Eat More Plants.

Ginger Molasses Valentine Treats.

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One pastry that reminds me of my mom 100% are gingerbread cookies. Every christmas without fail, we would make batches and batches of gingerbread cookies. The best, sugary icing on top and some sprinkles. It was really hard to resist eating them all day. Now don’t get me wrong, my mom is super healthy and from where I get my penchant for healthy and creative cooking…but she bakes really amazing holiday treats; coconut custard and chocolate pecan pie for thanksgiving and sweet, almondy spritz cookies for Christmas were some of my favorites.

My moms cookies were moist, soft and amazing. I wanted to go a different route than traditional butter laden cookies but still retain that wonderful molasses and ginger spice. I added some fresh grated nutmeg and extra ground ginger. Also it adds more flavor to toast the ground ginger before using it. So I substituted butter for soy-free earth balance and used brown rice flour, arrowroot powder and guar gum instead of wheat flour. They came out great. I may have baked them a touch too long though. The taste was perfect. They got crunchy when they cooled which I wasn’t too ecstatic about. I would have preferred them soft but that’s just how I like them. My daughter really loved them crunchy so I can’t complain. It was my first try on this particular recipe and I haven’t done that much gluten free baking lately so I might be in need of practice…

I made these in the spirit of valentines day, even though I’m not really a romantic person, I do like any excuse to bake pretty, heart shaped things. So I made some heart shaped cutouts inside my hearts and sandwiched them together with some local raspberry jam a la linzer tart.

Note:
These are very gingery and spicy. If you’re not crazy about those flavors, cut down the amounts a bit!

Ingredients:

1 c fine ground brown rice flour
1 c arrowroot powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t guar gum
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t fresh grated nutmeg
1 t ground ginger, lightly toasted in a pan before hand and cooled
use more ginger if you want you want a stronger flavor! I used closer to 2 teaspoons.
1/2 t salt, if your butter substitute is unsalted
1/4 c butter or butter substitute, softened (I was wondering if you could use coconut oil or butter for this? Will try next time.)
1/4 c confectioners sugar
1/2 c dark molasses
1 t vanilla extract
Extra rice flour for dusting

Heat oven to 350.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Sift all dry ingredients together, except sugar.
In a separate large bowl, cream together butter and sugar for 3-5 minutes, until light and fluffy.
Add molasses and vanilla, beat in as well.
Slowly add in dry ingredients a little at a time, until your dough is formed.
Generously sprinkle flour on your surface for rolling out your dough.
Dust your rolling pin with flour as well.
Gently roll out your dough to 1/4 inch to 1/8 inch thickness. Don’t skimp with the flour; this dough sticks to any surface easily. Flip over while rolling and re-dust with flour before you cut shapes out.
It’s easiest to move your cutouts with a spatula rather than your hands, when you need to place them on your baking sheet. They tear easily.
Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.
Enjoy!

I am going to work on making these come out softer…stay tuned.

Also, if you’re ever craving an amazing ginger molasses cookie and you happen to be in Vermont, find “Liz Lovely” cookies! They’re gluten free and vegan and just plain ridiculous. I can’t vouch for any other flavor than the ginger though…I really need to branch out my flavors.

Recipe inspiration from the very random about.com.

update:
The few cookies that I had sandwiched with jelly and let sit in an air tight box last night, taste amazing today!! They absorbed a bit of moisture from the jelly and became so soft and moist. Loved how these turned out the day after! It’s funny how that happens with certain pastries; better texture the next day.

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