A healthier take on the classic gingerbread cookie recipe! Made with almond flour, coconut sugar, molasses, and coconut oil, these healthy gingerbread men are gluten-free, dairy-free, and refined sugar free. They are perfectly sweet and spicy and are sure to get you in the holiday spirit!
Cookie week continues with another all-time classic! GINGERBREAD MEN! If you’re a gingerbread lover like me, definitely check out my paleo gingerbread truffles from last winter.
Honestly, I feel like gingerbread cookies are sometimes overlooked. Don’t get me wrong, they are ALWAYS part of the holiday cookie line up. But, more often than not, I feel like they are used as part of a gingerbread house or get hung on a tree as a temporary ornament.
I never really understood the whole ‘decorate cookies that aren’t meant for eating thing’ though. Like, making gingerbread houses is fun and all. But, so is eating cookies.
And trust me, you’re going to want to eat these healthy gingerbread men. They’re the perfect combination of sweet and spicy with just the right amount of crunch. I made a couple simple swaps to keep these gingerbread men gluten-free, dairy-free, and refined-sugar free.
These gingerbread men delicious eaten on their own, but pair perfectly with a warm cup of coffee on a cold winter day. They are even better (and more fun) with a little bit of frosting for decorating.
Because what is a gingerbread man that isn’t decorated…? A naked gingerbread man? Ok bad joke.
Annnnddd… on that note… time to grab your friends and family and get baking!
Baking with molasses
When sugarcane is crushed, a liquid is pulled out from it. That liquid is boiled down, sugar crystals are formed, and then removed from the liquid. The liquid that is left once the sugar crystals are removed is molasses!
This boiling-extraction process can be repeated a second time for a darker, richer molasses. It is a little less sweet than lighter molasses and has a deeper flavor. A third boiling-extraction process produces Backstrap molasses, which has an even deeper, but less sweet, flavor.
This richer flavor balances well with the ginger-y spices used in gingerbread. I’d recommend using dark or backstrap molasses here if you like the very inse ginger-y flavors. If you’d like the cookies to be sweeter with a more subtle flavor, I’d use a light molasses.
Since backstrap molasses is the most concentrated (has had the most sugar removed), it will have the highest amount of vitamins and minerals.
How to make healthy gingerbread men
Making these healthy gingerbred men is incredibly simple. The dough requires just two bowls and a few minutes to mix together. It does need to chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes before rolling, but that time is hands off.
To make these cookies, you will need:
- Almond flour
- Coconut sugar
- Coconut oil
- Molasses (I used dark)
- 1 Egg
- Baking soda
- Spices (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, pinch of salt)
Once you have your ingredients gathered, mix together all your dry ingreidnets – almond flour, salt, baking soda, coconut sugar and spices – in a medium bowl. In a separate larger bowl, combine the wet ingredients – egg, melted coconut oil, and molasses. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until combined.
Once combined, allow dough to chill in fridge for at least 30 minutes!
Once the dough is chilled, roll out until it is about 1/4 inch thick. Use your favorite cookie cutters to cut out shapes!
Bake at 350F for 11-13 minutes. Allow to cool completely before decoratorating. The cookies will crisp up as the cool.
Decorating your gingerbread men
Once your cookies have cooled completely, it’s time for what I believe is the MOST FUN part of holiday cookie baking – DECORATING!
If you’d like to make your own icing for decorating, just combine 1 cup of powdered sugarand 1-2 tablespoons of water. If you’d like it colored, add a few drops of your food coloring. Mix together the ingredients and add to a ziplock bag. Cut the corner to make decorating easier!
You can of course, eat the cookies plain. Other decorating ideas include just some powdered sugar or sprinkles! Feel free to get creative!
If you liked this recipe, you’ll want to try these!
If you make this recipe, be sure to comment below and let me know how it was! Also tag @erinliveswhole on Instagram and use the hashtag #erinliveswhole so I can see it and feature you!
- 2.5 cups almond flour
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ginger
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp cloves
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup coconut oil – melted (if dough seems too dry, increase by adding one tablespoon more at a time)
- 1 tsp vanilla
For homemade icing:
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1–2 tbsp water
- Preheat oven to 350F
- Mix together almond flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, salt, and coconut sugar (dry ingredients)
- In a separate bowl, stir together all wet ingredients (egg, molasses, melted coconut oil)
- Add dry ingredients to wet and stir to combine
- Once combined, allow dough to chill in fridge for at least 1 hour (I did overnight, then let it sit the next at room temp for 15 minutes).
- Roll dough to 1/4 inch thick and use cookie cutters to cut out shapes. If dough is too warm and tough to work with, place back in the fridge for at least another 30 minutes.
- Bake at 350F for 11-13 minutes
- Allow to cool completely before decorating
Number of cookies/nutrition will depend on size of cookie cutter
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