By: Sara De Leeuw


 

Hi Adventurers! Welcome! I’m very excited to be part of the new IEShineOn team! “Sara’s Kitchen Adventures” will be coming to you every month with new recipes and great places to try in the Inland Empire! This month, we’re going to Goodwin’s Organic Grocery Store in Riverside. I’ll be making Holiday Gingerbread Cookies, using 100 percent organic ingredients. To be honest, I think the only 100% organic dish I’ve ever made has been a salad. We have a tiny backyard garden with lettuce, tomatoes, peppers and green onions. It’s not much, but it makes me feel better knowing exactly where our salad came from. My little garden is nothing compared to the wide range of ingredients Goodwin’s carries. They have everything you could ever want, just like your neighborhood grocery store!

With so many wonderful, healthy ingredients to choose from at Goodwin’s, why did I decide to make Gingerbread Cookies? It’s the holiday season! People are hosting parties, having gift exchanges and office potlucks. Folks are gathering together to share great food and make lasting memories. I always look forward to baking during the holidays. Family traditions are essential too. There are certain things I only make once a year. Gingerbread cookies are one of those things. I mean, making Gingerbread cookies in the middle of June would just be weird, right? It’s richly satisfying to make homemade cookies or sweets for the people you love. How much better is it to know you can make the same great cookies with 100% organic ingredients?

 

 

With gingerbread, the most important ingredient is the molasses. It’s what gives your cookies that distinctive “gingerbread” color and flavor. There are different grades of molasses available: light, dark and blackstrap. Light molasses is the sweetest and blackstrap is the strongest (in intensity) of the three. I prefer the happy medium of dark molasses for gingerbread, but for the batch I made at Goodwin’s, I used their organic blackstrap molasses. The flavor was a bit stronger than our traditional cookies, but they were just as delicious!

Plus, I had a great time cutting the cookie dough with my new gingerbread boy/girl cookie cutters! They have the most adorable expressions. I bought them specifically to make cookies with my granddaughter. I thought it would be fun for her to choose which face she wanted on her cookies. She’s only five months old. I chose the design that had the biggest smile, just like hers! Maybe she’ll have a different option next year.

I hope you’ll give these cookies a try! Bring them to your holiday cookie party, or bake them with your family at home to start your own sweet traditions! You won’t regret it!

 



GINGERBREAD COOKIES

Ingredients:

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 cup butter, softened to room temp
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg

Directions:

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine butter and sugar and beat on medium speed for approx 4 minutes or until the mixture is light and fluffy.

Turn off the mixer and scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl. Add the molasses, vanilla and egg. Beat on medium until well combined.

Turn the mixer off again. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again, then add all the flour mix to the bowl.

Cover the mixer with a damp towel (so the flour doesn’t come out and dust your entire kitchen), and turn it on low speed. Beat until the mixture just comes together in a thick dough.

Turn the dough out onto several sheets of plastic wrap. Form the dough into a disc shape, roughly 8 inches across. Wrap completely in plastic and place in the refrigerator for at least 90 minutes. You can even refrigerate it overnight if you wish!

When your dough is well-chilled, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Generously flour your work surface. Take the dough out of the refrigerator and split it in half. Rewrap 1/2 of the dough and put it back in the refrigerator. Roll out the other half of the dough to approximately 1/8 inch thickness. You may need to flour your rolling pin, or lightly dust the top of the dough so it won’t stick. You also want to dust your cookie cutters, so they don’t stick to the dough either!

Carefully cut out your shapes and transfer them to your prepared baking sheets. Place cookies at least 1 inch apart, they will puff up and spread just a little as they bake.

Bake for 13 - 16 minutes or until they are golden brown on the edges. Remember that cooking times will vary depending on the size of the cookie cutters you use, so check your cookies after 10 minutes, and keep an eye on them.

Cool completely before decorating!

 


 

Sara’s Tips and Tricks: Intimidated by rolled and decorated cookies? Good news! You don’t have to roll these cookies. You don’t even have to frost them. This recipe makes great sliced cookies too. How do you do that? When you turn the dough out onto the plastic wrap, instead of forming the dough into a disc, roll the dough into a cylinder shape, approx. 12 inches long. Refrigerate the dough for the required time, then unwrap and cut into slices 1/4 to 1/2 inches thick. Bake for 8 - 10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the cookie.

 

 

Family owned and operated, Goodwin’s Organics is located within walking distance of UCR. They are the only entirely organic grocery store in California. Not only does Goodwin’s have a great grocery store, they have an Organic Juice Bar, an Organic Coffee and Tea Bar and an Organic Deli featuring their own homemade sandwiches, soups, salads and even pizza! They even have their own Food Truck! If you want to check out Goodwin’s for yourself, here is the link to their store: Goodwin’s Organics. When you go, be sure to tell them you read about them in "Sara’s Kitchen Adventures!" If you do, they’ll give you 10% off your ENTIRE ORDER! How cool is that?

 

I’d love to hear from you! Did you try this recipe? How did it turn out? Give me suggestions for where you’d like me to go! Is there a great local place I need to check out? Drop me a line and let me know! Find me at: KitchenAdventures@outlook.com. You can also comment below to let us know how you enjoyed these Holiday Gingerbread Cookies!