Mini coconut oil gingerbread folk
I should preface this by saying I don't usually take reader requests. I mean, I love your suggestions and delicious ideas for potential posts but, chances are, if you write me asking to veganize your granny's puff pastry recipe (happened) or make a gluten free version of every recipe on this site (yep, that happened, too).. I'm probably not going to do it. Partly because I don't want to devote the time to that sort of thing, but mostly because it's not fair to pick certain recipes over others.
However, when more than a few of you email me over the course of a week, asking for a coconut oil version of an existing OLC recipe (that's laden with vegan butter), I couldn't resist saying yes. Especially considering it's been my main objective to remake all my favorites using coconut oil (sugar cookies, chocolate chunk cookies, (black raspberry) frosting, coming soon: COOKIE CRUST AND CREAMY PIE FILLING). Despite the fact that I already had plans for a recipe this week, I figured my suggestions should probably be tested instead of blindly recommended. So I told everyone to hang tight and check back during the week of 14 December because there would be a recipe for coconut oil gingerbread folk, no matter what.
If you've read here for any amount of time, you've probably noticed I post a lot (ahem, too many) photos with each recipe. And you'll probably notice (when you scroll past the text) that there aren't nearly as many photos accompanying this post, as posts prior. So let's talk about the day I was shooting these cookies. And how I started getting so hangry that I forced a mandatory break upon myself despite the fact that I don't ever take breaks in the middle of shoots. I sat down with a pathetic excuse for lunch (white rigatoni drizzled with a crapload of good olive oil and sprinkled with flaky salt, cracked pepper, and dried thyme) (in case you were wondering) and, after filling my stomach with a bunch of empty calories, I figured I'd have a mug of coffee. My third of the day. So I made my coffee, sat down at the table (again), and pulled the plate of gingerbread folk within arm's reach.
Before I knew it, I'd eaten the entire plate (and then some) and didn't realize over half the batch was gone until I cleaned up my mess from lunch and went back into the dining room to find that all that was left was a handful of gingerbread folk and a hidden pile of casualties I tried covering in icing (iced gingerbread cookies are no longer welcome in this house) (the icing makes it difficult to drown them in coffee and be able to actually drink the coffee, afterward). I let out an audible YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME because I didn't have four hours to let another batch of dough chill. Followed by an OH FUCK because I told a handful of people the recipe would grace this space - no matter what - come mid-December. And just when I started feeling embarrassed/horrified and totally ashamed (mindless eating, yo!), I realized devouring most of my subject wasn't nearly as bad as that one time I tore through the house looking for chocolate and, when I came up empty handed, ripped open a package (that was intended for a friend) and ate the chocolate that was inside. It was not my proudest moment. But this thing with the gingerbread folk was not my proudest moment, either. And I'm going to stop talking before I tell you the other embarrassing, food-related story that has absoltuely nothing to do with me eating Park Burger French fries out of the garbage.
PS - This is happening on Monday. And I'm kid-on-XMAS-morning excited about it.
Notes: The longer you chill the dough, the richer in color it will be. If you're crunched for time, four hours will suffice but overnight (8+ hours) is best, as the extra chill time really helps to develop the flavors. If you're making 3-4" gingerbread folk, you should probably double the recipe, as this one will only make about a dozen. If you're down with vegan butter, you can use the original recipe (but I promise this one's better).
MINI COCONUT OIL GINGERBREAD FOLK
3/4 cup (88g) powdered cane sugar
1/4 cup (44g) refined coconut oil
1/4 cup (88g) unsulphured molasses
2 tablespoons (24g) unsweetened almond milk
1 teaspoon (4g) pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1/4 cups + 2 tablespoons (191g) all-purpose unbleached flour, divided
Add the powdered sugar to a large mixing bowl; set aside. In a small saucepan set over medium heat, combine the coconut oil, molasses, almond milk, and vanilla extract; heat mixture just until warm and lightly simmering. Off heat and then pour about a quarter of the coconut oil mixture into the powdered sugar and whisk until all the sugar is dissolved and no clumps remain. Whisk in remaining liquid and stir until smooth. Using a sturdy spatula or wooden spoon, stir the ginger, cinnamon, cloves, baking soda, sea salt, and 1 1/4 cups of the flour into the wet mixture. Once all of the flour has been incorporated, stir in the remaining two tablespoons as needed (I used one additional tablespoon, totaling 183g of flour). Pat the dough into a ball then tightly wrap it with plastic, flatten it, and refrigerate for at least four hours (though 8+ is preferred). Once the dough has chilled for at least four hours, remove it from the refrigerator and let it rest at room temperature for 15-20 minutes before rolling.
Preheat oven to 325˚F. Line a large baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper; set aside. Line a flat surface with parchment paper and sprinkle with cacao powder (flour may leave white streaks on the cookies) (you can also use powdered sugar). Roll out the dough into a large slab that's 1/8-1/4" thick and cut with mini cutters. Transfer dough pieces to the prepared baking sheet and continue rolling out dough until your sheet is filled with gingerbread folk. Transfer to the freezer and freeze for 20-30 minutes then bake at 325˚F for 7-8 minutes. Allow to cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Cookies will keep in an air tight container for up to three days.
Serve as is (we usually prefer ours plain), with a dusting of powdered sugar, or decorate with icing. If you have heart sprinkles, put a heart on the chest of each cookie.
Yield: 80+ mini gingerbread folk
For a lower sugar option - Reduce the powdered sugar to 1/2 cup (58g).
To use cane sugar - Replace the powdered sugar with 6 tablespoons (76g) of cane sugar and 1 tablespoon (10g) of potato starch.
To use coconut sugar, maple sugar, or sucanat - Replace the powdered sugar with 1/2 cup (104g) of any of the three varieties (or a combination of each).
To use white spelt flour - Replace the unbleached flour with 1 3/4 cups (210g) white spelt flour.
To use gluten free flour - Replace the unbleached flour with 1 1/3 cups (195g) gluten free flour blend.