A few weeks ago, my son asked me if we could have "little man cookies" and it was so cute that I had to find a way to make it happen. I knew that it was not going to be easy to find a cookie recipe that met our health requirements for gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, and processed sugar-free...and still taste good! In fact, I thought it would be impossible. I am happy to report that after a several failed attempts, we have cookie success!
While I can't take credit for this recipe, I will take credit for the hours of searching and failed attempts I made before I came across this recipe to share with you.
Not only are these cookies delicious, they are also quick and simple to make and are perfect for holiday baking with kids or grandkids. I love that this recipe uses wholesome ingredients that offer health benefits along with the deliciousness.
I am frequently asked about the brands I use in my baking and cooking, so I am linking up all the products that I used in my recipe to save you some time. I have worked with many different brands over the years and the ones I share below have become staples in our home.
I am also including a bit about each ingredient and what nutritional benefits it brings to the recipe. Now, before you ask - no, eating more of these cookies will not improve your health, but if you are going to have a treat, you might as well have one that balances out essential nutrients with the sugar content. :)
While I haven't used icing or refined sugar products in years, I decided that these little gingerbread delights could use a bit of pizazz and I did make up a simple icing recipe. You can read how I made my icing plus a few extra flavour tips below.
Finally, I link up the original recipe at the end of this blog so you can give it a whirl yourself!
I hope you enjoy learning a bit more about the health benefits of the ingredients below and I look forward to hearing about your own cookie success stories!
What I Used In This Recipe:
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- Blanched Almond Flour - Almonds are a great source of protein, fiber, vitamin E and magnesium. I like this one by Kirkland for it's awesome fine texture and mild flavour that makes it perfect for gluten-free baking.
- Organic Tapioca Flour - Tapioca flour is an important staple in gluten-free baking. It helps to bind gluten-free recipes and create a great texture and crunch in these cookies. I use Bob's Red Mill Tapioca Flour and you can get it here.
- Aluminum-Free Baking Powder - Baking powder is important to help baked goods rise. The most important consideration when choosing a baking powder is to ensure it is aluminum-free.
- Organic Ground Cinnamon - Cinnamon is one of the warm spices that make gingerbread so delicious. Not only is it one of the key spices in this cookie, it is also loaded with antioxidants, has anti-inflammatory properties, and can support a healthy cardiovascular system and blood-sugar balance. Make sure you are buying "true" Ceylon cinnamon if you want to enjoy the health benefits. Most cinnamon sold in stores is the cheaper and less beneficial cassia cinnamon. I like Simply Organic brand which offers both cassia and Ceylon versions. You can get it here.
- Organic Ground Ginger - Ginger is another warming spice with powerful health benefits. Much like cinnamon, it has anti-inflammatory properties and can help support healthy blood sugar levels. My choice for ground ginger is Simply Organics brand and you can get it here.
- Organic Ground Allspice - Allspice really brings the flavours together in this recipe. Although it sounds and smells like a combination of spices, it is actually a single spice that resembles a large peppercorn. Like the two other spices in this cookie recipe, allspice is full of antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties. Allspice has traditionally been used to relieve gas, bloating, and digestive issues. Get Simply Organic Ground Allspice here.
- Organic Blackstrap Molasses - Molasses is a sugarcane-derived sweeter that helps give gingerbread its rich flavour. Although it is a byproduct of sugar production, molasses has the lowest sugar content of any sugarcane product. While white (refined) sugar has no nutritional value, blackstrap molasses contains good amounts of vital nutrients, including calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, and selenium. I like Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Blackstrap Molasses that you can get here.
- Organic Maple Syrup - Maple syrup is used to give a caramel-like flavour and additional sweetness to this recipe. Maple syrup is full of antioxidants and essential minerals such as manganese, magnesium, potassium, calcium, and zinc. I am fortunate to live in an area rich in maple syrup and can purchase fresh maple syrup at the local farmer's market when it's in season. The rest of the year, I purchase Kirkland Signature Organic Maple Syrup, and you can get it here.
- Fine Sea Salt - Sea salt balances out the sweetness in the recipe. Unlike table salt, which is a highly refined product that has been stripped of other nutrients, sea salt usually undergoes little to no refining allowing it to retain trace amounts of essential minerals such as potassium, iron, calcium, and other minerals. I have been using Redmond Real Salt for over a decade because it contains over 60 different trace minerals, is completely unrefined, and does not have any added anti-caking agents that you might find in some other brands of salt. You can get this awesome product here.
Decorating Your Cookies:
Cookie cutters make everything more fun! I have used a few different styles of cookie cutters but find the Wilton Comfort Grip Cookie Cutters to be the best for both your hands and getting those perfect shapes. Here's a great holiday set that includes a gingerbread person, candy cane (those are popular in our home!) and Christmas Tree.
These cookies are delicious on their own, but adding some icing decorations does make them more fun and festive. We don't use refined sugar products in our home, but I made an exception for this festive holiday treat.
I used Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Icing Sugar (get it here) and a bit of almond milk (you could also use water) and mixed well until it go to the consistency I wanted. This particular brand of icing sugar uses tapioca starch instead of cornstarch, which is important to me.
Special tip: Add a drop of doTERRA Peppermint essential oil or doTERRA Wild Orange essential oil to your icing for a boost of flavour.
Both of these flavours work well with gingerbread and, unlike baking flavour extracts that contain preservatives and chemicals that I don't want in my body, doTERRA's therapeutic grade essential oils have added health benefits too. You can learn more about why I choose doTERRA essential oils here. Start with a single drop of oil in your icing and adjust to taste.
Ready to bake your own batch?
>> Get the full directions from 24 Carrot Kitchen here
(click the link above then scroll down to the bottom of the page that opens for an easy-to-read recipe card).