Aloha and Merry Christmas! It’s so exciting to share some of my favorite recipes for celebrating the season without sacrificing good nutrition. And these scrumptious and festive grain-free gingerbread cookies are certainly a delightful and fun way to experience the joys of healthy gluten-free holiday baking.
This recipe was developed specifically so my kids (and yours too) could enjoy making gingerbread men (or “gingerbread boys & girls” as we call them) without the use of refined or processed ingredients. So not only are the cookies themselves wholesome, but I also have a fun tip for healthier decorating … Instead of decorating them with sugary icings and candies, we like to use dried fruits and nuts (see photos below).
We hope you and your family enjoy these special little cookie friends too – they truly are as fun to make as they are to eat!
Oops-Free Tip: Placing the cut-out dough in the freezer for a few minutes to allow the cookie cut-outs to harden a bit will help you to be able to get the gingerbread men off the parchment paper without losing their shape, or dismembering them – ouch!
You don’t need sugary icing to have fun with cookie decorating! Simply use your favorite nuts and dried fruits. My Dairy-Free Cookie Icing also makes a delicious, healthier way to decorate your favorite holiday cookies, cakes and other desserts.
Use scissors to cut the dried fruit into shapes like smiles and buttons. Here are some of our fun and wacky creations!
Isn’t he adorable!!! 🙂 But being cute won’t keep him from getting gobbled up – especially if he takes a little dip in a tall glass of cold almond milk first! YUM!
This delightful recipe is just one of more than 100 irresistible grain-free, dairy-free recipes in my new cookbook – Everyday Grain-Free Baking!
From breads, biscuits and muffins to savory snacks and decadent treats, you’ll find step-by-step instructions, beautiful color photographs and helpful tips & tidbits to make all of your GF baking adventures a delicious success!
Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas! Joyfully serving HIM, Kelly
- 2 1/2 cups blanched almond flour
- 1 tbsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 3 tbsp butter, melted (if DF, omit butter & increase coconut oil to 1/4 cup)
- 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
- 2 tbsp organic unsulfured molasses
- 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
- In a small bowl, combine the almond flour, spices, baking soda and salt.
- In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, blend together the butter, coconut oil, molasses and maple syrup until creamy.
- Then, slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat on low speed until thoroughly blended. Refrigerate dough at least one hour.
- Once dough is chilled, divide in half. Place one half of the dough on a large sheet of parchment paper on your kitchen counter (be sure to form it into a tightly compressed dough ball) and keep the other half of the dough in the bowl and return to the frig to keep chilled.
- Place another sheet of parchment paper over the dough ball and pat down a bit with your hand to flatten the dough and then roll it out to 1/4 inch thick.
- Remove the top sheet of parchment and use a gingerbread man cookie cutter to cut shapes in the dough, but do not try to remove the gingerbread boys from the parchment paper. Instead, slide the parchment onto a baking sheet and place in freezer for a few minutes to allow cookie cut-outs to harden a bit. This will help you to be able to get the gingerbread men off the parchment paper without losing their shape or dismembering them – ouch!
- While you're waiting for the dough to harden, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Then, take out the other half of the chilled dough from the frig and place it on a large sheet of parchment paper and repeat above steps to roll out and cut shapes in the dough. By the time you do this, the cut-out dough in the freezer will be ready for the final steps listed below.
- Once the cut-out dough has hardened up a bit, remove it from the freezer and gently separate your gingerbread boys from the dough and place the little guys onto a sheet of clean parchment paper for decorating.
- Then, decorate the gingerbread boys using your favorite dried fruits and nuts, as shown in photos above.
- Finally, slide the parchment paper with the decorated gingerbread boys onto a baking sheet and bake in preheated oven for 7-10 minutes (see note below about bake time). Allow to cool for 3-4 minutes on the baking sheet before removing and placing on a wire rack to finish cooling.
- Place the dough scraps from your cut-outs into a bowl and place back in frig. Then, remove your second sheet of cut-out dough from the freezer and follow above steps for decorating and baking.
- Finally, form all of the remaining dough scraps into a dough ball and repeat the steps for rolling and cutting the dough as listed above. YUM!
Baking Tip: Bake time depends on the size of your gingerbread boys! If larger, they’ll take longer, if smaller they will bake more quickly. So be sure to carefully watch your first batch in the oven. (For reference, I use a 3.5” cookie cutter.)
Storage Tip: These cookies are best served within an hour or so of baking since almond flour cookies tend to soften the longer they sit at room temp. However, a simple trick to re-crisp virtually any homemade almond flour cookie is to reheat them on a parchment-lined baking sheet in a 195 degree oven for about 6-10 minutes. Then allow them to cool and enjoy! They also freeze great and there's no need to defrost - you can enjoy them frozen right from the frig. YUM!
Thanks so much for the wonderful recipe! I don’t have molasses, can you tell me what I should substitute instead?
