You know you have been singing too many Christmas songs when you ask your two-year-old if he knows who comes down the chimney at Christmas and he replies “yes - Santa baby!”
Preparing for Christmas this year has been as much fun as when I was a kid and believed in Santa myself. Little Goat understands so much now and his excitement is completely infectious. We will be making these gingerbread men for “Santa baby” on Christmas Eve - and they’ll be our third batch in the last two weeks because they just don’t last long in this house!
I use blackstrap molasses to sweeten these. Molasses is a byproduct of the manufacturing process of making refined sugar, but, while it’s just as high in calories, it has a much greater nutritional value than refined sugar and is digested more slowly. Molasses is also a nutritional powerhouse compared to most other sweeteners - 5 tablespoons of blackstrap molasses contains 50%of the recommended daily allowance of calcium for an adult (and 100% of a small child’s allowance) and 95 percent of iron (120% for a toddler).
This means that in theory if your child eats almost the entire batch they’d be getting the calcium and iron (and most of the magnesium) they need for the day, although it’s not the healthiest way to get these nutrients and even Little Goat, who has been known to carry the box of gingerbread men around the house with him all day can only manage about 6 at best!
Molasses is the traditional sweetener for gingerbread as it lends a lovely deep, treacly flavour and also brings about the distinctive gingerbread colour.
These biscuits aren’t overly sweet as the only sweetness comes from the molasses and the orange juice, but I think gingerbread is better when you let the ginger shine.
Wishing you have a wonderful dairy free Christmas with your loved ones!
Healthy, Dairy Free Gingerbread
Makes: ~ 30 biscuits
Prep time: 10 minutes (or 20 minutes with toddler help!)
Cooking time: 15 minutes
2 ½ cups flour (I use half plain flour and half light brown flour, but you can use all plain if you prefer)
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ginger (or 3 if you like it a bit more fiery)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
5 heaped Tablespoons (130g) blackstrap molasses
6 level Tablespoons (80g) coconut oil (melted)
70ml orange juice (or you can substitute with whatever juice you have - apple also works well)
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (350 F)
Mix together all of the dry ingredients
Pour the molasses into the dry ingredients and stir - try to cover the molasses in flour before your mixing spoon touches it, this makes it a lot easier to stir without everything sticking
Add the coconut oil and mix until well combined
Add the orange juice slowly, mixing in between, until a dough forms - you may need a little more or a little less
Roll out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and cut into shapes
Place biscuits on a lined baking tray and bake for 10-15 minutes until just starting to darken.
Leave to cool on a wire rack
This makes a big batch, so once cool, place a few of these in a freezer bag and pop into the freezer for another day - or Santa!