Gingerbread cookies are the essence of holidays. Just last week I was explaining to my son what holiday is next an why we can’t have Halloween again instead of Thanksgiving- he had an excellent point though. Once I told him Thanksgiving meant we could bake some goodies he ran to my cookie cutter drawer, yes it’s an entire drawer, and yelled, “Let’s make gingerbread cookies!”
Gulp. I need to admit something. While I’ve been eating healthy for 4 years now, every time the holidays roll around I try to make someone’s paleo or clean eating recipe for classic cookies and fail miserably. I was convinced it couldn’t be done. But since I recently perfected the snickerdoodle, I reasoned it was worth a try.
Sam and I did some research on gingerbread cookies. My four-year old is very into the process that comes with my job. We found some rhythms that helped me build my ingredients list.
Most recipes call for:
3 cups of flour
baking powder and baking soda
just shy of 1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon of ginger
We wrote out what we thought would work using our own creativity and these guidelines. My goal was a cookie that cut out well and wasn’t too dense.
I also wanted a classic royal icing. That was the toughest part. I made it about three times before it was right. Even then I kept asking friends to come over and try them. I needed lots of opinions, especially because using stevia is tricky. It is very sweet and doesn’t need a lot of it to do the job. Some people say it has a weird after-taste. I’ve found ways around that depending on what it’s mixed in. This icing is perfect for the gingerbread cookies. I even tested it on my non-paleo friends. They approved and didn’t know they were different from the original!
Preheat the oven to 350°. Prep two cookies sheets by spraying them with coconut oil spray.
In a large mixing bowl combine the flours, sugar, salt and baking powder and soda. Stir with a wooden or rubber spatula.
Sprinkle in the seasonings.
Stir again until mixed evenly.
Pour in your butter, vanilla, egg and almond milk.
Begin mixing slowly as this makes a lot of dough.
Now add in the molasses.
Molasses is sticky, so really work it into the dough until it all looks the same color.
Roll out parchment paper on the counter.
Sprinkle tapioca flour in the paper and scoop out 1/3 of the dough.
Generously cover your rolling pin wit more tapioca flour.
Gently roll out the dough to 1/2 inch thick. This dough is soft, so you don't have to press down hard to get it in the right direction.
Cut the cookies out, making sure you use a spatula to carefully get them from the parchment paper to the cookie sheet.
Every time you need to roll out the dough again, make sure you re-apply tapioca flour on the rolling pin and parchment paper.
Bake for 8-10 minutes.
While the cookies bake, prepare your icing.
In a medium bowl, combine the coconut oil and butter.
Blend using a hand blender or mixer.
Once mixed, add in the stevia, vanilla and lemon juice.
Now add in 2 Tablespoons of tapioca flour.
Blend and check for thickness.
If needed, add in the other 2 Tablespoons of tapioca flour.
Let the icing sit for 5 minutes once you think it's mixed perfectly.
Tapioca flour is a thickener and can change in a few minutes. If you check it after the 5 minutes and find it's too thick, add in some of the almond milk. Keep mixing in more almond milk until it's the right consistency.
Use either a piping bag or ziplock sandwich bag to decorate the cookies. If using a sandwich bag, pour in the icing, seal the bag and snip of a tiny corner for the icing to drizzle out of.
Allow the cookies to cool completely before icing.
If you want to use this icing for other cookies and want to color it, you might like trying a natural food coloring. It has only natural dyes that are harmless for kids 🙂