GRACE Collective member Jo Whitehead from Jo Kate Nutrition shares why creating Christmas memories is special for children and her favourite gingerbread recipe with us...
The Christmas season brings such joy and expectation in the eyes of children and as a mother of three, I love that I get to experience it all over again. I have many vivid memories as a child of the lead up to Christmas. There was the shopping, the gift wrapping, packing the car before heading away to my grandparents’ house, but the most memorable? It has to be the Christmas baking. I am from a long line of bakers. I have fond memories of making Christmas treats with my mum and siblings every year. We went overboard and made treats such as rocky road, gingerbread biscuits, Christmas cake and pudding, and then there were my Dad’s mince pies, which he used to make from scratch every year. Come Christmas day, the platters were topped aplenty with our homemade goodies. My mum would also make hampers for her friends, which taught us the true meaning of Christmas – giving to others.
Nowadays, with children of my own, I love planning out what our pre-Christmas traditions are going to be. This year we are starting to celebrate advent and will be lighting a candle each Sunday for the four weeks leading up to Christmas. I love this European tradition as it brings more meaning to Christmas and also makes the lead up more exciting, plus, the children love having candles at dinnertime! Another one of our traditions is Christmas baking. For the past couple of years, we have made gingerbread stars and have handed them out to our neighbours’ and the kids just love this! My two girls carry their little baskets filled to the brim with their cellophane wrapped cookies, decorated themselves (much to my perfectionist angst!) eager to knock on our neighbours’ doors and surprise them. A gesture I want them to carry through their life and pass onto their own children one day.
As a nutritionist, I love adding more wholesome ingredients into baking, especially when it ends up tasting as good or even better than the original! I have been experimenting with creating a gingerbread recipe that is a little more wholesome than the white flour and white sugar version, and I think I have nailed it! I hope you enjoy this recipe and many others, which can be found in my Christmas e-book available on my website.
- 3 cups white spelt flour
- 2 tbsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp bicarb soda
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 cup coconut oil (melted)
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar
- 1 egg
- Preheat oven to 180 C (350F)
- Combine dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and set aside.
- Heat a saucepan to medium heat and melt the coconut oil. Once melted, stir in the maple syrup and coconut sugar until combined and the sugar has dissolved.
- Whisk the egg in a separate bowl and add to the dry ingredients followed by the coconut oil mixture. Stir to combine then place on a pastry mat or floured surface and knead until a smooth dough forms.
- Use a rolling pin to roll dough out until 5mm thick. Cut into cookies or use a template for a gingerbread house.
- Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes and cool completely on a wire rack before icing.
Photographer and styling: Jess Paget and Carla Burrell | Props and children’s aprons: The Storekeeper & Co | Recipe and words: Jo Kate Nutrition Go to www.jokatenutrition.com to download Jo’s new Christmas e-book