Monday, December 24, 2012

Paleo Gingerbread Sticks

Yum!  Yum!  Yum!  These are the most amazing little cookie sticks I have ever eaten.  I made these for my family as a Christmas treat and everyone wanted extra to take home with them.  These little guys are perfectly crunchy-chewy with warm ginger-cinnamon flavors and a hint of extra crunch from the raw sugar sprinkled on top.  Making paleo gingerbread has been a challenge (I have had many failed attempts) but I assure you this recipe, if followed exactly, is the ultimate paleo gingerbread cookie.  Two pieces of advice:  make sure you boil the molasses as it does something to caramelize the flavors in the cookie and make sure you refrigerate the dough for at least an hour so that it's very cold and hard (this makes it easier to roll out and keeps it from getting sticky).  If you are having a hard time working with the dough, use about a teaspoon or two of rice flour and dust it on the parchment paper or over the ball of dough before pressing it out.  This will make it a bit easier to work with.  Enjoy!  Enjoy!  Enjoy!

The perfect holiday treat!
1/2c molasses
1/4c pure maple syrup
3tbs hydrogenated palm shortening (try Spectrum Organic brand)
1tbs full fat coconut milk
3c almond flour
1/2tsp ground cinnamon
1/2tsp ground ginger
1/2tsp ground cloves
1/2tsp salt
1/2tsp baking soda
2-3tbs natural turbinado sugar
1-2tsp white or brown rice flour (optional)

1. In a small saucepan, heat molasses, pure maple syrup and palm shortening until boiling.  Remove from heat and stir in coconut milk.
2. In a large bowl, mix almond flour, ground cinnamon, ground ginger, ground cloves, salt and baking soda.  Pour in the hot molasses mixture.  Stir well.
3. Place bowl of dough in the refrigerator until very cold and hard, about an hour or two. (If  you don't chill it properly, the dough will be too sticky to work with and you will have a big mess on your hands.  I know this from experience)
4. When the dough is about chilled, preheat your oven to 350F.  Take out the dough.  Place a large piece of parchment paper on a cutting board.  Sprinkle with brown or white rice flour if desired (this makes it a little easier to work with but isn't completely necessary).  Place the dough on the parchment sheet.  If the dough seems sticky, add another tsp of rice flour sprinkled over the top of the dough.  Add another parchment sheet on top.  With a rolling pin, roll out the dough until it's about 1/4" thick (try to roll it into a rectangle the best you can.  Cut the edges and save them for later in the fridge).  You want the dough and parchment sheet to fit on a baking sheet.
5. Using a pizza cutter (or sharp knife if you don't have one), cut the rectangle into thin strips.  Don't worry if they aren't all exactly the same (if you want to be more exact, you could use a ruler with a pizza cutter to make sure they are perfectly straight).  Then slide the rectangle and parchment onto a baking sheet.  Sprinkle with a few tablespoons of turbinado natural cane sugar.
6. Bake for about 10-13 minutes, or until the edges are brown the the middle seems to be firming up.  Immediately remove from oven and slide the parchment sheet onto a cutting board.  Working very quickly, before the cookies cool and harden, use a clean pizza cutter to retrace the cuts of strips of gingerbread.  When cool enough to handle, gently break them into sticks.
7. Reduce the oven heat to 200F.  Place gingerbread sticks back on a parchment lined baking sheet, sprinkle with a bit more turbinado sugar if desired, and bake for another 5-10 minutes.  Remove from heat and cool completely (this second baking makes them a bit more crunchy so they will stand up in a cup.  If you want yours softer you do not need to put them back in the oven).  Remove and cool completely before serving.  You can store these at room temp for about a week (if they last that long).

Gift Idea:  Take a handful of sticks and tie them with a ribbon or twine for holiday gift-treats

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