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Christmas Treats

Posted Dec 17 2009 5:47pm
I’ve been doing lots of Christmas baking lately and want to share a couple of recipes. The first recipe is for some most excellent Ginger Cookies. The recipe I found was almost vegan, except for the eggs, so it was easily adaptable. The recipe includes a little cocoa powder, and the method is different from any other cookies I’ve made in the past. They are rolled in coarse sugar, so they turn it out crispy on the outside and remain chewy in the middle. They are spiced just right. I think they’re the best I’ve ever made.

Ginger Cookies
(adapted from Once Upon a Tart)

Yield: 5 dozen cookies

Ingredients2 cups sugar
2 eggs (I used EnerG egg replacer)
½ cup molasses
1-1/2 cups vegetable shortening, melted and cooled to room temperature
4 cups AP flour
1 T. cocoa powder
2 t. ground ginger
1 t. cinnamon
½ t. cloves
½ t. allspice
2 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
coarse sugar for rolling

DirectionsHeat oven to 350º and position rack in center of oven. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the sugar and eggs together, using the whisk attachment of an electric mixer on high speed until light and well incorporated. Turn mixer to low, beat in the molasses, then the shortening.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, spices, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add to wet ingredients using the paddle attachment of your mixer on low speed until no flour is visible. (My mixture needed about 3 T. of water at this point to get the dough to come together. If you make the nonvegan version with 2 eggs, this won’t be necessary.)

Pour a handful of coarse sugar onto a plate. Scoop up heaping teaspoons of dough and roll between your hands to form cookie balls (about 1-1/2 inches in diameter). Roll each cookie ball into the sugar, then place onto the baking sheet. (No need to flatten.) Bake for about 11 minutes or until almost set.

Cool the cookies on a wire rack briefly, then transfer off the baking sheet to cool completely.

The next recipe is Cherry Pecan Bread. It’s my favorite bread to bake for Christmas because it’s pink! It’s really a cake baked in a loaf pan. It’s soft and light and perfect for Christmas morning. I made mini loaves to give as gifts (and had one left over for me!).

Cherry Pecan Bread

Ingredients2 cups AP flour
2 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
¼ cup margarine, softened
¾ cup sugar
1 egg replacer
1 t. vanilla
1-1/4 cup cherry juice + nondairy milk
1 8-ounce jar maraschino cherries, juice drained and reserved
½ cup chopped pecans, preferably toasted

DirectionsHeat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9 x 5 loaf pan.

Drain the cherry juice into a 2-cup measure, then add enough milk to make 1-1/4 cups. Coarsely chop the cherries.

Stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat the margarine, sugar, egg replacer, and vanilla until light and well incorporated. Stir in dry ingredients alternately with cherry juice mixture, stirring just until combined after each addition. Stir in cherries and pecans.

Pour into prepared pan and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until tester comes out clean. (Bake mini loaves for about 35 minutes.) Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove to wire rack to cool completely.
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