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The last time I stopped in at The Quail & Olive*, I picked up a bottle of their Butter Flavor Olive Oil because I was interested in trying the oil in some holiday baking. I don't know about you, but as soon as Halloween is over, my brain goes into overdrive on what kind of holiday cookies to bake.
Every year I try different treats for my cookie platters that I give to friends and family. For example, last year I baked Painted Peppermint Cookies, Honeycomb Almond Shortbread, and Gingery Fudgy Crinkle Cookies; but gingerbread is a constant because it's my favorite. Besides, it's a tradition to decorate the gingerbread cookies with my family. Before I get to the recipe, I want to share a little bit about this oil because it's delicious and saves a step of having to melt butter for baking cookies.
This oil is vegetarian and dairy-free, but it smells just like melted butter! So, I swapped it in for melted butter in my gingerbread. Actually I swapped it in for any recipe that called for melted butter in the cookie recipe, so you'll be seeing several more cookie recipes that use this.
This is definitely not a traditional recipe for Polish Pierniczki, but we love the Polish tradition of decorating the hearts and snowflakes with royal icing designs. We have also filmed a clip of this recipe. Once it's available on our Culinary Cam YouTube channel, I'll link to it here.
- 1 cup olive oil (I used the Butter Flavor Olive Oil)
- 1 cup organic dark brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2/3 cup unsulphured molasses
- 6 cups flour
- 1 cup ground almond meal or almond flour (use more flour if you have someone with a nut allergy)
- 2 Tablespoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoons ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1" knob fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- Also needed: cookie cutters (I used a snowflake, a tree, and a heart), parchment paper, rolling pin
- 3 egg whites, or more to thin icing
- 6 cups organic powdered sugar, or more to thicken icing
- juice from 1 to 2 organic lemons
- Also needed: hand mixer
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the olive oil, molasses, sugar, and eggs. Add dry ingredients and blend till you have a stiff dough. Split dough into quarters and roll into a ball. Wrap tightly with plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Roll out dough to about 1/4" thick.
Use cookie cutters and place the cookies on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Place the trays in the freezer for 20 to 30 minutes before baking.
Bake in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the size of the cookie; larger ones take longer. They should be firm and nicely browned.
Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for a minute or so before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. While they cool, make the royal icing.
Beat the whites until stiff but not dry. Add sugar and lemon juice. Beat for another minute. If the icing is too thick, add more egg whites; if it's too thin, add more sugar. This icing may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Pipe designs onto your cookies and let set completely before serving.
A Family Tradition
As the kids have gotten older, everyone has their own busy schedules. But decorating gingerbread is a family tradition.
So, it took until 7 o'clock last night before everyone was available to take a break, but we squeezed it in!
...and spinkled and just made a delicious mess that we dunked in eggnog before the boys headed back to their rooms to finish up homework.
Do you have a favorite holiday cookie?