Christmas time: The time to reflect
Every year, the Christmas spirit takes me back to think about the past a little. I sometimes take the time to think about the year which is about to finish, but the oldest, the childhood memories are the strongest. Being home for the holidays or taking a stroll through a Christmas market in a charming European town, I tend to somehow blend my inner child with my childhood grandma figure.
The child inside wants to dwell on the Christmas scent forever, and the grandma inside wants to bake cookies. Gingerbread cookies, honey cookies, or any type of cookies that include lots and lots of spices which will bring out the Christmas scent my inner child wants to bathe in. And so the circle goes: I bake the cookies, I bathe in the scent of the cookies, and I eat the cookies. Not alone of course, the whole family adores them. Very much so. In the last two weeks of December, I stop counting the batches I bake.
Gingerbread and low-carb
Deciding on what kind of cookies to bake, I usually go for a version of traditional European gingerbread cookies that contain lots of honey. Because I want to make them low-carb, I give up honey and take the best replacement I’ve found so far: Sukring gold syrup. To me, it tastes like a mix of honey, caramel and maple syrup, and does a great job of keeping the dough dense and willing to be rolled out without falling apart.
The spices I put in are a blend of gingerbread spices that you can combine on your own or get an already blended mix. Lately, I’ve been doing the latter. I’ve stopped complicating with making my own spice blends because it takes half the time of making a recipe! And time is just too precious. If I could wish for anything in the world as a Christmas present, I would wish for having more time.
Making these cookies …
… is unbelievably quick, simple, and fun! But before some of you come forward with questions about replacing or leaving out individual ingredients, I’ll take the first word and explain a couple of things. I’ve already told you about the spice blend that I wouldn’t want to replace with, let’s say, cinnamon alone because I wouldn’t want to lose the beauty of the whole Christmas spirit that the rich blend of spices brings. Next, I wouldn’t try to replace the gold IMO syrup with anything else (unless you are willing to use honey or molasses) because it plays an important role in binding the dough and adding the right flavor. You could, in theory, use plain IMO syrup, but you’d lose the flavor. In the end, yes, xanthan gum is also an important ingredient, because it makes the dough willing to roll out without falling apart.
I’m not telling you to make perfect gingerbread cookies. If I lacked some of the above ingredients, I’d improvise and risk making crumbly cookies. After all, the taste is what matters (if you don’t own a Michelin star restaurant). When the dough tastes good when raw, it should taste good when baked. After all, it is Christmas time when everything should be about being together with the loved ones above anything else. If cookies don’t hold together, good family connections will. Being and doing perfect does not have much to do with that. Being good enough can sometimes be the best and more than enough.