Our Paleo Family

Gingerbread Cookies (Paleo, gluten free, dairy free)

I spent a lot of time with my Grandma when I was younger. Look at us. Cute, huh? Just a side note: when I wore that denim outfit and put on a pair of my dad’s long, black socks, I thought I turned into a horse. Just letting you know what you’re getting into if you visit here on a regular basis.

Untitled 3My second grade year, I was saddled with the meanest teacher on the face of the earth. Not only did this woman act like a witch, but she looked like one too. I know this is all very un-Christian of me to say. This teacher caused me such anxiety, that most days I ended up getting sick while walking into school. Yes, just thinking about this lady made me sick to my stomach. It was a miserable time. The upside was that as I took the walk back to my mom’s green Pinto, I knew that I was going to get to go to Grandma’s.

Grandma would sit me on the tall stool in the kitchen and I’d watch her cook. She would make me green jello and I would get to drink it warm. Doesn’t that sound strange? Back then that green jello “drink” was the perfect antidote to my queasy tummy and guilty feelings of missing school.

Usually, when people ask me where I got my love of cooking, I say it came from Grandma. She seemed to enjoy being in the kitchen, creating simple, yet hearty and nutritious meals for my Grandpa, the farmer, and my brother and I, or anyone else who happened to be there. I saw her take great joy and pride in her cooking. It didn’t seem to be a chore to her at all.

I was still fairly young when she started giving me cookbooks as gifts. She bought me a Taste of Home subscription that I pored over when I was single and living in my little apartment. I would dog-ear half the pages, even with no one for whom to cook those foods.

One of the cookbooks Grandma gave me included a recipe for chewy molasses cookies. I don’t know that I had ever eaten a molasses cookie before I made that recipe, but they instantly became my very favorite cookies in the whole wide world. I could eat eight of them at once. Probably more. I took them everywhere I was asked to take a dessert and EVERYONE, I mean EVERYONE loved them and asked for the recipe.

Well, I’ve tweaked that recipe over the years, and when it came time to make gingerbread cookies with my kids, I knew I had to start with that molasses cookie recipe. Sure enough, they came out great and again, they were favorites everywhere they went. I hope that doesn’t sound arrogant, but it’s the cookies that are good, not me. Was that enough humility to balance all the boasting?

Re-creating this to be acceptable for a paleo diet was a must do, but I figured they would not even come close to the originals. Well, surprise! They are just as good, maybe even better.

See how cute they are all dressed up in their holiday best? They do look a little like they’re standing in a police lineup in this picture though!

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Please make these cookies. Your family will love you. You will be so proud of yourself. People will cheer for you everywhere you go. You’ll be a hero. Go bake these cookies and be the Christmas cookie hero you were meant to be.

Paleo Gingerbread Cookies
Print Recipe
Slightly crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside, lots of gingerbread spice and none of the gluten or refined sugars of traditional gingerbread.
Servings Prep Time
18-24 cookies 20 minutes
Cook Time
10-12 minutes
Servings Prep Time
18-24 cookies 20 minutes
Cook Time
10-12 minutes
Paleo Gingerbread Cookies
Print Recipe
Slightly crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside, lots of gingerbread spice and none of the gluten or refined sugars of traditional gingerbread.
Servings Prep Time
18-24 cookies 20 minutes
Cook Time
10-12 minutes
Servings Prep Time
18-24 cookies 20 minutes
Cook Time
10-12 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: cookies
Instructions
  1. In a small heavy saucepan over medium-low heat, add honey, molasses, coconut sugar and dates. Simmer for 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until coconut sugar has dissolved. Set aside to cool slightly.
  2. In a mixing bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer, combine coconut oil and palm shortening.
  3. Add egg and vanilla extract to mixing bowl. Mix well.
  4. Use blender, immersion blender or small food processor* to blend sugar mixture. When finished, you should only see small flecks of the dates.
  5. With stand mixer running on lowest speed (or while stirring with your own arm power), slowly drizzle the sugar mixture into the rest of the ingredients. Once at least half has been added, you can add the rest more quickly. Scrape the sides of the mixer and blend on medium speed until well incorporated.
  6. Add all dry ingredients to mixer and start mixer on lowest speed. Once most of the dry ingredients have been incorporated, increase speed and mix until dough forms.
  7. Place the cookie dough in a container with a lid and place in the refrigerator for at least two hours.
  8. Sprinkle arrowroot on counter to keep dough from sticking. Roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness and cut with desired cookie cutters. I use one of these* bench scrapers to help lift the cookies off my counter and get them to the cookie sheets in one piece.
  9. Another option for forming your cookies is to use scoops* and make snowmen. This is my preference because there's less mess, but my kids love rolling and cutting out the cookies. To make the snowmen, I used a 2 Tablespoon scoop for the biggest part of the snowman, then a 1 Tablespoon scoop for the middle and (because that was my smallest scoop) a 1 teaspoon measuring spoon for the top. I was afraid the different size scoops would bake differently, but they came out perfect. These are BIG cookies though. If you want big cookies and less mess, I highly recommend this method.
  10. Snowmen bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Rolled and cut out shapes bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes. It's easy to over do them since they're brown to start with. Pay close attention.
  11. These are totally delicious as is, but if you want to decorate them, mix all the icing ingredients together and pipe onto your cookies once they're cooled. If you have cake decorating tools, then great, but if not, don't worry. You can spoon your icing into heavy duty zip top bags and make a tiny snip in the corner. Presto! You have a piping bag.
  12. I like to put these in the fridge for an hour or so until the icing firms up. Then I store them in a container with a tight-fitting lid. They would probably keep just fine out of the fridge, but I feel better having them refrigerated since there aren't any preservatives in these.
  13. Enjoy! And share!
Recipe Notes

*If you prefer not to use coconut oil, you can use all palm oil or if you tolerate dairy, substitute grass-fed butter for the coconut oil. The cookies turn out best when you use two different fats.

*I use my Cuisinart Mini Chopper all the time! It serves as a small blender, nut chopper, coffee grinder, you name it. Any job you would give to your big food processor, this one does in smaller quantities. Really handy to have in the kitchen.

*Bench scraper - helps lift sticky dough off your counter, use it to cut cleanly, scrape sticky messes off your counter tops, and lots more!

*Cookie scoops are really handy tools for baking. You can get all your cookies the same size so they will bake evenly. And it's much easier than using teaspoons.

*I've found coconut nectar at Whole Foods and at Thrive Market. It's much cheaper from Thrive. If you haven't looked into Thrive yet, read my article here and check them out. You can substitute maple syrup and it will work great and taste yummy, but you may need to add an extra tablespoon of arrowroot to achieve the right thickness. You could also thicken the icing with powdered sugar if you are fine with using refined sugars.

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