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Mixed spice gingerbread Halloween cookies – makes one tray

I have to admit that I’ve always struggled a bit with the whole candy madness at Halloween, so while the kids are still young, I’m trying to get them excited about healthier, yet equally tasty treats. So far it seems to be working, letting them decorate their own cookies with melted dark chocolate certainly helps (it’s a little messy and some of you might decide that buying a small tube of food colouring is a better solution, but I wanted to keep it as natural as possible on this occasion). This recipe uses 100% whole-wheat flour, which tastes great and is much richer in nutrients, but means there’s less gluten density and the dough feels a little brittle before being baked. To make it easier for small children I recommend using cookie cutter shapes without too many “legs, tails and arms” using either 50/50 whole-wheat and white or 100% white flour.

What you need:

160g whole-wheat flour (or 80g each whole-wheat and white flour)

1.5 tsp mixed spice – the one I use consists of cinnamon, coriander seeds, dill seeds, ginger, cloves and nutmeg

1.5 tsp ground ginger

½ tsp ground cardamom

¼ tsp ground cinnamon

Pinch of salt

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

100ml sunflower oil

5 tbsp maple syrup

Approx. 20g of dark, vegan chocolate – melted (or food colouring)

How you do it:

Start by mixing all the dry ingredients in a bowl (flour, spices, salt, bicarbonate of soda).

Add sunflower oil and maple syrup and mix (I use a spoon) until everything is well combined.

Using a rolling pin (or –if you use 100% whole-wheat flour and it’s a little brittle- use the palm of your hands) roll/ press the dough flat – aim for around 5mm thickness.

Preheat the oven at gas mark 5 (190C).

Get the kids to cut out whatever shapes you have to hand, you’ll need to re-roll/ press the remaining dough a few times until there’s nothing left.

Place your cookies on a lined baking tray and bake for 15mins (they might still be a little soft to touch when you take them out, they’ll harden up once cold).

Leave them to cool (it’s essential they are cold before you start decorating) and get creative.

Happy healthier Halloween everyone!



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