Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Vegan Gingerbread Granola Bars and Holiday World Peace Cookies

A reader recently asked for a gingerbread recipe on the Yummy Mummy facebook page, mentioning that she just loved how it made her house smell. The cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and molasses baking in the oven does leave a spicy warm scent lingering in the house making it feel like Christmas. Rather than making a cake though, I decided to change things up a bit. First, a healthy take. Vegan Gingerbread Granola Bars. A couple tablespoonfuls of flax or chia seed, or wheat germ would pack an extra nutrition punch, and you can customize these with your favorite dried fruits and nuts. With these granola bars you can get that cozy holiday flavor without the guilt. They make a great breakfast on-the-go. 
On the other hand, you may just want to go straight to the seriously good (bad? good? naughty? give most to a neighbor?) stuff. Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies. I adapted these from one of my all time favorite cookies, Dorie Greenspan's World Peace Cookies. They are pure chocolate Heaven and I'm pretty sure they really could create world peace if everyone would just eat one and be merry. I gave Dorie's recipe a gingerbready makeover, creating the perfect holiday cookie, if I do say so myself. I will have to make these again in a couple of days as they have mysteriously disappeared. 
Gingerbread cookies are so much better with a little chocolate. Please add these to your "must-make"  holiday cookie file. You will love them. They're also easier than most cookies since you can make the log of dough whenever  you get a spare 10 minutes and keep it in the refrigerator for a few days until you're ready for cookies. (As if you could keep your hands out of that tempting dough!)

Vegan Gingerbread Granola Bars

makes 16 bars 

2 cups rolled oats  
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg 
1/8 teaspoon cloves 
1/2 teaspoon sea salt 
1/4 cup brown sugar 
1/2 cup melted coconut oil 
1/4 cup molasses 
1/4 cup agave 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1/4 cup dried cranberries or cherries 
1/2 cup toasted chopped pecans, pistachios, or almonds 

1 cup vegan white chocolate chips (optional) 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a 9-inch square baking dish with parchment paper. Spread the oats onto a cookie sheet and toast for 5 minutes or until light golden brown. Watch carefully so they don't burn. Reduce temperature to 300 degrees. 

Stir the oats with the flour, spices, and salt to combine. Stir in the brown sugar, coconut oil, molasses, agave, vanilla, cranberries, and nuts to combine. Press oat mixture into the baking dish and bake for 20 minutes. Cool and cut into bars. 

If drizzling with white chocolate or making white chocolate snowflakes, melt chips in a glass bowl, microwaving for 20 seconds at a time until melted. Drizzle over bars with a fork, or transfer to a sandwich bag and snip off a corner to use as a piping bag and draw snowflakes. 

Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies (aka Holiday World Peace Cookies)

makes about 36 cookies 

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg 
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
11 tablespoons (1 stick plus 3 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1/3 cup molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
5 ounces extra-bittersweet chocolate (do not exceed 85% cacao), chopped (no pieces bigger than 1/3 inch)

1/4 cup sanding sugar or sprinkles (optional)

Sift flour, cocoa, baking soda, and spices into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until smooth but not fluffy. Add the brown sugar, molasses, vanilla, and sea salt; beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add flour mixture; beat just until blended (mixture may be crumbly). Add chopped chocolate; mix just to distribute (if dough doesn't come together, knead lightly in bowl to form ball). Divide dough in half. Place each half on sheet of plastic wrap. Form each into 1 1/2-inch-diameter log. Wrap each in plastic; chill until firm, about 3 hours. DO AHEAD: Can be made 3 days ahead. Keep chilled.

Preheat oven to 325°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll logs in the sugar or sprinkles and press to adhere. Using thin sharp knife, cut logs crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick rounds. Space 1 inch apart on prepared sheets. Bake 1 sheet at a time until cookies appear dry (cookies will not be firm or golden at edges), 11 to 12 minutes. Transfer to rack; cool.

adapted from Dorie Greenspan's World Peace Cookies 

Yummy Mummy Tip: 
Most cookie recipes can be made into a log, chilled, and sliced instead of using drops of dough, which means you can make them whenever you have time and store a log or two in the fridge or freezer. Make cookies extra glamorous by rolling the log in sanding sugar or sprinkles before slicing. 


  1. Yum Marina. I love this gingerbread recipe. We should be neighbors. :)

  2. These look so pretty! And sound fabulous. Great recipe :)

  3. Mmmm, they both sound so good! My son loves gingerbread so I might have to give these are whirl. xo

  4. I love both of these recipes, and the log idea is genius. I've only ever made them that way a couple of times, but they yield such a pretty finished product!

  5. I love both recipes!

  6. I don't know wha one I want to try more? The granola bars are so clever and are healthy, but on the other hand the cookies look devine to!! I guess I should make both! I can't wait to try the granola bars!

  7. I am so excited about the gingerbread cookies! Have been craving that delicious sticky sweet holiday flavor and can't wait to try these!! xo

  8. I love the bars and the cookies, the spices are wonderful!

  9. Those snowflake granola bars are so cute! Love the snowflakes on top. And gingerbread flavors in granola sound awesome! Don't think I've ever had granola with those flavors, what a great idea.

  10. I love the name of the cookies, maybe we should try them as a mediation tool between feuding nations ;)

  11. Looks yummy Marina! Love the snowflake decoration:)

  12. I'm definitely making those chocolate ginger snap cookies. They look amazing and I love ginger anything this time of year. I love all the happy pinks and reds in your photos, so festive and girly!

  13. I love the idea of gingerbread turned into healthy glanola bars and those cookies look great, yes, gingerbread cookies taste so much better with a touch of chocolate

  14. Those world peace cookies are something aren't they? I like your spicy gingerbread makeover.

  15. Shannon10:43 AM

    Loving your blog- have never enjoyed cooking but now have a 5 year old boy who loves to cook with me:) I love that your recipes are simple, use fresh whole ingredients and are adaptable (GF, vegan, etc.)- everything I've made has been amazing. I did the granola bars the other day and something was just off-- I think I picked the wrong type of molasses as they were very "molasses forward":( Want to attempt them again- can you tell me what kind of molasses you use? Thanks!

    1. Hi Shannon, sorry about the bars. I just regular molasses but I would recommend replacing some of it with agave so it's not so overpowering next time. I think I'll update the recipe that way too :)

  16. Shannon4:45 PM

    Thanks for your reply-- uh, yeah.... I checked the jar and I used Blackstrap molasses. I had a feeling that was a bad choice :) Maybe I can use it medicinally some how as it looks like pretty serious stuff. I will try the Agave. Just polished off all of the scones I made which I loaded down the chia seeds to alleviate the guilt! :) Happy holidays!

    1. Oh yes, the blackstrap kind is serious stuff. I should have mentioned not to use that kind. sorry about that.


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