These Crunchy Gluten-Free Vegan Gingerbread Cookies make the perfect healthy holiday treat! Not only are they delicious, but also low in sugar, molasses free and high in protein.
One of my favourite parts about the holidays has always been all the good food and yummy treats. And even though I'm a full believer in letting loose and indulging once in a while, the holidays can be a time when we OVERindulge in MANY treats and delicacies that may not make us feel so festive and jolly.
That's why I love doing all my own holiday baking, putting a healthier twist on the classics we all know and love. I mean, you can't not have at least one gingerbread cookie over the holidays. So, why not make them a little healthier!
What Makes These Gingerbread Cookies Healthier
These Crunchy Gluten-Free Vegan Gingerbread Cookies are made with almond flour and arrowroot flour, rather than wheat flour, making them not only gluten-free but completely grain-free!
Almond flour is a great source of fatty acids, potassium, calcium and fibre! It's also a good source of plant protein.
Much like almond flour, arrowroot is a good source of potassium and calcium, as well as folate.
Between the almond and arrowroot flour, these gingerbread cookies have a much higher fibre content than cookies made with wheat flour. A higher fibre content means a more stable increase in blood sugar. Thus, less of a sugar crash that leads to more sugar cravings.
Refined Sugar Free
These gluten-free, vegan gingerbread cookies are also made without molasses. While blackstrap molasses is high in calcium, iron and other minerals, it is refined and made from either cane or beet sugar. There isn't anything wrong with using blackstrap molasses since it's only boiled down once. However, I would avoid using plain old molasses as it has been boiled down and refined to the point where it has lost much of its nutritional value.
Instead, these crunchy vegan gingerbread cookies use pure maple syrup, which hasn't been refined in any way. And much like molasses, maple syrup is high in many minerals. It also provides a nice rich flavour, just as molasses does.
Thankfully, traditional Gingerbread Cookies do contain warming spices (i.e. ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg). However, these days we always have to watch out for fake flavours and even the deceiving "natural" flavour on ingredient labels.
Cooking and baking with true spices is a great way to add a nutritional boost to your kitchen creations as well as to ensure you're avoiding unnecessary toxins.
Ginger has some great nutritional benefits! It's no wonder it's a common spice traditionally used during the winter months, as well as to treat many ailments of the gastrointestinal tract. Ginger is what is known as a carminative, which primarily alleviates gas. Although ginger especially provides many other benefits.
Ginger also contains powerful anti-inflammatory compounds and antioxidants. Not to mention, when ginger is combined with cinnamon and coriander, they provide a stimulating effect on the digestive system.
True Cinnamon (Ceylon Cinnamon) provides numerous health benefits. For one, it contains a high content of Polyphenols, which are a potent form of antioxidants (they are also found in red wine, green tea and dark chocolate). These specific antioxidants are proven to be protective against heart disease as well as various cancers, especially of the gastrointestinal tract.
Cinnamon also has some other great health benefits. It's known to balance blood sugar levels and reduce insulin resistance (which can lead to type 2 diabetes). It's also anti-bacterial and antifungal, helping to fight various infections. And, of course, provides a warming effect, hence why it's commonly consumed in the autumn months. Cinnamon is a great spice to enjoy throughout the autumn and winter to support the immune system.
Much like cinnamon, cloves are also a powerful antimicrobial. However, that's not all; cloves contain a potent compound called eugenol. This active component shows significant benefit for preventing harm from environmental toxins.
Similar to cloves, allspice is also high in the active compound eugenol. This means allspice and cloves have many overlapping health benefits. Although one difference is that allspice is a good source of potassium and very high in iron.
Nutmeg is another carminative. It has long been used for its healing effects on the intestinal tract. However, that's just the least of it! Nutmeg is another potent antimicrobial. It contains properties that protect against harmful viruses and bacteria. The best part is nutmeg can and has traditionally been used as a food preservative, disinfectant and antiseptic.