Hi, Jessica. You could try to sub with a dark grade B maple syrup, but molasses is much thicker and the flavor is vital to the taste of this recipe, so I cannot guarantee the success without it. Molasses is available at nearly all grocery stores and whole foods type markets, so rather than substitute, I would recommend waiting to make this until you purchase some. It really does bring a delicious deep flavor to gingerbread. Blessings, Kelly 🙂
Karen Gimnig says
LOVE this! Thank you! My kids can’t have coconut (because it is high in histamine). Would another oil or fat work? Can I just use Earth Balance?
Hi, Karen. You can certainly use butter in place of the coconut oil. I only work with pure ingredients, so I haven’t tried blends like that, so I’m not sure how Earth Balance will work, but you could certainly try it. Hope your daughter enjoys these – they really are scrumptious! 🙂 Merry CHRISTmas! Blessings, Kelly
Karen Gimnig says
Earth Balance does work, if anyone else need to know. We made a bunch for a gathering of little cookie bakers. They loved them. Not one comment about missing the chemical dyes and refined sugar of typical cookie-gatherings. Thank you!!! so much for the recipe. It was a huge it and I’ll be sharing the link with others.
AWESOME! Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a follow-up note. So happy these turned out so well for you! And appreciate you sharing the link. Lots of blessings for a Merry Christmas! 🙂 Kelly
I tweeked this a little and used 3 1/4 c sprouted spelt, it still seemed too dry to roll out so added another egg in the end. (my eggs we’re prob more like medium–the joys of farm fresh eggs 😉 Anywho, also didn’t bother with the parchment rolling method, i always seem to have trouble with that and just used my sprouted flour to roll out. We used some dark choc chips to decorate along with the nuts and fruit and they stayed intact through baking. I was afraid they’d melt away to be really big buttons. Hehe. A wonderful recipe even with all our modifications. Not an overly sweet, make you feel sick afterwards cookie! Yay! We had such fun making our “Man Cookies” as my daughters been saying! 😉 Thanks!
Man-cookies – so funny! Sounds like you’re a baking pro! So happy to hear your tweaks worked out and that you enjoyed having fun with your daughter making holiday memories! Thanks for taking the time to leave a kind note! Blessings, Kelly 🙂
I made the GF cookies with my boys today, which was a lot of fun. The cookies are delicious and my husband especially likes the strong ginger flavor. I only ended up with 18 cookies and they are not that thick (rolled out dough to ~1/4 inch). We’re waiting to decorate them after dinner but I’m not sure there will be any left 🙁
So glad you enjoyed them, Liz! We usually decorate before they go in the oven so the decorations “stick” without having to use icing. The yield will definitely vary based on the size cutters you use and thickness of dough. We like them thinner so they are more crunchy, but if you prefer thicker, just roll out thicker, but the bake time will need to be increased if thicker. Also bake times vary according to the cookie size, as noted in the recipe. Wishing you a very Merry CHRISTmas! Blessings, Kelly
Kari H. says
Followed recipe exactly and these came out scrumptious! Made 1 recipe and kept the dough in fridge for 3-4 days, taking out enough to make a fresh batch for visiting friends and family, or to just make my kitchen smell amazing and satisfy our sweet tooth 🙂 Thanks for the recipe!
Great to hear, Kari! Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a kind note! So glad you and your family & friends enjoyed these! Hope you have a blessed New Year! 🙂
Tyonna Marshall says
I was just wondering if there is anything that I can sub. the almond flour with. My children are allergic to eggs, gluten, diary, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, and soy. So which flour could I use that doesn’t include any of those. Please help, Thanks.
Hi, Tyonna. Unfortunately, when it comes to gluten-free flours, there isn’t an easy cup-for-cup substitution to offer as each GF flour behaves very differently from one another and therefore requires a different combination of liquids and eggs to bake properly. I primarily use blanched almond flour and coconut flour, so you may want to take a look at my coconut flour based recipes, if coconut flour is tolerable for your children. There are many sites out there that avoid major allergens, such as The Willing Cook, Real Food Allergy Free, Tessa The Domestic Diva and Whole New Mom that you may find more helpful for your dietary needs. I hope this helps and I wish you best in your efforts to feed your children healthy, allergy-friendly foods. Blessings, Kelly 🙂
Awesome recipe, thank you! I made small gingerbread men, turned them upside down and decorated them as reindeer for my son’s class Christmas party. I confess I made royal icing to decorate, but I’m so glad the rest of the biscuit is a lot more healthy than it could have been! So pleased to find a gluten free biscuit recipe which holds together well. No broken antlers 🙂
That is such a great idea, Jules. Thank you for taking the time to share it and also to be an encourager! So glad you were able to make a healthier treat for your son’s class. And no worries about the royal icing – I believe in the 80-20 rule. 🙂 Wishing you a wonderfully blessed Christmas and New Year, Kelly 🙂
I have to add that these were also really yummy! I had only tasted the dough when I posted (as I needed to make sure there were enough biscuits for the whole class plus a few to spare). Fortunately for me a few came home and I was so glad!! Looking forward to making (and eating) these again. Hope you have a beautiful Christmas and New Year too.
