Cookie decorating has always been one of my favorite holiday traditions. When I was a kid, my mom would throw Christmas cookie decorating parties every December. In the center of the table she would pile mounds of homemade sugar and gingerbread dough, and my friends and I would spend hours making cookies in all shapes and sizes, generously decorating our creations with sugar sprinkles and tubes of brightly coloring frosting, while completely destroying her kitchen, I’m sure.
Today, I don’t have the space to throw the grown-up cookie parties of my dreams (some day), but I do make sure to bake cut-outs in one form or another every year, just so I can have an excuse to break out my piping bags and put my decorating skills to work. And while I’m obviously no expert, it’s still just as fun as it was when I was a kid.
These Vegan Orange Gingerbread Cookies are a healthier version of the Christmas classic. My fiancé has a dairy allergy, which excludes him from enjoying many of my beloved, and butter-heavy holiday cookie recipes, so this year I decided to surprise him with dairy-free gingerbread cut-outs. As I was researching recipes, I stumbled across this one, which just so happens to be free of both dairy and eggs so it’s 100% vegan friendly. Which in today’s world of complicated food habits, I figure will be a welcome alternative to the eggnogs and shortbreads of the holiday dessert table.
I adapted the recipe to my liking by upping the level of spice and adding both orange zest and orange juice to impart a touch of wintery citrus that beautifully complements the hearty flavor of molasses. They’re a perfect balance of complex and grown-up, while holding onto enough Christmas whimsy to make you want to dig out the sprinkles and have a little fun decorating. I should know, I spent three hours of my Saturday afternoon listening to Spotify Christmas playlists and perfecting my snowflake piping skills. It was absolutely fantastic.
Happiest of Holidays!