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.