Gingerbread, Gingerbread, Gingerbread Rock

By Brenna O’Dea

CHRISTMAS IS SO CLOSE WE CAN ALMOST TASTE IT. Let’s be honest here, Christmas dinner can be delicious, but we all know what the true meaning of Christmas is…COOKIES. For Santa or for yourself, baking holiday treats can bring friends and family together from all rooms of the house and all corners of the world. One of our favorite flavors of the season…gingerbread. We love ginger, we LOVE bread, so to the inventor of ginger+bread…THANK YOU. Here are a few ideas that will definitely add a lil’ sweet ‘n spicy kick to your Christmas (or to any winter meal!)

Cookie

A tried & true classic, the gingerbread cookie will never go out of style. Whether you stick to a simple recipe, or maybe you opt for the vegan or gluten free variety, your taste buds will smile. The real fun here comes from creativity. If eating little gingerbread boys and girls isn’t your thing, try these shapes out for a new tradition. And don’t forget about the final glossy touch…the icing of course! Of course we approve of a little extra sugary sweetness at this time of year, but there are plenty of healthier versions out there. Whip up some of this beautiful buttercream or food coloring free icing for a sweet treat without those mystery ingredients. Even your smallest sous chefs can join in on the fun. They may make a mess, but the results will be DELICIOUS.

Cake

Fork first or face first, however you dive in, these gingerbread cake recipes are CRAZY good. For a classic, lighter loaf, bake this baby from Bon Appétit. Your holiday guests will swoon for this sweet treat. Looking for something a bit more intense to top off the night? Try this stout spiked specialty from Gramercy Tavern, courtesy of Smitten Kitchen. The real kicker in this recipe? The molasses. It turns this work of art into a true masterpiece. Combined with spices galore, this one will be a flavorful favorite. Invite the little ones into the kitchen to help sift together flour and spices, and then whisk it all together to create a beautiful batter. Who gets to lick the bowl??

Pancake

“Good morning world, what do you have in store for me today!?” Is what you’ll be shouting from the rooftops after DEVOURING these delights. As fluffy as your favorite pillow, as satisfying as an afternoon nap, these gingerbread pancakes, you heard me, PANCAKES, will brighten your morning on any gloomy winter day. All the spices under the sun…topped with ginger molasses maple syrup if you dare…these hotcakes are heavenly. A simple yet spectacular recipe, the whole family will have fun flipping these flapjacks on the griddle. If you’re feeling extra adventurous…toss some chocolate chips on top or crush up some candy canes for a festive touch…or our personal favorite…fresh fruit! There’s nothing sweeter. And finally, for a breakfast fit for Santa’s elves, slice up some strawberries and within minutes you’ll have yourself a reindeer pancake platter.

Porridge

Pancakes aren’t your thing, but you still crave the flavor of Christmas at the crack of dawn…this perfect porridge will warm your hands, hearts, and bellies with every bowlful. Classic oatmeal or quirky quinoa, however you take your morning medicine, it is sure to be delicious with a dose of gingerbread. A spoonful of sugar, you say, Ms. Poppins? Au contraire, we prefer healthy whole grains sweetened with grade A maple syrup. Top this early morning treat with some chopped nuts and dried fruit for a heartier helping, or a splash of your milk of choice to cool it down for the tiny tots at the table…we don’t want a Goldilocks situation on our hands.

Smoothie

I know, I know, I was suspicious too. These days it seems like we are turning everything imaginable into smoothies. Kale, cucumber, beets, bone broth…STOP WITH THE MADNESS. Just kidding, I do love the occasional green smoothie to kick start my day. This smoothie specialty however, packs a different health food punch. The anti-inflammatory benefits of ginger and the fabulous flavors of gingerbread all in one glass! This Christmas-y concoction is loaded with fiber-full chia seeds and spicy cinnamon to boost your metabolism…something we all could use after sneaking a few (handfuls) of cookies off Santa’s plate.

Bonus Breakfast…save this one for Christmas morning…MONKEY BREAD (gingerbread style)

There’s not much to say here, except I’LL TAKE SECONDS PLEASE. This truly tasty treat is not for the faint of heart (or palate). You’ve got to have a pretty strong sweet tooth to tolerate this one…but if you do…this monkey madness might make all your Christmas wishes come true…I mean ALL of them…for the rest of your life…Christmas will NEVER BE THE SAME. This recipe calls for butter, whole milk, more butter, brown sugar, and MORE BUTTER. I repeat, save this one for Christmas morning…and of course the-day-after-Christmas-morning (if there are any leftovers…doubtful). And the next morning, slurp down that smoothie, maybe even add a handful of kale…because THAT will cancel out ALL THE BUTTER. But hey, it’s Christmastime after all, and we all need a little naughty with our nice.

(Image by flickr member mojocoffee licensed under Creative Commons)

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