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Bake gingerbread cookies to soothe stress during exam season

By Christie Melhorn, November 30 2017 —

Holiday food culture is loaded with sensory delight, nostalgia and pure indulgence. But the subsequent sugar crash can leave you feeling sick and lethargic. However, you can still satisfy your sweet tooth and stress cravings by swapping refined sugar for natural sweeteners in homemade goodies. Take a break from the books or celebrate the end of exams with a batch of classic gingerbread cookies. Gingerbread’s subtle spice and richness makes it a holiday classic that can soothe your inner scrooge.


  • Two large mixing bowls
  • Egg beater or sturdy fork
  • Mixing spoon
  • Rolling pin
  • Spatula
  • Cookie sheets
  • Wax paper
  • Cookie cutters
  • Ziploc bags
  • Scissors

Cookie Dough Ingredients:

  • 2 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour  (substitute equal portions whole wheat or gluten-free options)
  • One egg
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup soft butter (or equal portions coconut oil)
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground ginger (or 1 tbsp grated  fresh ginger root)
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Splash of milk (if needed)

Icing Ingredients:

  • Two cups icing sugar
  • One egg white
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)


  • With a beater or a fork, combine flour and maple syrup in a large mixing bowl. Once the maple syrup is evenly dispersed as possible, add softened butter followed by one egg. Blend until smooth.
  • In a small bowl, mix the cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Slowly sprinkle and stir into the batter
  • Pour half the molasses into the batter and thoroughly stir. Once the mixture has darkened, add the rest and prepare for your arms to feel sore. The batter should be thick but not dry — add a splash of milk if necessary.
  • Knead the dough for about  1–2 minutes then compact into a ball in the large mixing bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel and set in the fridge for one hour.
  • While the dough sits, prepare the icing by mixing the icing sugar, egg white and vanilla together until thick. Add a touch of milk if it’s too dry — add more icing sugar if  it gets too runny. Place in the fridge and let sit.
  • After an hour, remove the dough and place it on a lightly floured surface.
  • Roll dough about 1/8-inch thick and cut with cookie cutters. This will make roughly 24 cookies. For thicker cookies, roll to 1/6–1/4 of an inch — just know they will bake pudgy!
  • Place shapes 1/2 an inch apart onto a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. To prevent damaging the cookies, use a spatula to lift them off the counter. Bunch the stenciled dough back into a ball and re-roll.
  • Bake for 8–10 minutes. Depending on the thickness, they might need more time. Remove when lightly browned.
  • When done, let cool for at least 20 minutes before decorating — this prevents liquefying the icing.
  • While cooling, spoon icing into a Ziploc and use scissors to snip off one small corner. The incision’s size determines how precisely you can decorate.
  • Finish by garnishing with any assortment of sprinkles, candies or toppings you desire. Enjoy!


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