I absolutely love this recipe. Baking gingerbread is a family tradition that my daughter, husband, and I enjoy doing together every year around the holidays.
And my daughter really got into it this year! It was so sweet to see her little hands rolling and cutting the dough. I watched with admiration as she used her imagination to decorate all her favorite cut-outs. We don’t limit ourselves to the traditional gingerbread boy. We like to make women, babies, stars, angels, trees, snowflakes, reindeer, holly, and even a moose! Having lots of options makes for a really fun cookie plate! We also avoid artificial colors and sweeteners, opting instead for healthy dried fruit and nuts as wholesome decorations. The whole experience is healthy and fun. I hope you use this recipe to bring a timeless tradition into your own home.
This recipe uses my date sweetening method that you can read about on the Natural Sweeteners page.
In your food processor bowl combine the flour, dates, and butter and process until the dates have become sandy in texture. Add the spices, salt, and baking soda and process again until everything is combined.
Add the egg, molasses, and vanilla and continue to pulse this mixture, stopping once or twice to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Continue to run the food processor until the dough pulls together and is smooth and shiny. Divide the dough into two equal parts and shape each half into a round disk.
Refrigerate the dough for at least 10 minutes or up to 3 days.
If the dough has been in the refrigerator longer than 10 minutes, remove it from the refrigerator and let it warm at room temperature for 10 minutes before rolling.
On a lightly floured surface roll out one disk about 1/3 inch thick and begin to cut out your favorite shapes. Always start at one side of the dough and try to fit the shapes together as closely as possible to avoid waste.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and carefully arrange your cut-outs on the pan. Decorate each cookie with fruit and nuts before baking by gently pressing the topping into the soft dough. If you find the toppings won’t stick well, use a little egg white to wet the fruit or nuts slightly before applying.
Bake each pan for 10 minutes. Let the hot cookies rest on the pan for several minutes before removing them to cooling racks to cool completely.
Continue to cut and decorate all of your cookies. Any dough scraps can be set aside. When both disks of dough have been rolled and cut, collect the scraps and shape them together to create one final disk. Roll and cut the scraps the same way you did the other disks of dough. If your dough won’t stick together, use a little sprinkling of water while shaping it into a disk.
Whether you make these tender delicious cookies for your family, your friends, or for Santa, it is sure to be a jolly time for all involved.