Oooh, what a mysterious title. Not really all that mysterious, but it’s late and so, you know, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Also, ~famous~ is entirely relative in its use here, but we’ll get to that shortly.
There are many things about this Gingerbread that do indeed make it extra-ordinary however. For starters it has Pomegranate seeds on it – how festive are those little buggers?! And then there is the piping – Eggnog Royal Icing. Yep, you read right, Eggnog.Royal.Icing. A miracle of my own creation and possibly inspired by the Bourbon winking at me from the kitchen cupboard. ‘Possibly’ in this instance means ‘definitely’, by the way.
Oh, and how could I forget, it’s made with wholegrain flour, and a sugar change up and magical coconut oil – really now, you had to know that was coming. BTW, based on the content of the previous sentence, I’d put $10 on the fact that my brother has now stopped reading, scrolled directly to the recipe and is reciting the ingredient list out loud as his wife pulls jars and bowls out of cupboards to make this, but I digress.
So about this whole ‘famous’ thing… I was on the Twitter a few weeks back chatting to @angelamollard about cake [of course I was]. Angela, amongst other things, writes a column for the Sunday Magazine section of the Sunday Telegraph. She asked if I would mind sharing with her, for an article she was working on, why I bake. Humm, let me think about that for a moment… do I mind talking about food, we haven’t properly met have we…
I remembered at about 6pm on Sunday evening – while up to my elbows in this Gingerbread – that the article was being published that day. RJ picked up a paper for me and started to scan the piece. When he said ‘oh look, she mentions 84thand3rd‘ I may have squealed, and possibly jumped up and down a little bit, or a lot, and perhaps deserted the cookies for a short while in my excitement. In any case, I’m claiming ‘famous’ because it’s my blog and I can do that. The article is lovely, if you want to have a read it’s here: For the Love of Cake. Tell me, why do you bake?
But back to the cookies, I love gingerbread, always have. When I was a kid we made gingerbread people for the Christmas tree. They would hang along side the hand-strung garlands of popcorn and cranberries [yes, hand-strung popcorn and cranberries - and people wonder where my craft gene comes from] and the red velvet Christmas ornaments, and the tinsel, winking at us all through the holidays. And of course there was always a batch for eating too!
I do firmly believe they taste better as stars and snowflakes than as people shapes, and are just as satisfying without icing but look prettier with it. They also taste better when snuck from vintage cookie tins that have been poorly hidden away from grubby fingers, but that is an entirely different story for a different day.
For now, gingerbread in the shape of snowflakes, that is healthy enough to justify eating twice as much and naughty enough to bring back memories of childhood. Enjoy.
1/2 c coconut oil*
1/4 c coconut sugar*
1/2 c molasses
1 Tbsp white vinegar
2 1/4 c whole wheat or whole spelt flour* + 1/4 c extra
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
Eggnog Royal Icing
Pomegranate seeds – fresh
Pre-heat oven to 180 C [350 F]. Line 2 cookie sheets with baking paper [parchment].
Cream coconut oil and sugar together with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until fluffy. Beat in egg, molasses and vinegar until well combined. Sift over dry ingredients and mix well.
Turn out dough and pat into a flat-ish round. Wrap in baking paper and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Roll out half of the refrigerated dough to about 1/8 inch thick [approx 2 mm]. I do this on baking paper that has been sprinkled very lightly with flour. Dip cookie cutters in flour and cut out shapes. Use a small metal spatula or off-set knife to transfer to the prepared cookie sheets. Repeat with other half of dough. Make sure to gently press scraps together and re-roll to desired thickness for more cookies*.
Bake in pre-heated oven for 5-6 minutes, turning trays once during baking. I prefer soft gingerbread so I only ever bake for 5 minutes.
Remove immediately from trays and cool on wire racks. Decorate however you like. Share the love.
Makes approx 4 dozen small to medium size cookies. Use bigger cutters, get less cookies, obviously.
- Coconut oil replaces the traditional vegetable shorting or butter in this recipe, it should be cool-room temperature and semi-solid rather than warm-room temp and liquid.
- The white sugar has been reduced by half and replaced with coconut sugar which is low-gi, sustainable and mineral rich, this with the molasses means the cookies are still plenty sweet. You could use regular white or brown sugar.
- The amount of flour you need will depend slightly on the type you use. Start with the 2 1/4 c and add a bit more if the dough seems too wet. You can always wait and use the extra while rolling out the dough. If using wholewheat instead of spelt try to find wholewheat pastry flour which is a much finer grind. My stone-ground organic stuff made for a slightly more ‘rustic’ finished product.
- After about 2 rounds of pressing together the scraps and re-rolling I just bake a tray of the remaining off-cuts… no way am I throwing out the left over bits, they make for a great cook’s-treat before the pretty ones get shared around!
- If you want to make these to use as Christmas ornaments, use a toothpick to poke a hole in the top before baking, and leave in oven for about 7-8 minutes so they get really firm.