First things first! For any incidental musings scroll to the end. 🙂
~1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour, or a scant 2 cups of whole spelt flour
~1/4 cup sweetener ( I used half maple syrup and half sugar-if you use 100% liquid sweetener you should adjust the other liquids down just a bit)
~1/2 tsp baking soda
~1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
~1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
~1/4 tsp allspice
~freshly grated nutmeg to your preference (or 1/2 tsp nutmeg)
~a pinch or two of salt
~1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
~2 tbsp molasses
~1 tsp vanilla
~2 tbsp almond or other plant milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place flour, any dry sweetener, baking soda, spices and salt in a bowl and whisk or sift until well combined.
Mix applesauce, molasses, vanilla, plant milk, and any liquid sweetener in a bowl/mason jar/measuring pitcher with a fork until well combined.
Combine wet and dry ingredients and mix until cookie dough forms! It should be dry enough to roll out easily on a floured surface but not so dry as to be hard to work. Add more flour or more applesauce as needed to adjust the texture of the dough.
Roll out fairly thin (1/4-half inch, depending on how soft and thick you like your cookies). Place on silicone baking mat, parchment paper, or an ungreased baking sheet if you have a good cookie spatula that can scrape the cookies without ruining them.
Bake 8-12 minutes depending on your preferences and cookie size*.
*The baking time is hard to predict because it depends on the size of cookies you are making. The bigger cookies in my picture below (3 1/2 inch) baked for 12 minutes or so, and the smaller ones (2 inch) baked for 8-10 minutes I think. They are done when they are slightly softer to the touch than you want to eat. If you like a softer cookie, roll them out thicker and bake them a little less. If you like a thinner, more graham cracker-like gingerbread cookie, roll them thinner and/or bake a little longer. You can also use a little less baking soda because the chemical reaction between baking soda (base) and applesauce (acid) is what causes the cookies to puff up slightly during baking.
Some of my very favorite memories from childhood are of making gingerbread cookies with my mother. Our family would gather around the table and decorate cookies together, eating and enjoying each other. I feel determined that my children will have this experience as well, even if we can’t share butter, sugar, eggs, and white flour. We had such a good time making these together!