One of my favorite holiday traditions growing up was making Christmas cookies with my mom & sister. This year, Ayla & I spent days in the kitchen making different types of treats and preparing sourdough rolls for Christmas dinner. Something about it made this crazy year feel a little more normal. While we aren’t too into the holidaze around here, it’s simple seasonal rituals, like baking cookies together, that help to remind us of our roots and ground us as the year ebbs & flows.
The best thing about baking our own holiday treats is that they don’t contain any artificial flavors, colorants, or preservatives — just quality ingredients— and they taste amazing! These yummy gingerbread cookies featured an egg from our chickens, our goats’ milk, local panela, healthy fat (butter), our homemade flavor extracts, fresh grated ginger & hand-ground spices. To make them, you will need:
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 cup panela, grated (substitute brown sugar if panela isn’t available)
- 1/2 cup molasses
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 Tbsp baking soda
- 1/3 cup fresh ginger, grated
- 2 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
- 1/2 tsp clove powder
- 1/2 tsp star anise powder
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 cups flour
- 1/2 cup ground panela, whirred in a blender til powdered
- 1-2 Tbsp milk
- 1 tsp orange flavor extract
In a large bowl, mix the panela, egg, molasses, and butter til smooth & creamy. Stir in the salt, vanilla extract, baking soda & spices. Then add the flour, a cup at a time, kneading it in once the dough becomes too stiff to stir.
Lightly flour a flat, clean surface. Working in batches, roll the dough out with a rolling pin (about 1/4 inch thick) and cut shapes out of the dough using cookie cutters of your choosing.
Gently transfer the shapes to a cookie sheet spritzed in oil. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until the cookies slightly poof up and the edges just start to turn brown, around 10-12 minutes, depending on your elevation. We are at high altitude, so things take longer to bake here than they would at sea level. If you’re at a lower altitude, you’ll want to check on your cookies sooner!
Remove the cookies from the oven & let them cool before icing.
To prepare the frosting — add powdered panela and orange extract to a bowl. You could substitute vanilla extract, if you prefer, but the orange icing does pair quite nicely with the spicy gingerbread.
Next, add the milk slowly, stirring to combine, until til the mixture reaches your desired consistency. Spread a thin layer of frosting over the cookies.
Store in an airtight container. Refrigerate if you don’t plan to consume them within a few days, to prolong the shelf life.