Healthy Gingerbread Cookies (Plant-based)

Isn’t Christmas the perfect time to get cozy in the kitchen and bake some delicious cookies? Ok, I am far from a great baker but I love the idea of preparing warming and comforting dishes. The past few days I actually have been using the oven more often to bake, and it is so much fun. Baking offers a sense of reassurance, knowing that after mixing a couple of well-measured ingredients you will get a crispy or gooey result (depending on your preference).

I love baking cookies especially during the Christmas season. Making the dough and cutting the cookies is in itself kind of a therapy – it brings calmness and relaxation.

These gingerbread cookies are perfect to make as gifts for your friends and family or to have in your house during the Christmas season. They store well so you can make a few badges at once and keep them in a cookie jar. They are healthier than the regular gingerbread cookies, in that they contain no butter or refined sugar.

Instead we’re using raw coconut nectar and molasses to make the cookies sweeter. Raw coconut nectar has a low Glycemic Index (GI) of 35, meaning the sugar in it is released slowly in the blood stream. It contains low amounts of glucose, sucrose and fructose (about 10%) but it is also high in polysaccharide inulin, a prebiotic fiber that aids in the process of digestion. This raw sweetener also contains living enzymes and beneficial trace minerals. Molasses on the other hand is traditionally part of the ingredients in gingerbread and is another sweetener that we should consider using instead of refined sweeteners such as white sugar or agave syrup. It contains high levels of vitamin B6, manganese, magnesium, potassium, iron and selenium, and so besides adding some sweetness to our live it can help us combat stress and stabilize blood sugar levels.

These gingerbread cookies are not particularly sweet, and decorating them with a lemony icing (see below), chocolate chips or a little powdered sugar will make them look more festive.

The dough is really easy to make, and once you mix in the dry and wet ingredients you will just need to knead it a bit with your hands and roll it out. Then the fun of cutting your cookies can begin! 🙂

 

I had a great time cutting the cookies, and laughed quite a bit with my daughter, as she seemed to enjoy herself too much helping me with the task. She also managed to sneak in a few bites of cookie dough in her mouth with a lightning speed! Thankfully the recipe is egg-free so we didn’t run into much risk here!

Decorating the cookies can be a lot of fun and requires some concentration. I frankly didn’t stress much about it as I was enjoying the process of letting my daughter help me a bit with it, as she seemed so eager to squeeze the icing from the bag. Oh yes, baking with children is a lot of fun, I assure you of that!

If you are ready to give these healthy gingerbread cookies a try here is the recipe:

Healthy Gingerbread Cookies

  • Servings: about 30 cookies
  • Difficulty: medium-easy
  • Print

Ingredients

    Dry ingredients:
  • 300g spelt flour (pastry type)
  • 2tsp cinnamon
  • 2tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • Wet ingredients:
  • 50ml coconut oil, melted
  • 50ml molasses
  • 70ml coconut nectar
  • 3 cm cube fresh ginger, minced (I used the garlic press)
  • 1 flax egg (1tbsp ground flax seeds + 3 tbsp water)
  • 2 tbsp plant milk (to help you get the right dough consistency, add at the end as needed)
  • Lemony icing (optional):
  • 45g powdered sugar
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice

Directions

  1. In a large bowl mix the dry ingredients together.
  2. In a smaller bowl combine the melted coconut oil, molasses, coconut nectar, flax egg and freshly minced ginger. Whisk until blended.
  3. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and mix well with your hands until a dough starts to form. If the dough seems too dry just keep mixing. Add some plant milk if required.
  4. Place the dough on a flat surface and roll it out until it becomes a disk about 2cm thick. You can cut the disk in half to make it easier to handle.
  5. Wrap the disc(s) in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least an hour to firm up.
  6. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  7. Roll out the disks until they become a little thinner (about 1cm).
  8. Use cookie cutters to cut out cookie shapes and place each cookie on the parchment-lined baking sheets. Make sure there is some space between the cookies on the baking sheet as they might expand slightly during baking.
  9. Combine the dough scraps into a ball, roll it out and repeat the process until you have used up all the dough.
  10. Place the baking sheet with the cookies in the upper and middle rack in the oven and bake for 8 to 10 minutes. The longer you bake the cookies the crisper they will get, so if you like your cookies softer, bake for 8-9 minutes.
  11. Take the baked cookies out of the oven and let them cool down. In the mean time prepare the lemony icing by mixing together the powdered sugar and lemon juice.
  12. Place the icing in the corner of a ziplog bag and gently squeeze out any air and seal the bag. Cut off a small piece in the lower corner of the bag and squeeze the icing through the corner to decorate the cookies. Alternatively you could sift some powdered sugar over the cookies once they have cooled down.


Note: Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen

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