Vegan gingerbread by blogger Saskia
This month, blogger Saskia is busy baking a seasonal favourite – gingerbread. And it’s even vegan! Find out how to make and decorate it here.
Gingerbread is everywhere at Christmas. There are gingerbread figures, gingerbread houses and iced gingerbread stars to hang on your tree. But they all have one thing in common: the unique mix of spices that give gingerbread its inimitable flavour. These include the old classics cinnamon, star anise and cardamom, but also orange peel, cloves and mace.
And the best thing about my gingerbread? It’s vegan! Although usually sweetened with honey, I’ve come up with a recipe that doesn’t require any animal products, including eggs and butter. It’s easy to make and tastes just as good as the traditional version.
Ingredients for two trays of gingerbread:
200g white spelt flour
50g wholemeal spelt flour
100g apple sauce
50g soft margarine
50g ground hazelnuts or almonds
2-3 tablespoons cocoa powder (baking cocoa)
80g cane sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
2-3 teaspoons of gingerbread spice
Preparation (approx. 60 minutes):
Add the apple sauce and sugar to a bowl and stir until the sugar has fully dissolved. Then sieve in the cocoa powder (the less bitter the better) and the gingerbread spice mix. The more cocoa and spices you add, the more intense the flavour. In other words – add extra spices for a more Christmassy taste!
Sieve both flours into a second bowl. Add a teaspoon of baking soda and the ground nuts, and stir to mix.
Then add the softened margarine and the apple sauce before beating to a smooth dough. If the dough is too sticky, add a little more flour. If it’s too hard and crumbly, add more apple sauce.
You’re aiming for a smooth dough that you can roll out and cut shapes from without it sticking to everything.
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until it’s around 0.8 – 1 cm thick. Cut out shapes with your cookie cutters, but remember that fine details will be lost when the gingerbread is baked as the dough rises. Arrange the shapes on a tray covered in baking paper and bake for 8 – 10 minutes at 180°C. The shorter the baking time the softer the gingerbread.
Allow to cool before decorating. Biscuits can be kept for three or four weeks in an airtight container.
Choose your topping
Whether dipped in chocolate or trimmed with white icing, you can decorate gingerbread with whatever takes your fancy. White icing looks pretty, especially if you’re planning to hang your gingerbread biscuits from a Christmas tree.
Dipped in chocolate
Melt the chocolate in a bowl over simmering water. Dip part of the biscuit in or use a brush to cover with the melted chocolate. Decorate with almond flakes, sugar strands or chopped pistachios.
Iced to perfection
Unfortunately not all icing is vegan as some varieties use egg white. However, if you have your heart set on royal icing, you can replace egg white with protein powder.
To make royal icing you will need one egg white and five times the amount of icing sugar. Weight the egg white to find out how much sugar to add. If it’s 40g, add 200g of icing sugar and beat with a hand mixer until the icing has a soft, yet firm consistency. Fill a piping bag and get decorating!
Make a candy-covered gingerbread house a reality by using my vegan recipe to bake the building blocks.
Roll out the dough and cut out the house walls and roof eaves with a knife. To make sure they don’t collapse, cook for slightly longer than the biscuits, e.g. 12 – 15 minutes.
You can use toothpicks to secure the walls and roof. Decorate with chocolate, icing and sweets for a mouth-watering festive showpiece.
Recipes on the blog “Foodlikers” are an easy way to add colour to cooking. My motto is “as simple as possible” so I prefer food you can make without much fuss. Lovingly prepared, carefully photographed, and enjoyable to eat.