In the name of all that is holy, if there were one thing that could ever make me denounce clean eating forever and send me running straight back into the arms of refined flour and sugar and GMOs and Monsanto, it would be baking.
(Just kidding about the Monsanto part. I went too far).
But for the love, I am not a baker.
Cooking is no problem. I can whip up a savory breakfast, lunch, or dinner with one hand tied behind my back. I’m creative in the kitchen. My palate is pretty spot-on. Sometimes I imagine Tom Colicchio and Padma nodding their heads at each other, like “this Bolognese is one of the best dishes I’ve ever had on this show, Tom.” Tom can’t respond because he’s too busy finishing his plate. I’m not packing my knives and going home.
But not so with baking.
It’s not that my final product comes out so terribly. I mean, sometimes it does. Case in point: I made pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving this year. The crust was wonderful – it was made of walnuts and pecans and Kerrygold butter and cinnamon. But the filling?
It’s because I improvise. The recipe called for pumpkin pie spice, which I ran out of, so I decided, “I’ll just make my own!” and got too heavy-handed with the cardamom and destroyed Thanksgiving. (No.) But it was cardamom pie. Have you ever had cardamom pie? No, and there is a reason for that.
Then there was the time I made a chocolate cake for my husband’s birthday and added a heap of regular ground coffee into the batter instead of the splash of brewed coffee they suggested (to enhance the chocolate flavor) because I figured, “ah, same thing”.
No, baking is not my forte. I’m not a measuring type of person and I like to change things up (even though every time I tell myself I’ll do it by the book this time) and I’m kind of impatient and heavy-handed. I can’t pipe frosting to save my life, even though I insist on doing it without help every single year for my daughters’ birthdays. God help you if you walk into my kitchen the night before a birthday party. You will get hit with a spatula.
So this is Evolve Well’s first holiday season and I wanted to bring you a blog about Christmas cookies. I really did. I was going to bring you three kinds of cookies in one blog post.
I’m going to save you the suspense and tell you that my kitchen became a war zone after Cookie Attempt #1 and I nearly canceled the blog altogether. I was literally cursing out my gingerbread-man cookie cutter. No, I mean Cursing. Him. Out.
Healthifying cookie recipes is not for the faint of heart, and I have great admiration for the many bloggers that can do it. Substituting things like spelt flour and coconut oil and honey for white flour and vegetable oil and sugar is not straight-forward and takes much trial and error. I will need a lot more time and money (patience) to be able to figure this out.
For now, I will stick to Bolognese.
But lucky you! Not all is lost.
Occasionally, I hit on a recipe that I do right the first time. This is one that I found almost 3 years ago that goes off without a hitch every time. Of course, I wanted to bring you something new and different, but tried and true works too.
This cookie is gingery, sweet but not overpowerfully so, crunchy and soft in equal amounts, and makes the house smell like Christmas. And it’s one of those recipes where you put all of the ingredients in one bowl and mix. No wet + dry, no tempering eggs, none of that. It’s easy and it’s delicious. And if it works for me, it will work for you.
One of the greatest things about this recipe is that it contains molasses, which is one of the best food sources of iron that you can find. (I was ridiculously low in iron after the birth of my second daughter and my acupuncturist told me to eat a tablespoon of molasses every morning. I didn’t do that but I started working it into my recipes as much as possible for an extra boost). It is also a wonderful source of antioxidants.
Another great thing about this recipe? It contains a hefty dose of ginger. I love ginger anyway, but it doesn't hurt that ginger is among the healthiest spices on the planet. It is an anti-inflammatory antioxidant (that means it has anti-cancerous properties), aids in digestion, boosts immunity, decreases pain related to osteoarthritis, lowers blood sugar, and has been shown to improve cognitive function in women.
These cookies are grain-free and lower in sugar than most cookies. My husband actually asks for them (as opposed to obligingly accepting them as he did with my failed batch of gingerbread men. They weren’t terrible, after all. They just looked terrible, and tasted good/ok. Maybe ok/good).
So try these! I promise, they’re delicious. And in the meantime, I will continue trying, too.
(some of these products are only sold in bulk on Amazon)