Coconut oil may have a bad rap, but there's quite a bit of proof that it has some amazing health benefits. For one, it contains lauric acid, which the body converts to another compound called monolaurin. Now, monolaurin is a powerful antiviral, antifungal and antiprotozoal (meaning it can fight infections). This single monoglyceride has the power to defeat a large number of disease-causing organisms.
Not only that but unlike popular belief, coconut oil is actually beneficial to cholesterol levels since it only increases HDL (the good cholesterol).
How to Make Crunchy Gluten-Free Vegan Ginger Bread Cookies
When it comes to holiday baking, I like simple, no-fuss recipes that don't take too much time. It's a busy enough time of year. We don't need any more added stress of trying to master complicated recipes.
That's why I love these healthy gingerbread cookies so much. The dough is quick and simple to whip together, and they only take 10 minutes to bake!
Making the Gingerbread Cookie Dough
As mentioned above, this Gingerbread dough is easy to whip together.
Mix the Dry Ingredients
First, melt the coconut oil by placing it on a stovetop in a small saucepan. Let it melt over low heat while mixing the dry ingredients together - add the almond flour, arrowroot flour, baking soda, spices and salt in a large bowl and mix well.
Stir In the Remaining Ingredients
Then begin to pour in the wet ingredients. Stir in the melted coconut oil, maple syrup and vanilla extract.
Roll the Dough
Keep folding the dough until it forms into one large ball. Next, place the dough between two pieces of parchment paper (preferably unbleached). Press the dough ball with your hands and then roll it out with a rolling pin (or a large jar), so it's about a quarter to a half-inch thick.
Cut Out Your Gingerbread Shapes
Cut out the shapes of your choice with cookie cutters, or you can always use a cup or a jar to make circles. Once you cut out your shapes, either with your hands or using a spatula, carefully transfer your cutouts to the baking sheet
Keep balling up the extra dough and rolling it out to cut out more shapes. Repeat until you've used up all the dough.
Bake For 8 - 10 Minutes
Once your baking sheet is full, place it in the oven and bake for 8 to 10 minutes.
You can enjoy these Crunchy Gluten-Free Vegan Gingerbread Cookies as is, or you can decorate them with this Easy Homemade Icing that's vegan and naturally coloured! If icing, let your gingerbread cookies cool first.
THIS RECIPE IS...
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Crunchy Gluten-Free Vegan Gingerbread Cookies
- 1.5 cups Almond Flour
- 1 cup Arrowroot Flour
- ¼ cup Coconut Oil
- ⅓ cup Pure Maple Syrup
- 1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
- 1 tsp Ground Ginger
- 2 tsp Cinnamon
- ½ tsp Nutmeg
- ½ tsp Allspice
- ¼ tsp Ground Cloves
- ½ tsp Baking Soda
- Pinch of Himalayan / Celtic Salt
- Preheat your oven to 350º
- Rip out three pieces of parchment paper (preferably unbleached). Line a baking sheet with one, and set the other two aside.
- While you mix the almond flour, arrowroot flour, baking soda, spices and salt in a large bowl, melt the coconut oil over low heat.
- Then mix in the vanilla, maple syrup and melted coconut oil.
- Keep folding the dough until it begins to form into a large clump. With your hands, pack it together and roll it into a ball.
- Place the ball of dough between two pieces of parchment paper and roll it out to about a quarter to a half-inch. Cut out shapes of your choice with cookie cutters, or use a cup or a jar to make circles. Pick up the shapes carefully with your hands or using a spatula, and transfer them to the baking sheet.
- Keep balling up the extra dough and rolling it out to cut out more shapes. Repeat until you've used up all the dough.
- Once your baking sheet is full, place it in the oven and bake for 8 to 10 minutes.
- You can enjoy these Crunchy Gluten-Free Vegan Gingerbread Cookies as is, or you can ice them with a healthier icing! *If icing, let your gingerbread cookies cool first.