms, and only the doughier cookies were cooked to my expectations. In an effort to save the cookies, I decided to ice them, hopefully mitigating the burnt taste one would receive when biting into a cookie. I didn’t have to make my own vegan icing, because most store-bought icing brands are vegan — while they’re pumped with chemicals, that leaves milk out of their recipes. However, as with most things, I became impatient with waiting for the cookies to cool down before decorating them. This resulted in a few cookies having runny, although surprisingly even, icing. As I went from one cookie to the next, the batch eventually cooled down and a considerable number of cookies ended up looking cheerful, festive and unblemished.

Still, however nicely the cookies were decorated would not save them during the final test: How do they taste? While the burnt cookies tasted overwhelmingly burnt (no surprise there), the thicker cookies were perfectly cooked and slightly chewy. With each bite, I was reminded of the holiday spirit with the cookies’ familiar spices and sweet molasses. The icing was also a nice touch, adding a sweet creaminess to cut the spice of the ginger. Overall, the gingerbread cookies tasted great — the ones that didn’t burn, that is. I would definitely make this recipe again, and if you’re considering making it too, just remember: Chewy is the way to go.