GLUTEN-FREE VEGAN GINGERBREAD COOKIES
I'm such a sucker for the warming spices, it's one thing I look forward to once the frost starts nipping.
And I mean, the holidays just aren't the same without a good, old fashioned Gingerbread Cookie, am I right?!
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, goodies and delicacies that may not make us feel so festive and jolly.
That's why I made it my mission this year to nail a healthier version of Gingerbread Cookies. These delicious holiday treats are low-sugar, sweetened with maple syrup. Plus, they're not only gluten-free but grain-free and vegan!
What Makes These Gingerbread Cookies Healthier?
These holiday Gingerbreads are made with almond flour and arrowroot flour, rather than wheat flour, making them (as mentioned above) not only gluten-free but completely grain-free! Between the almond and arrowroot, these cookies provide much more fibre than those made with refined wheat flour. On top of that, almond flour is a great source of fatty acids, potassium, calcium and iron, while arrowroot is also a good source of potassium and calcium, as well as folate.
The flavour in these Gingerbread cookies comes from the wonderful blend of warming spices. The cinnamon helps to add a little sweetness so less sugar is needed. These little delights are naturally sweetened with just a quarter cup of maple syrup. Unlike refined sugars, maple syrup does provide some nutritional benefits. For one, it's an excellent source of manganese, a very important nutrient that plays a number of roles to maintain our health. It's an essential cofactor for a number of enzymes, including superoxide dismutase (an enzyme that breaks down free radicals in the mitochondria - the part of our cells that produces energy). Just two tablespoons of maple syrup provides almost half of the recommended daily value of Manganese. Maple syrup is also a good source of zinc, which is great for the skin (especially acne), prostate health and overall immunity.
Thankfully, traditional Gingerbread Cookies do contain the warming spices such as Cinnamon, but these days we always have to watch out for fake and even the deceiving "natural" flavour. True Cinnamon (Ceylon Cinnamon) provides numerous health benefits. One being, its high content of Polyphenols, which are a potent form of antioxidants (they are also found in red wine, green tea and chocolate). These specific antioxidants are proven to be protective against heart disease as well as various cancers, especially of the gastrointestinal tract. Cinnamon is also known to reduce insulin resistance (which can lead to type 2 diabetes), allowing this important hormone to do its job; transport glucose from the bloodstream into cells (regulating blood sugar). On top of that, Cinnamaldehyde, an active component in cinnamon, is known to be anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, helping to fight various infections. It also has a warming effect, hence why it's commonly used in the autumn months, when the cooler weather drifts in, and our immune systems get a run for their money.
Now, let's get to some holiday baking!
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