+ the healthy chef recipes +

Gluten Free Gingerbread Men

Gluten Free Gingerbread Men

When I was working as a pastry chef, making gingerbread was part of our weekly production schedule. We used to make the most amazing gingerbread houses glued together with chocolate or royal icing. They were so big that you could almost walk through one of the doors and sit down inside them. The cookie dough was pretty durable so it could hold up for about 4 weeks before the walls started caving in and it was made from a base of white flour, butter, eggs, spices and sugar. These days I still love making gingerbread, but in a smaller cookie form and in a much healthier way than the original. They are easy for kids to make and wonderful as presents or Christmas tree decorations.

What’s great about them

I’ve replaced the white flour with almond meal, which give these gingerbread a wonderful flavour and slightly softer texture than traditional versions. Almonds also increase the nutrient profile so each cookie is full of protein as well as being lower in refined sugar. I’ve used fresh soft pitted dates to sweeten most of my cookie dough then added a combination of honey and molasses which adds a wonderful depth and richness to the gingerbread.

+ ingredients & methods +

ingredients (Makes 10 Gingerbread Men)

280 g (2 ¾ cups) almond meal
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon gluten free baking powder
4 (60 g) fresh soft pitted dates
50 ml extra virgin olive oil, macadamia oil or coconut oil
40 g raw honey, maple syrup, molasses or brown rice syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla bean extract
1 egg white

method

  1. Combine almond meal, baking powder, dates and spices in a food processor.
  2. Process until combined and mix is crumbly.
  3. Add olive oil, honey (+molasses if using), vanilla + egg white.
  4. Process again until a soft dough forms.
  5. Remove the dough and flatten down slightly between 2 pieces of  grease-proof paper (baking paper) – about 3 mm thick.
  6. Refrigerate for 1 hour to allow the dough to firm up. If in a hurry, place in the freezer for 20 minutes.
  7. Cut out into shapes with a gingerbread cutter and place cookies onto a baking tray lined with baking paper.
  8. Bake at 150 C for 30 minutes or until golden.
  9. Remove from the oven and cool. Decorate as you like… I iced mine with melted white chocolate.
+ notes & inspiration +

Vegan - Egg white helps to bind it together – and without it, the dough becomes crumbly and hard to handle. However it can still be made into smaller round cookies, but not into gingerbread men. It’s important that you rest the dough in the fridge or freezer for a bit to harden up a tad which will make them easier to handle and form into shapes.

To decorate, melt a little white chocolate and spoon into a small home made piping bag made from the baking paper. Cut the tip to let a little chocolate run out then decorate gingerbread with smily faces and buttons.

 

+ more to love +