I had such big plans for this week’s bake off blog. I was going to make a very elaborate gingerbread story of a scene from the video for Helena. A wonderful emo MCR themed gingerbread house. But then my bunny Pip got ill, and I ran out of time and energy and settled on making iced biscuits. Well, biscuits at least, the iced bit I somewhat lost momentum with when I realised it was 2am and gave up. I wasn’t going to blog these, but I didn’t want to completely fail at my own challenge in week 2, and regardless the biscuits tasted great even if I didn’t end up finishing icing them.
I’ll tell you what they were meant to look like though so you can visualise it. I bought food dye and piping bag nozzles and everything, they were going to be so pretty! They were going to be pastel pink unicorns with purple manes and tails and a gold glitter horn, and they were going to have little black stars on them. So just picture that in your heads and pretend thats what they look like instead of the mess they actually ended up.
The recipe itself is based on the gingerbread recipe in Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar by Isa Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero, and is also on the PPK. I converted the recipe from volume to metric, as usual, substituted some ingredients and the method, and changed around the spice mix to make them more pumpkin spice than gingerbread. If you’re going to make these cookies bear in mind that this recipe made about 50, so you might want to half it for a more reasonable number! Also I know unicorns look cute but please, please do yourself a favour and use literally any other shaped cookie cutter. There’s a reason gingerbread unicorns aren’t traditional, they’ve got far too many appendages to break off, and when they warp in the oven they end up looking like a 5 year olds drawing of a horse. They tasted good though, and really that’s all that matters.
makes about 50 cookies, depending on the size of cookie cutter
80ml (1/3 cup) sunflower (or other neutral-flavour) oil
60ml (1/4 cup, or 60g) treacle
60ml (1/4 cup) non-dairy milk (I used almond milk)
125g plain flour
125g wholemeal flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp each nutmeg, ginger, all spice
In a large bowl with an electric whisk, beat together the oil, sugar, treacle and milk until thick and smooth, it will take about 5 minutes but it will get there. Add in the flours, bicarb, baking powder and spices, and mix with a wooden spoon into a stiff dough. You may need to add a little more flour. Wrap in cling film and leave to chill in the fridge for about an hour.
Once the dough is chilled, preheat the oven to 180°C and line 2 baking trays (or more if you have more that will fit in your oven) with greaseproof paper or silicone mats. Roll out your dough quite thin, about 5mm, on a very well floured surface, and cut out your cookie shapes. Transfer the cookies to the baking trays and bake for about 9 minutes.
Leave to cool and a wire rack before decorating.
I don’t really have an icing recipe, I just mixed icing sugar and gel food colouring and water until it looked vaguely okay. I did want to try an aquafaba royal icing but by this point I didn’t want to go messing around with that and just wanted to eat the cookies. They do taste very good, the spices and treacle came through nicely to give that traditional gingerbread taste with a more cinnamon-y twist, and I think some black pepper would have been an interesting addition to the spice mid. They had a lovely crisp texture, with a slight chew in the middle while they were still warm, and would have been sturdy enough to decorate properly if they were any shape other than unicorns!
Oh and Pip is doing much better now!