Gingerbread season has arrived! I’m a huge gingerbread fan so I always go a little gingerbread crazy this time of year. Gingerbread is what Christmas tastes like: joyful, spicy, deliciousness. Why we only crave that ginger-y, molasses-y sweetness this time of year is a mystery to me, but I’m all for it!
I love these balls because they require no preparation and no time to cook. So when the gingerbread craving hits, just throw the ingredients in your food processor and less than a minute later you have gingerbread cookie dough! I will admit that I had to make a second batch of this for the pictures because I ate about half of the first one. They are so tasty and I had holiday music blasting, can you blame a girl? This dough has the perfect balance of spices and molasses giving them just the right amount of gingerbread flavor. Pecans and walnuts provide the rich, fatty flavor while dates make them sweet and bind everything together. Did I mention these treats are healthy as well as delicious?
To make these gingerbread cookie dough balls super festive I made them into reindeer. I used pretzels as the antlers, apple pieces as the nose, and cacao nibs as the eyes. Originally I wanted to use red dark chocolate M&M’s as the nose, but I didn’t have any on hand while making these. Turns out apples worked better! I sliced the apple then cut the skin off the slices into circles. I carved the flesh of the apple into a point like a pin. This way it was easy to stick into the dough and wouldn’t fall off. I used cacao nibs because I happen to love them, but mini chocolate chips would work as well.
These are fun to make and would be a great tasting addition to a holiday party. I enjoyed making these gingerbread cookie dough reindeer, although not as much as I enjoyed eating them. So throw on some music and get your Christmas on!
Gingerbread Cookie Dough Balls
vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free (yields 30 one inch balls)
1 cup walnuts
1 cup pecans
12 dates, pitted
2 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2 1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp salt
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp blackstrap molasses (regular molasses is fine)
1 tsp vanilla extract
Add walnuts and pecans to base of a food processor and process for 5 seconds. Add cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt. Process 5 seconds. Add molasses and vanilla. Process 5 seconds. With food processor running, add dates slowly until a dough ball forms. Roll dough into 1″ balls and place in the refrigerator to chill for about 10 minutes. Serve chilled.
To assemble the reindeer:
cacao nibs or mini chocolate chips
Break the waffle pretzels in half. Slice then core apple. Carve apple slices into pin shaped reindeer noses. Stick two of the pretzel pieces into the top of each ball, push in the apple nose, and add the cocoa nibs or mini chocolate chip eyes last.