Meagan Duhamel
Montreal, Canada

Welcome to my healthy living blog! You may know me as a 2-Time World Champion Figure Skater, Olympic Silver Medalist, and 6-time Canadian National Champion in pairs skating with my skating partner Eric Radford. But away from the ice, I am an animal loving vegan, a yogi, a holistic nutritionist and a wife. My passion for Figure Skating has been part of my life since I was 3 years old, but more recently I discovered a new passion: Healthy Living!

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Recipes

Christmas Cookie Recipes!

By on December 22, 2017

It’s no secret that I have a huge sweet tooth and the holidays are when I truly embrace it!

I love holiday baking and experimenting with new recipes (Coconut Nog Thumb Prints) and perfecting old classics (Gingerbread Individuals). Listed below are 5 recipes of Christmas cookies that I made for the holidays this year!

Gluten-Free, Vegan Gingerbread Individuals

I didn’t want to make anyone feel left out, so I gave my gingerbread people a comfortable and neutral status. These cookies are classics. I remember rolling out gingerbread dough when I was 5 years old. The molasses and spices are definitely a favourite of mine.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup of canola oil
  • ¾ cup of coconut sugar
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • ¼ cup of milk alternative (I used almond milk)
  • 2 cups of flour (Whole Wheat Pastry Flour or All Purpose Flour will work well. I combined Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour and Buckwheat Flour)
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon cloves
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 and ½ teaspoons of ginger

Directions

In a big bowl, whisk together the oil and the sugar separately. Add in the molasses and milk and whisk a little bit more. Slowly add in all the dry ingredients and mix it all together until the dough becomes stiff. Flatten the dough into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Leave the disc in the fridge for a few hours, or even overnight. Take the disc out to cool down about 15 minutes before you want to start making the cookies. Preheat your oven at 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Lightly flour a clean surface so you can roll out your dough. My dough was really thick and sticky, likely because I used spelt flour as opposed to All-Purpose flour, so I needed to flour my surface and ball of dough quite a bit to get it to roll out smoothly. Roll out your dough about ¼ inch thick and cut your gingerbread people with cookie cutters and place the people onto your baking sheets that are covered in parchment paper. Bake for 8-9 minutes. Remove from oven and let them cool on the baking sheet for about 3-4 minutes before removing them to your cooling rack.

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Coconut Nog Thumb Prints

This recipe was a new one for me. I found it on both Pinterest and on www.mydarlingvegan.com.

I have adapted it slightly to make it my own, but it’s still pretty much the same recipe. Next time, I will add more Coconut Nog Creamcheese to my centre. I think I was cheap on that this time! Still, nonetheless, the cookies crumble in your mouth. I think these will become a new holiday favourite!

Cookie Base

  • 1 cup of Earth balance soy-free butter
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons of coconut sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of applesauce
  • 2 cups of Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
  • ½ teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon of ginger
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg

Cream cheese Filling

  • ¾ cup of vegan cream cheese (I used Tofutti)
  • ¼ cup of icing sugar
  • ¼ cup of coconut nog (You can probably also use Soy Nog or Almond Nog)
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon of nutmeg plus more to sprinkle on top

Beat the cream cheese mixture in a small bowl, then put it in the fridge to chill for about 30-45 minutes. I did 30 minutes but I think I’d leave it an hour next time, as it wasn’t quite as thick as I wanted it.

Preheat the oven at 350 degrees and line a few baking sheets with parchment paper.

Mix together the ingredients for the cookie base, and using a tablespoon, scoop the cookie dough and roll it into balls. Make a small indent in the centre with your thumb and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and make your indent once again and bake for another 8 minutes, until the edges are golden and the cookie is firm to touch. Transfer your cookies to a cooling rack and let them sit there to cool down for 15 minutes. After they have slightly cooled, fill the centre with your cream cheese mixture and bake the cookies again for 10 minutes, until the mixture in the centre has firmed. Remove your cookies onto the cooling rack and sprinkle some nutmeg on the top. Let them cool and store them in the freezer for 4-6 weeks, or eat them all immediately. Whatever suits your fancy!

