Christmas is only 3 days away now, which means that in just 48 hours, it’ll be time to put out cookies for Santa and his reindeer! I’m not exactly sure where this time-honored tradition came from, but I sure am glad it exists, since making holiday cookies is one of my favorite winter activities. Today, I spent the day with my 5-year-old cousin, baking and decorating Christmas cookies. We had an absolute blast, and we made lots of memories. We also had holiday music playing, which got us all in the Christmas spirit!
I don’t know about you, but growing up, my family always made plain sugar cookies for Santa. And don’t get me wrong, sugar cookies are delicious (I even made some with my little cousin today), but they’re just a little bit generic. Sugar cookies are used for birthdays, Easter, and just about any other celebration. But Christmas isn’t just any other celebration. It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Therefore, it should have it’s own special cookies, and it does: they’re called gingerbread cookies. Now, I’m sure you’ve all heard of gingerbread cookies (duh), but how often do you actually make them? It seems to me that gingerbread is severely underappreciated as a flavor, even though it’s absolutely delicious. The spicy, molasses-y, cinnamon-y flavor is unlike anything else. The best way to describe it is that it tastes like Christmas!
Since gingerbread cookies are not as popular as I believe they deserve to be, I was pleasantly surprised when I received a request for a ginger cookie recipe. I knew I had to include classic gingerbread cookies as one of my 3 Christmas recipes for this weekend. And since the best part of making Christmas cookies is decorating them, I threw in a simple icing recipe as well. That way, you can make your cookies pretty for Santa, and you can make lots of fun cookie-decorating memories!
Vegan Gingerbread Cookies With Royal Icing
No Christmas is complete without some homemade cookies! These gingerbread cookies are vegan, decorated with royal icing, and perfect for all your holiday needs.
For the Cookies
- 1 tbsp ground flax seed + 3 tbsp water mixed
- 3/4 cup vegan butter softened
- 1 cup light brown sugar packed
- 3/4 cup molasses
- 4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 3/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp salt
For the Icing
- 2 cups confectioners sugar
- 4-8 tsp non-dairy milk
- Red + green gel food coloring optional
For the Cookies
Stir together the ground flax seed and water to form a flax “egg.” Set aside for 5 minutes to thicken.
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together the vegan butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in the flax “egg” and the molasses.
In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet until thoroughly incorporated.
Cover and refrigerate the dough for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
Once the dough has chilled, preheat the oven to 350°F.
Roll out the dough to 1/8″ thickness on a clean, lightly floured work surface. Cut out cookies with floured cookie cutters of choice. Place cookies on an increased baking sheet, leaving an inch between cookies.
Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until edges are firm. Place on a wire rack to cool before decorating with icing.
For the Icing
Add the confectioners sugar and 4 tsp of the non-dairy milk to a large bowl. Mix well, and add more milk, 1 tsp at a time, if necessary to reach desired consistency.
Divide the icing between 3 bowls. Add a few drops of red food coloring to one and mix until color is evenly distributed. If desired, add more food coloring until desired vibrancy is reached. In a second bowl, repeat the process with the green food coloring. Leave the third bowl of icing white.
Once cookies have cooled completely, decorate with the icing. You can use a piping bag with a small round tip for this, or you can place the icing in a plastic sandwich bag and snip off a corner.
Looking for another underappreciated Christmas cookie recipe to try? Try out a gluten-free version of pecan crescent cookies here!