These gingerbread olive oil cookies will soon become a regular in your holiday baking repertoire. And this gingerbread man recipe is made without butter!
I really enjoy baking. I especially enjoy eating what I bake! My friends don’t seem to mind my baking experiments, either. Every holiday I experiment and try a brand new cookie recipe and mix them in with some tried and true favorites. And this year is no different.
When my kids were younger, they never cared for the strongly spiced gingerbread cookie. So I came up with this mildly spiced gingerbread man recipe. And because I bake with olive oil, these olive oil cookies are just as delicious as their butter counterparts.
Baking with olive oil
As you may (or may not) know, I bake primarily with extra virgin olive oil ever since I wrote an olive oil cookbook. From pie crusts to scones and even cookies, olive oil can easily replace butter in your baking. And you won’t really miss the butter, either.
And despite some of the myths you may have heard about cooking or baking with olive oil, yes you can bake most anything with this beautiful oil. The key to successful olive oil baking is the quality of olive oil you are using. I have written a lot about baking with olive oil, but I’ll share with you two big tips here.
First, only use extra virgin olive oil. This is first pressed, cold pressed olives. Secondly, taste the olive oil you want to bake with, straight up, alone. If it makes you gag, it is probably rancid. If it is peppery, those peppery notes will come out in your baking.
Extra virgin olive oil comes in a variety of flavors, from mild to pungent, depending on when the olives were harvested and pressed. Use a mild buttery olive oil for baking sugar cookies. But with these gingerbread olive oil cookies, you could totally use a more peppery and stronger flavored olive oil.
Gingerbread man recipe
This year, I was determined to update the gingerbread cookie by using olive oil instead of butter. It took a few tries, but here it is. The cookie is mildly spicy – enough to give you a kick, but it should not overwhelm you, making it very kid friendly.
As I was experimenting and making batches and batches of my olive oil gingerbread cookies, my kids kept stealing one as they passed by. Middle Child requested them in his lunch box. My Princess would eat one when she came home from school. The Professor felt a gingerbread cookie (or two) with a glass of milk was a healthy breakfast.
I guess their tastebuds have evolved after all!
Fast forward a couple more years and those kids are now teenagers (GASP!) and guess what? They request these gingerbread cookies more often than they do the sugar cookies. And honestly, I like them more, too.
Gingerbread cookies without butter
Again, when choosing an olive oil for these gingerbread olive oil cookies, you can use a mild, buttery oil or a spicy, pepper infused oil for more kick. I have done both and each batch turned out delicious.
The only difficulty I have encountered in preparing olive oil cookies is that they are stickier than the butter based dough. So I just roll the cookie dough between two sheets of parchment paper and problem is solved.
A great perk about olive oil cookie dough is that is does not need to be chilled like butter dough. You can chill it of course, but it is not necessary. Just prepare the cookie dough, roll it out, cut it up and bake!
More gingerbread recipes
Can’t get enough of gingerbread flavor but don’t feel like dealing with cookie dough? Here is a fabulous recipe for The Hamilton Cookbook Gingerbread Cake.
- 3 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 cup molasses
- 1 large egg
- 1/3 cup + 1 TBS extra virgin olive oil
- Preheat oven to 350ºF and line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- In a medium-sized bowl whisk together 3 cups flour, spices, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
- Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, mix together brown sugar, molasses, egg, and olive oil until creamy and combined.
- Put mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture, and beat until dough starts to form and clump together.
- Coat flat work surface or cutting board with some all-purpose flour. You can use up to 1/4 cup flour
- Gently knead dough into a round disk.
- Olive oil cookie dough is sticky, so you will need to lightly flour a silicone mat and place it (flour side down) over the dough. You can also use two sheets of parchment paper.
- Carefully roll until out dough until approximately 1-cm thick.
- Using cookie cutters, cut into desired shape. Dip a thin spatular into flour and gently transfer cut cookies at least 1-inch apart onto prepared baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes for shapes approximately 4-inches long, 12 minutes for larger sizes.
- Remember, olive oil cookies do not brown. If you bake for too long, you will have firm, crisp cookies.
- Let sit on baking sheet for 10 minutes after removal from oven, and then using a thin spatula, transfer to a cooling rack.
- Serve as is or ice as desired. Store in airtight container for up to 1 week.
Serving Suggestions: Serve alone or decorate with royal icing.
Cooking Tips: If you want a harder, crisper cookie, bake for 12 minutes. Remember, olive oil cookies do not brown. For darker cookies, use dark brown sugar.
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Serving Size:1 cookie
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 79 Total Fat: 1g Saturated Fat: 0g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 6mg Sodium: 57mg Carbohydrates: 17g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 0g Sugar: 7g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 2g
This giveaway now closed. I am giddy with excitement for today’s giveaway. This is a project that I find both inspiring and beautiful. In 2011, Japan suffered from a terrible earthquake and tsunami.
One of the towns seriously affected by this horrible disaster was Ishinomki, Japan. Sue Takamoto, an American Christian missionary from Hawaii, visited Ishinomaki with disaster relief for the community. It wasn’t too much of a surprise when she discovered many broken shards of pottery in the debris. Instead of seeing trash, Sue saw something beautiful – hope.
Sue founded The Nozomi Project (nozomi means ‘hope’ in Japanese), where the women from Ishinomaki can earn a sustainable income selling the jewelry they make from the broken shards of pottery caused by the 2011 disaster. Each of their product lines has been named by a Nozomi woman in honor of a loved one in her life.
I first heard about this wonderful project from Japanese blogger, Nami/Just One Cookbook. I fell in love with their story and quickly scoured their website, looking for a necklace to buy. So many gorgeous pieces varying from simple designs to more complex.
I purchased a piece from Kikuko’s collection. As it states on their website:
Kikuko works by the sea, mending fishing nets. When she first learned how to make this necklace, her net-mending skills proved helpful as she deftly tied each knot between every bead.
Beautiful stories like this are in every collection. When my necklace arrived, and it arrived quickly, I seriously fell in love with it. It was as gorgeous as it’s picture.
I wore my special necklace on Thanksgiving and received numerous compliments. Everyone loved it and you will fall in love their beautiful jewelry, too.
You could support Nozomi Project by shopping their accessories or donating directly to them. What a wonderful way to support the people of Ishinomaki to rebuild their lives. Wouldn’t their jewelry make a wonderful holiday gift for someone special you know?
And speaking of gifts, I am giving away a necklace AND earrings for one lucky winner!
Entering is easy. Just leave a comment below. And, if you give Nozomi Project a like on Facebook, you will get a bonus entry. Just leave the additional comment below, as well. This giveaway closes on Thursday, December 17, 2015 at 12 p.m. PST and is open to participants worldwide (everyone!).
This giveaway is now CLOSED!
Although this giveaway is closed, please visit the Nozomi Project website. I’m sure you will find something special for that special woman in your life!