Kid-Friendly Indulgences: Healthier Gingerbread Cookies

This is my entry to Eat Christmas Cookies, an event sponsored by FoodBlogga! Check out all of the drool-worthy recipes there.
Healthier Gingerbread Cookies (Paleo, Low Carb)
Get the little ones into the kitchen with these easy-peasy healthy gingerbread cookies, dolled up with colorful sugar-free cream cheese frosting! These classic Christmas cookies are adapted from my versatile recipe for Honey Nut Cookies. The only changes are the addition of blackstrap molasses and lots of yummy spices to impart that distinct gingerbread flavor to these gluten-free, egg-free, low carb cookies! The texture is chewy and crispy all at once. They’re a bit different from traditional gingerbread, but just as delicious and fun to decorate.

A word about the food coloring: Don’t try to make it “all natural” by using the organic food coloring you see at the health food store. With good intentions, I bought some natural blue food coloring on sale for $3.99 (yow!). It’s made from “pure blueberry extract,” so I thought it sounded like it would be a healthier substitute for the artificial stuff. It dyed my cream cheese frosting a lovely brownish purple hue. If you want to go the natural route, don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Gingerbread Santa and Rudolph, poking his nose in
Healthy Gingerbread Cookies, pt.3

Simple Nourishing Gingerbread Cookies

Makes about 25 cookies, depending on the size of your cookie cutters

Ingredients:
1 and 1/4 cups almond flour
2 tablespoons organic unsalted butter or nonhydrogenated shortening (for dairy-free)
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon organic blackstrap molasses
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cloves (optional)
1/4 teaspoon good-tasting pure stevia extract

Preparation:
Preheat oven to 275 (yes, 275) degrees Fahrenheit.

Melt butter and mix with honey, molasses, and vanilla until smooth. Add dry ingredients. Dough will be soft and sticky. Cut out two long pieces of parchment paper. Roll dough to 1/8th of an inch thickness (or thinner) sandwiched in between pieces of parchment paper. Peel off top sheet of parchment and flip dough from bottom sheet to the top sheet so that dough has been peeled off of both sheets of parchment, ensuring that it will be easier to transfer to cookie sheet. Cut out shapes with cookie cutters and peel away bits of dough around cut outs, or flip cut outs onto cookie sheet lined with parchment. Bake for 18 minutes. Let cool completely for about 10 minutes or so before moving to a work surface. Decorate with piped cream cheese frosting and bits of chopped raisins and dried apricots.

Simple Cream Cheese Frosting

4 oz cream cheese or neufatchel cheese
1/4 cup of erythritol, powdered
Good-tasting pure stevia extract, to taste
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Drops of food coloring

Leave cream cheese at room temperature for 30 minutes. Powder erythritol in coffee grinder or Magic Bullet. Beat together cream cheese, vanilla, and erythritol for 1 to 2 minutes, or until very smooth and erythritol has mostly dissolved. Mix in stevia starting with 1/16 of a teaspoon, taste, and adjust sweetness level if necessary. Spoon frosting into separate bowls, and beat in drops of food coloring, wiping off the beaters after each color has been mixed. Transfer colored frosting into zip top bags and snip off the corners. Use immediately.

Poor gingerbread lady. :( She was too yummy for her own good!
Healthy Gingerbread Cookies, pt. 2

~1.6g net carbs per 1/25th of the cookie recipe

~13g carbs for the whole batch of frosting

  • Susan from Food Blogga

    These are free of all the bad stuff and full of all the good stuff. :) I love them! Thanks, Lauren.

  • Mee-Lise

    Yay! I’ve come to the conclusion that I love obscene amounts of ginger in all my Christmas cookies, so this should be good! Oh, I read on another site that fresh ginger can be grated with a microplane/rasp tool, and the extra can be frozen in plastic wrap and thawed as needed. (Maybe not popular with the kids, but useful to know.) As for my truffle recipe, two words: EPIC FAIL. But I’ll keep working on it…

  • Kimberly

    These will be fun to make with my daughter! She loves to bake:) I have been looking forward to checking your blog every day! GREAT RECIPES!

  • bethinNC

    Awesome. I know what I’m doing with my kidlets in the next few days :)

    Thanks again, Lauren. You really make my life better with your incredible recipes.

  • Anonymous

    I just made the Cocoa Brownies and they did not turn out like your picture… I used Whole Wheat flour instead of the almond flour…will this make a difference in outcome? It is like they did not rise, after the brownies where cooked it looked just like they did when I put them in the pan.

  • Brian

    Ginger and molasses … it doesn’t get much better than that. ;-)

    Another interesting “feature” of the natural food coloring is the flavor. Since they are typically made from concentrated fruit juices, they will impart a fruity flavor, which may or may not be desirable.

  • Kid Feed Mommy

    Ha! That is funny about the “blue” natural food coloring. I had the same experience with that particular color. Certain natural colors work better than others. Yellow and orange work very well and are true to what you’d expect. I haven’t found a good red yet. The Seelect Tea Red/Strawberry is a pretty color that looks like a purplish pink. The forest green is a new one and looks green (though not as bright green as artificial), but it definitely works as a green color.

  • Lauren

    Susan – Thanks for stopping by!

    Mee-Lise – I agree about ginger! Such a yummy spice. Thanks for the tip about fresh ginger. :) Good luck tweaking your truffle recipe!

    Kimberly – I am so glad you are reading my blog! Hope you and your daughter have fun with these cookies. :)

    Beth – Have fun making cookies with the kiddos! Your positive feedback makes all this cookin’ worthwhile. :D

    Anon – Hello! I have never worked with wheat flour, so I am not sure what happened! These recipes are designed for the special gluten-free flours listed. Sorry it didn’t work out for you!

    By the way, those brownies are usually better the next day, so if you kept them around you might want to taste them again. They are supposed to be dense and fudgy. ;)

    Brian – That is good to know about the flavor of natural colors! It just doesn’t seem worth the trouble. :)

    Kid Feed – Thank you for sharing that information about natural colors! Good to know which ones actually work. :D

  • Michelle

    nice healthy cookies! i’m not sure about erythritol’s pros and cons, will have to look into it. thanks!

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  • Anonymous

    Would I be able to use this recipe to make a gingerbread house? I wasn't sure if the cookie would be too soft?

    Thanks.

    Jenny

    P.S. This is my favourite site ever!!

  • clark

    This would be a nice to serve during the 1st birthday of my friend's son.

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  • Maria Diabetes-Nurse

    Would this work for a Gingerbread House?

    THXS!

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