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Shortbread Chunks

Shortbread is one of my favourite desserts and it is so easy to whip up, I’m shocked I don’t do it more often throughout the year. I added some orange flavouring to these shortbreads and the smell lit up my kitchen. These is not my healthiest of recipes, as I did use All-Purpose flour and Sugar cane, but it’s just a special treat and once in a while I think it’s alright to treat yourself. This recipe is from the book “Vegan Cookies Invade your Cookie Jar”.

  • 1 cup of Earth Balance Soy-free Butter
  • 2/3 cup of organic sugar cane
  • 2 ½ teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 2 cups of All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/3 cup of cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract

Preheat the oven at 350 degrees and line a tart pan with parchment paper. I used a square baking dish, but you can use whatever shape you’d like.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula to be sure not to miss anything. The mixture should get creamy. Add in the vanilla and orange extract and slowly add in cornstarch and flour, little by little, so the mixture doesn’t start to fly all over your kitchen from the electric beater! Beat until everything is combined. Pour the dough into your pan and press it down with either your fingers or the rubber spatula, or both. The mixture will be crumby, but that’s okay. Make sure to press the dough on the edges of the pan as well. Use a fork to put small holes in the dough, sinking the fork about half way through. Bake your shortbread for 32-35 minutes, until the shortbread is puffed slightly and golden browned along the edges. Remove from a pan and set it onto a cutting board and let it cool for about 15 minutes. Using a thin and sharp knife, slice the shortbread into chunks or wedges, whichever you prefer. Let it cool a bit more before transferring it into containers and eventually your mouth or the fridge!

A Twist on Shortbread

I did another shortbread recipe with a bit of a twist, adding some holiday flavours and colouring, with orange zest and cranberries.

  • ½ dried cranberries
  • ¾ cups of coconut sugar
  • 2 ½ cups of flour (I used half All-Purpose and half Whole Wheat Pastry Flour)
  • 1 cup of Earth Balance Soy-free Butter
  • 1 teaspoon of almond extract
  • Zest of 2 small oranges
  • 2 tablespoons of orange juice, squeezed from the oranges you just zested

Combine everything together in a large mixing bowl and knead the dough together with your hands until it forms a ball. Shape the dough into a log of about 2 inches and wrap it in plastic wrap to chill in the fridge for about 2 hours, or overnight.

Preheat your oven at 325 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Fill a bowl with coconut sugar and set aside.

Take your log and roll it a little bit, to make sure it’s holding together well. Cut the log into chunks for cookies, about ¼ inch thick. Sprinkle the cookie with the coconut sugar you have sitting aside and place onto the baking sheet. Bake your cookies for 12-15 minutes, or until you see them setting. Mine took 15 minutes. Let the cookies cool completely before you remove them onto the cooling rack. Store in a container in the freezer for up to 2 months.

Nutcracker Balls

These cookies are always a hit! And no wonder. They are from Angela Liddon’s www.ohsheglows.com and her recipes never fail. These cookies may not have the esthetic look of other Holiday treats but they are delicious with their nutty crunch and toffee like coating.

  • 1 cup of chopped mixed raw nuts (I used walnuts, pecans and almonds)
  • ¼ cup of melted Earth balance Soy-free butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of almond milk
  • ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/3 cup of finely chopped dates (This part is a bit sticky!)
  • ½ cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
  • ¼ cup of ground flax

Preheat your oven at 325 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Melt your earth balance then mix it with the brown sugar, vanilla and milk until it is smooth. Add in the cinnamon and baking powder and mix. Stir in your chopped dates and nut mix next, then slowly add in the flour and ground flax. The mixture will be very sticky and if you find it is to sticky, add a tablespoon or 2 of additional flour. Slightly wet your fingers and shape the mixture into many golf ball like sizes. Make sure you roll the dough so it is compact together tightly. Place the balls on your baking sheet and bake your 18-20 minutes. You can see the bottom of the balls turning slightly brown. Take them out and place the balls carefully onto a cooling rack. The middle of the balls will firm more as they cool down. You can freeze these balls until it’s time to serve them!

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