Gingersnaps and shortbread with chocolate ganache

It’s crunch time. Any Christmas favourites that don’t get made this week will have to wait until next year! So here’s what I’ve been up to. These are two of my family’s favourites: gingersnaps and shortbread cookies.

Gingersnaps may not be pretty but they are easy to whip up. They’re crunchy on the outside, gooey on the inside with a real ginger kick. They are the best.

gingersnap cookies

For the shortbread, I opted for something a little more special. I made the cookie dough, piped it through my icing bag with a big tip and while they were baking, made some ganache to top the cookies with.

vegan shortbread

I used half of the cookie dough to make these spiral beauties and spread the rest in a round cake pan to make unadorned shortbread for my son. He’s not a big fan of chocolate.

The recipes come from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar: 100 Dairy-Free Recipes for Everyone’s Favorite Treats. If you like cookies or live with little ones who do, you’ll appreciate the variety of recipes in this book. There’s even a number of gluten-free options throughout.

I have a few more cookies on my list but I’ll be making them with the kids. We’ll need to make sugar cookies in Christmas shapes to decorate. We started our gingerbread houses this weekend but we haven’t decorated them yet.

The kids have school all week so it will be tight for us to fit in all the fun we want to do before Christmas. But I’m sure we’ll have time to make our cookies.

What kind of cookies do you make each Christmas?

Chocolate peanut butter energy balls

Chocolate peanut butter energy ball

It’s Saturday morning and we’re finally heading out the door. Everyone has had breakfast, gotten dressed, brushed their teeth and we’re putting on our coats when one of the kids says, “I’m hungry.”

This happens too often and it doesn’t matter if they just finished a meal. They may be interrupting me while I tell them to take their last bite of breakfast and wash their hands because it’s time to go.

It never fails. If we’re on our way out the door, the kids are asking for food. Generally, I’ll send them to the cupboard for a handful of nuts but it’s Christmas so we can do better.

This little treat is full of peanut goodness, requires no baking and little hands can help. It’s probably one of the easiest cookies you’ll make this season and if you have a picky eater, you’ll want to kept this secret – it’s made with pumpkin!

peanut butter and pumpkin puree

Something else that I like about this treat is that the filling is smooth and that makes it different. Often, I’ll pack something extra into treat for added protein. This treat is simple and the smooth peanut filling feels decadent on your tongue. You may not want to share these with the kids!

Chocolate peanut butter energy balls

  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar (powdered sugar for my American friends)
  • 10 oz high quality dark chocolate (make sure it’s vegan)

In a large bowl, mix the peanut butter and pumpkin together well. Add the sugar and work it into the mixture.

Line a tray or plate with parchment paper, ensuring it fits in your freezer. Scoop a tablespoon of the mixture and roll it into a ball. Place it on the tray and continue until you have used up all the peanut butter mixture.

Place the tray of peanut butter balls in the freezer for about 30 minutes to harden.

When the balls have chilled, melt the chocolate using your preferred method. (I use a double boiler method but the microwave will melt it nicely too.) Line another tray with parchment paper. Dip each ball into the chocolate using a spoon to roll it around in the chocolate. Place the dipped balls on the tray and refrigerate to cool the chocolate.

Keep these energy balls in the fridge to fuel the kids throughout the festive season. And, whatever you do, don’t tell them they’re eating their veggies!

IMG_5005

Gingerbread people and elves

 

Advent calendar
The advent calendar I made eight years ago.

For my daughter’s first Christmas, I made an advent calendar. On a poster-sized piece of red felt, I sewed white pockets numbered one to 25 in red. On 25 pieces of paper, I wrote Christmas activities that we could do together as a family and inserted them into the pockets of the calendar.

Some of the Christmas activities are simple like “read a Christmas story” and some are more involved like “make Christmas presents” or “make a gingerbread house.” I tried not to set the bar too high most days. Each year, I go through them and move the more complicated activities to the weekends and the quick ones to weeknights. I shifted all the snow-related activities to late December since there’s no sign of snow here.

The kids love going through the pockets and reading the activities so the pockets are showing some wear and tear. This year, I told them there’d be no snooping! We’ll see if they can manage to keep from exploring the pockets.

Each year, I consider making a nicer one because I took a lot of shortcuts when I originally made this and I could make something nicer but I don’t think the kids would let me change it.

Gingerelf cookies

Today’s Christmas activity was to bake gingerbread cookies. The recipe I use is from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar: 100 Dairy-Free Recipes for Everyone’s Favorite Treats.

I used three sizes of cookie cutters and put each size on its own sheet since they all require different baking times. The kids helped me with the cutting and placing on the cookie sheets.

vegan gingerbread
Little gingerbread people straight out of the oven.

We may decorate a few with icing but they’re tasty on their own – a little army of goodness. If we can find time, we’ll make sugar cookies too and decorate those ones with colourful icing.

gingerbread cookies
Big gingerbread cookies cooling.

What’s your favourite Christmas cookie?