So is everyone sick of cookies yet? You do realize, of course, that the whole purpose of the holidays are to make you so completely sick of sugar that you can’t even look a chocolate chip in the eye come January. At least that’s how we look at it: eating deliciously unhealthy treats for a week at Christmas time is what reminds us of how much we enjoy eating healthy and nourishing foods the rest of the year. It’s like a little reset that says “wasn’t that fun? Now let’s get back to being the best us we can be!”
Cookie Monster Hector is a particular connoisseur of these small tasty treats, and I’m usually under strict orders to get cookies out of the house within a day or two of baking them, lest they fall prey to his cookie cravings. I love baking at Christmas, because I can make six dozen cookies and give them all away to other people who appreciate the thought that goes into a handmade gift.
That’s just what happened with these cookies: I made a double batch before Christmas, gave them all away, and made another double batch just after Christmas. And when I say double batch I mean at LOT of cookies: five and half cups of flour and almost 200 regular sized cookies!
On the off chance you don’t actually want to eat all these cookies yourself, I recommend buying plastic chocolate bags (like these from Michaels) and making pretty little packages of 8-10 cookies to give away to friends, family, neighbours, hostesses, coworkers, and anyone else who deserves a little homemade treat.
A few notes worth mentioning…
This recipe is a little more complex than our typical suggestions, but we’ve had so many requests for the recipe that we couldn’t NOT post it! Here are a few little notes and suggestions:
You can easily make this recipe egg-free by using a tablespoon of flax meal in 2 tablespoons of water for every egg. This also makes it vegan since there aren’t any other dairy or animal products – vegetable shortening (for example, Crisco) is also vegan.
The dough gets REALLY hard to stir when you’re adding in the last of the flour. I mean use-two-hands kind of difficult, so it might be prudent to enlist help holding the bowl if you can.
I have baked these cookies multiple ways and they pretty much all turn out fantastic. All of our photos are from the first batch where I really wanted to use my HOMEMADE cookie stamp (who wouldn’t??) and so I made absurdly large cookies to accommodate.
I was feeling a little lazy when I made the second batch, so I just rolled 1 inch diameter balls of dough, stuck them on a cookie sheet 2 inches apart, and baked them for 8 minutes to create little chewy gingerbread puffs. I’m afraid none survived until the photoshoot.
Part two of my second batch turned into little glazed Christmas trees, and made exactly 74 cookies (I counted).
Also, I used a basting brush to paint the glaze onto the cookies, and I’m kind of perfectionist so it took a long time.
But it was all worth it! I’ve had so many people say how much they love these cookies…that’s what it’s all about.
- For the cookies:
- ½ cup vegetable shortening
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 egg, or 1 tablespoon flax meal with 2 tablespoons water
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- ½ cup molasses
- 2¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons cold water
- For the glaze:
- 2 cups icing sugar
- zest from 1 orange (about 1-2 Tablespoons)
- ¼ cup water
- Preheat the oven to 375F, and if you're using flax instead of the egg, mix together the flax meal and water then let it sit for a few minutes.
- In a medium mixing bowl, cream together the shortening and sugar, then add the egg or flax mixture, vanilla and molasses and mix until well combined.
- In a smaller bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, spices and salt. Add one cup of the mixture to the wet ingredients and mix well, then add two tablespoons of water and mix well. Continue alternating until all the flour and water is combined into the molasses mixture and the dough is firm.
- Sprinkle some flour over a flat surface and roll out the dough to between ¼ and ⅓ inch thickness. Use cookie cutters or the tops of drinking glasses to cut out shapes, and place them on a lined baking sheet about ½ inch apart.
- Bake for 10 minutes, then remove the cookies from the baking pan to cool on a wire rack. Cool cookies completely before glazing.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the icing sugar, orange zest and water, then use a basting brush or your (clean) fingers to paint the glaze over the cookie tops.
- Let the glaze harden for at least 30 minutes before packaging. Store cookies in an airtight container so they don't dry out!