The ultimate Christmas cookie – these biscuits are packed full of spice with a delectable dark, treacly sweetness. They snap beautifully, are excellent for dunking in hot, warming beverages, and icing them makes an ideal holiday activity for small children (also for big children and adults). Plus there’s a gluten-free version that is equally delicious!
Gingerbread biscuits really are a Christmas staple, and this year more than any, you might actually have the time on your hands to make some. They’re incredibly easy to make but you can easily wile away an hour or two on the decorating – a perfect low-key Christmas activity and ideal for occupying over-excited children.
I’ve been making versions of these biscuits for years but I think I’ve finally hit on the perfect balance of sweetness and spice – plenty of ground ginger and a little cinnamon and nutmeg to round out the flavour, and soft light brown sugar and treacle for sweetness that has depth.
Gingerbread biscuits are divine with a cup of tea, but can also make lovely edible tree decorations – pop them in a clear confectionary bag and tie with some sparkly ribbon or thread, and you’ve got tree ornaments that are literally good enough to eat.
How to make Vegan Gingerbread Biscuits
You can essentially just bung all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix them together, but you might need a bit of elbow grease to ensure that they’re well combined. The best way to start is by whisking together, using an electric hand whisk, the vegan butter and soft light brown sugar, before adding the treacle and mixing until fully incorporated. You can then measure out all of the dry ingredients and whisk these in.
For a gluten-free version, I generally avoid simply replacing the plain flour with a gluten-free blend. For one thing you’re likely to need an egg replacer as well, but more importantly the texture is rarely as good, and is often quite sandy. For these biscuits I use gluten-free flour and ground oats. Oats will give a nice crumb to your biscuit and have the added advantage of binding properties. Finally a pinch of xantham gum will help everything stay in place.
If you’re using an electric hand whisk or stand mixer you’ll probably end up with a mixture that looks like crumble, but you should be able to bring it together into a ball with your hands. If not, add a drop of non-dairy milk until you can.
The dough will be easier to roll out if it’s rested and chilled. Cover it in cling film and leave in the fridge for at least 15 minutes. Then pre-heat the oven and lightly flour a work surface ready to roll out your dough.
You’re aiming for the dough to be about 5mm thick – too thin are the biscuits are likely to overbake, too thick and they’ll be soft in the middle. Use some festive cookie cutters to shape your biscuits and place them on a baking tray lined with baking paper or a silicone mat. Bring together any remaining scraps of dough and roll it out again, cutting more shapes until you have used up all of the dough. Obviously it will depend on the size of your cutters but you should be able to get 12-14 medium-sized biscuits.
If you prefer your cookies a little softer, bake for 8–9 minutes. For crisp biscuits you’re looking at 10–11 mins. Actual oven temperatures can vary wildly so you may need to experiment to work out the time needed for your biscuits to turn out exactly as you like them. They’ll feel soft when you take them out of the oven, but will firm up as they cool – after a few minutes when they are cool enough to handle transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the icing
The icing for these could not be simpler. You can use writing icing if you prefer, but I find the taste is often quite artificial, and I really like the sharp sweetness of lemon icing paired with the fiery spice from the biscuit. Simply sieve some icing sugar into a small bowl and mix with a couple of spoons of lemon juice, until you have a smooth and thick icing.
There’s a fine line between perfect icing and something that’s too thick to squeeze out of a piping bag or so thin that any patterns you pipe just spread and merge. Aim for something that is barely pourable; the point where if you drizzle a spoonful into the rest of the icing, the trail will hold it’s shape for a few seconds, as in the image below.
Use an icing bag or syringe if you have one, or simply scoop your icing into a sandwich or freezer bag and snip off the corner of the bag so there’s a very small hole. You can then pipe the icing onto your biscuits in whatever way you like – the more creative the better!
Please let me know if you give these a try! You can comment below or tag me on Instagram or Twitter @greedybearbakes.
Vegan Gingerbread Biscuits
The ultimate Christmas cookie – these biscuits are packed full of spice with a delectable dark, treacly sweetness
Vegan, Gluten-free option, Nut-free, Soya-free
- 50g vegan butter at room temperature (I use Naturli Vegan Block but vegan spread will do)
- 50g soft light brown sugar
- 35g (2 tbsp) treacle
- 110g plain flour (see notes for gluten-free option)
- ¾ tsp baking powder
- 1½ tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- 100g icing sugar
- ½ lemon, juiced
- In a mixing bowl, beat together 50g vegan butter and 50g soft light brown sugar with an electric hand whisk. Once light and fluffy, add the treacle and mix until combined. Sieve in 110g plain flour, ¾ tsp baking powder, 1½ tsp ground ginger, ½ tsp ground cinnamon, and ¼ tsp ground nutmeg. Mix until everything is combined, then bring the dough together into a ball with your hands. Wrap in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for 15 minutes.
- Pre-heat the oven to 170C fan, lightly flour a work surface and line a baking tray with baking paper. Take your dough out of the fridge and roll out until it is approximately 5mm thick. Using some festive cookie cutters, cut out as many biscuits as you can and place on the baking tray with a little space between each. Bring the remaining dough together and roll out again, and cut out more biscuits, repeat until you have used up all of the dough.
- Bake for 8–9 minutes for soft biscuits, or 10–11 for crisp biscuits with a snap. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Make up the icing by sieving 100g icing sugar into a small bowl. Add 1 tbsp of lemon juice and mix together, adding a little more lemon juice if necessary (½ tsp at a time) until you have a smooth and thick icing. Scoop into a piping bag (or sandwich bag and snip off the corner) and decorate the biscuits however you like.
For a gluten-free version, instead of plain flour use 60g gluten-free flour, 50g oats (ground to a flour in a food processor), and ¼ tsp xantham gum. The biscuits will spread slightly more so make sure there’s a couple of centimeters gap between them on the baking tray.