Thursday, December 13th

ginger snap

Warm memories of baking with love!

Baking with my Mom and sister was my favourite part of the holidays. My Mom’s ginger snaps were the best! This is an example of how I took a conventional recipe, full of margarine, white flour and white sugar, and tweaked it to suit a whole-foods diet. This recipe is still very traditional-tasting. Real cultured butter is a must.

Tip: When tweaking your old favourite recipes to be healthier, sometimes it is necessary to go back to the drawing board, but most often, just start out by improving the quality of the ingredients. Switch out margarine for coconut oil or cultured butter,  battery eggs for farm fresh ones and white flour with equal parts whole wheat, spelt or kamut flour.

How to make the switch to healthier sweets, well… Sweet!

These are inspired by my mom’s chewy ginger snaps. They stay soft for days in an airtight container or ziplock bag. I tweaked this recipe a bit- reduced the sugar by half and used whole sugar (sucunaut) and dates instead and I increased the molasses. In addition, I use whole flour, and wheat-free flour for nutritional variety and easier digestibility. For a touch of heat, I add ground pepper and fresh ginger. 

These substitutions increase the mineral and fiber content, slowing down the absorption of sugar into the blood. Keeping us on an even keel!

ginger snapWhen I taught these in our healthy holidays sweets class a couple weeks back the feedback was amazing! People are loving these right out of the oven, but they last for days too, so you can get on with your holiday entertaining.

One of the students said that she loved how we learned how baked goods come together (like how sugar is responsible for the moisture, spread and chewiness of a cookie, so sub soaked dates instead!). It helps us understand why some alternative baking projects flop! I have heard my share of stories about failed baked goods from students, and don’t get me wrong, I have had many failures and learning experiences too! Over-spread cookies, door-stops and hockey-pucks as well as dry cookies can all be confidence busters if you don’t know how to diagnose the problem!

It is so comforting when people get that when they switch towards a healthier diet, foods actually taste richer, better rounded and are more satisfying because unlike the ‘food products’ that jam the store shelves, these are made with real ingredients, and most of all, they are prepared with LOVE!

Chewy Ginger Snaps

Download Printable Ginger Snaps Recipe Here!

 Ingredients

2 1/4 cup whole kamut or spelt flour

½ cup sucunat or whole sugar

1/3 cup date paste*

¾ cup organic butter, softened to room temp.

1/3 cup blackstrap molasses (unsulphured)

1 organic, free-range organic egg

1 tsp baking soda (aluminum-free)

2 tsp grated fresh ginger

3 Tbsp chopped candied ginger (optional)

2 tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

extra sucunat or whole sugar for rolling the cookies

Directions

* To make date paste, soften a cup (or more) of dates in just enough warm water to cover.

Drain them and reserve the liquid. Blend in a food processor or blender with just enough of the reserved liquid to make a smooth paste.

You can store this in your fridge for weeks. Use in desert recipes in lieu of sugar.

  • Preheat oven to 375F

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine about half the flour with the sugar, date paste, molasses, butter, egg, baking soda and spices

  • Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until combined (or use some elbow grease and a whisk).

  • Stir in remaining flour

  • Shape dough into 1 inch balls and roll in the sugar (or sucunat)

  • Place on an un-greased cookie sheet and press lightly with a fork to squish it down slightly

  • Bake for 8-10 minutes, until the tops are crackled

  • Cool cookies on cookie sheet for 1 minute and then transfer them to a wire cooling rack

  • Makes about 48 small cookies

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