Thanks again for your sweet words, Jules! So happy everyone enjoyed these! Blessings to you for a Merry Christmas and New Year as well! 🙂
I made this dough and used a large gingerbread man pan…it worked out great! Love this!!!
So glad it worked in a large format. Which dough? The whole grain or GF? Just curious. Thanks for sharing! Blessings, Kelly 🙂
I used the almond flour dough….rolled it out, chilled it, then spread it over the pan. I cut off the excess and we made little gingerbread teddies with the leftover dough. It took a little bit longer to bake, around 12 minutes. This is the best gingerbread recipe, it’s light, crunchy but not dry and perfectly spiced!
That’s terrific! Thank you so much for string details! YUM! Merry Christmas! 🙂 Kelly
I made this cookie recipe about a week ago to try them out and we loved them….however, we used the wheat recipe you had beneath this GF one. Now it’s gone and I was going to make them today…could you let me know what it is again?
Hi, Katy! Apologies about that. I’m in the process of updating the site so that all of the recipes are completely GF, since that is the dietary lifestyle I’m following and will continue to post about here. But, I will have an archive of my old grain-based recipes. In the meantime, here is the original spelt flour recipe for you! 🙂 Have a blessed Christmas! 🙂 Kelly
Whole Grain Gingerbread Boys & Girls
2 cups organic whole spelt flour
1 1/2 cups organic kamut flour (see note below about substitutions)
1 1/2 tablespoons ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup coconut oil, softened
3/4 cup Rapadura (or sucanat)
1 large egg
1/4 cup unsulfured organic molasses
Preparing the dough
In a medium bowl, mix together the flours, spices, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, using a hand mixer, cream the butter, coconut oil and rapadura (or sucanat) together until creamy. Mix in the egg and molasses; blend until smooth and creamy.
Finally, slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat on low speed until thoroughly well blended. Refrigerate dough at least one hour.
Rolling out the dough
Once dough is chilled, divide in half. Place one half of the dough on a large sheet of parchment paper on your kitchen counter (be sure to form it into a tightly compressed dough ball) and keep the other half of the dough in the bowl and return to the frig to keep chilled. Place another sheet of parchment paper over the dough ball and pat down a bit with your hand to flatten the dough and then roll it out to 1/4 inch thick.
Cutting shapes in the dough
Remove the top sheet of parchment and use a gingerbread man cookie cutter to cut shapes in the dough, but do not try to remove the gingerbread boys from the parchment paper. Instead, slide the parchment onto a baking sheet and place in freezer for a few minutes to allow cookie cut-outs to harden a bit. This will help you to be able to get the gingerbread men off the parchment paper without losing their shape or dismembering them – ouch!
While you’re waiting for the dough to harden, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Then, take out the other half of the chilled dough from the frig and place it on a large sheet of parchment paper and repeat above steps to roll out and cut shapes in the dough. By the time you do this, the cut-out dough in the freezer will be ready for the final steps listed below.
Baking cookie cut-outs
Once the cut-out dough has hardened up a bit, remove it from the freezer and gently separate your gingerbread boys from the dough and place the little guys onto a sheet of clean parchment paper for decorating.
Then, decorate the gingerbread boys using your favorite dried fruits and nuts, as shown in photos above.
Finally, slide the parchment paper with the decorated gingerbread boys onto a baking sheet and bake in preheated oven for 8-10 minutes. Allow to cool for 3-4 minutes on the baking sheet before removing and placing on a wire rack to finish cooling.
Use those dough scraps
Place the dough scraps from your cut-outs into a bowl and place back in frig. Then, remove your second sheet of cut-out dough from the freezer and follow above steps for decorating and baking.
Finally, form all of the remaining dough scraps into a dough ball and repeat the steps for rolling and cutting the dough as listed above. YUM!
Rolling Tip: If you’re rolling out the dough alone. Here’s a little trick to keep the parchment from sliding around your countertop. Hang one corner of the parchment paper over the edge of your counter and press your body against it to pin the parchment in place and then roll the dough away from your body.
A NOTE ABOUT SUBSTITUTIONS: I love combining whole spelt and kamut – they work so well together to create wholesome, yet lighter tasting wholegrain baked goods, which is why I frequently use them in tandem in my recipes. If you opt to use all whole spelt flour, I recommend using 1/4 cup less flour. The dough will be crumblier with all spelt, but the taste will still be good, just not as good as it is with the combination of spelt and kamut.
Whole Wheat Flour as a SUB: I have not used whole wheat flour as a substitution, so I cannot verify if it will work well since I haven’t tried it myself, although I imagine it would be just fine, but yield a bit of a denser tasting cookie than the spelt-kamut combo. You could also give sprouted flour a try to with this recipe.
Hi, I don’t have a electric mixer. If I use hand, will the effect be the same? Thank you.
Electric mixers make it much easier to incorporate the ingredients and blend them well. But you can definitely make these without an electric mixer, you just need to make sure everything is well combined. 🙂