Healthy Gingerbread Cookies Recipe

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These healthy gingerbread cookies are an extra special treat this holiday season. They’re easy to make and fun to decorate!

Christmas cookies are a staple for so many families this time of year, and few flavors scream “the holidays” quite like homemade gingerbread cookies. These healthy gingerbread cookies certainly don’t taste like they are healthy. They taste just like regular gingerbread cookies, so nobody will know the difference! They are the perfect addition to your holiday table.

An overhead shot looking down on decorated healthy gingerbread cookies sitting on white parchment paper.

There are so many different types of gingerbread recipes on the web. But gingerbread cookies are basically the quintessential holiday cookie. They are a fun gift to box up and stash under the Christmas tree for someone special. And while “healthy cookies” may seem like an oxymoron, I assure you nobody will squawk or complain. Serve these delicious cookies with a side of hot chocolate or hot apple cider, and watch them become a Christmas tradition the whole family will love!

What Makes These Healthy Gingerbread Cookies Healthy?

  1. This recipe uses gluten-free flour instead of all-purpose flour, or even regular whole wheat flour.
  2. It uses an unprocessed sweetener instead of regular sugar or brown sugar.
  3. The icing is also made with unprocesses sweetener, though it will be a brown icing if you use a brown sweetener. I personally used Erythritol because that’s what easier on my blood sugar. But whatever you choose, it replaces regular powdered sugar.

How To Adjust Your Spices And Molasses 

There are different types of molasses, and the molasses you choose will dictate the flavor intensity of your healthy gingerbread cookies, along with your spices.

Molasses

5 types of molasses:
– Blackstrap (strongest flavor.)
– Light molasses
– Dark molasses
– Treacle
– Sorghum

Unsulphured molasses tends to have a smoother flavor

Kids will enjoy lighter molasses. Adults will like darker molasses. If you want a true gingerbread flavor that is rich and deep, opt for blackstrap.

Spices

How Much To Use:
If you mix the spices together separately in a bowl, you can easily adjust how much you’ll add to your cookies.

The more you add, the stronger the flavor. If you are making these for kids, I recommend reducing these spices by about half. Adults will most likely enjoy the full dose, which gives you a hearty gingerbread flavor.

A row of gingerbread man cookies in a parchment lined box. The first cookie is outlined with icing.

Should Gingerbread Cookies Be Hard Or Soft?

Gingerbread cookies should be soft and have a little bit of a chewy texture. They will be very soft out of the oven and harden slightly as they cool. But they should still be soft.

The molasses in gingerbread cookies will keep them soft.

Gingerbread Tips And Tricks

  • Chill the dough – Never skip chilling your dough. This can be so tempting, but it’s a critical step. It will make your dough easier to work with and your cookies won’t crack.
  • Cool completely before decorating – If you cookies are warm, the icing won’t set properly. Cool them fully to room temperature before decorating them.
  • Space your cookies – Gingerbread tends to spread or “puff”. So be sure to leave room between your cookies on the cookie sheet.

How To Decorate Gingerbread Cookies

Once you make your icing, transfer it to a cake decorating bag with a small, round tip to draw specific lines. You can also spoon the icing over the top and spread with a spatula to completely cover your cookies with glaze.

Cutting Gingerbread Cookies

You don’t have to make gingerbread men cookies. You can go wild with any shapes you like. Try snowflakes, Christmas trees, stars, or even a hippopotamus! Use whatever cookie cutter shapes you have and enjoy.

How To Store Gingerbread Cookies

Store completely cooled cookies in an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 2-3 weeks.

Just baked healthy gingerbread cookies in the form or stars, cooling on a black wire cooling rack.

Can You Freeze Gingerbread Cookies?

These healthy gingerbread cookies freeze very well! As long as they are packed well, they will do well in the freezer for up to 3-6 months. However, the closer you get to the 6-month mark, the more the freezer will have affected the cookies. So aim no longer than 3-4 months for the best flavor from your cookies.

How To Thaw Gingerbread Cookies

If you freeze your cookies, thawing them is a cinch. Take them out of the freezer container and lay them flat in a single layer. Leave on your countertop until they are fully thawed.

How Do You Know When Gingerbread Cookies Are Done?

Don’t over-bake these healthy gingerbread cookies. Pay close attention to your timer on the first batch and apply that timing to the remaining batches. They are done when the edges are a bit firm to the touch, but the cookie is still soft.

Gluten-Free Gingerbread Cookies

If the gluten-free aspect is important, make sure you purchase ingredients labeled as gluten-free. Particularly the oat flour which can be highly cross-contaminated with gluten, despite being naturally gluten-free.

Decorated healthy gingerbread cookies laying on a Christmas plate.

Ingredients Checklist

Cookies

1 ½ tbsp. ground cinnamon – To easily adjust the spices in this recipe, mix all these spices together in a separate bowl, and then measure the mix into your dough. See post above for this information

¼ tsp. ground coriander

¼ tsp. ground cloves

¼ tsp. ground ginger

¼ tsp. ground allspice

¼ tsp. ground cardamom

¼ tsp. ground nutmeg

3 cups oat flour – This recipe is formulated for oat flour. So while it may be tempting to try spelt flour, almond flour, whole wheat flour, or even all-purpose flour (aka white flour), I do not recommend it. Changing the flour will significantly change the final result of the cookies.

¾ cup granular sweetener – Try Sucanat, coconut sugar, or monk fruit.

1 teaspoon baking powder – Make sure this is not old. Newer powder works best.

2 tbsp. arrowroot powder – In a pinch, you can substitute with cornstarch.

¼ teaspoon salt – I used pink Himalayan salt, but use whatever you normally cook with.

¼ cup unsweetened applesauce – Make sure it’s unsweetened or your cookies will be far too sweet. This replaces the use of butter in order for these to be dairy-free. You can substitute this with coconut oil if you want a crispier cookie.

¼ cup molasses – See notes to determine which type is best for you. I used blackstrap molasses.

2 large eggs – These should be room temperature for best results.

Icing

½ cup powdered sweetener – If you can’t find a powdered version, you can purchase unprocessed sweeteners like Sucanat, coconut sugar, or monk fruit, and grind it in a grinder.

4 teaspoons milk – This can be any type of milk you like. Non-dairy milk works just as well as dairy milk.

How to Make Healthier Gingerbread Cookies

Cookie Instructions

The individual gingerbread spices sitting in a small white bowl.

Mix your spices in a small bowl, and set them aside.

Flour and other dry ingredients sitting in a metal mixing bowl.

In a mixer, combine the dry ingredients at low speed using the whisk attachment. (Or simply whisk by hand)

Gingerbread spices added to dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.

Stir in the spices. Take note of how much of the spice mix you want to use, based on the notes in the post above. Typically, the full amount is for adults and half the amount is for kids. (Half will give you a very light spice.)

Eggs, molasses and apple sauce added to dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.

Switch to the dough hook, and add in the wet ingredients.

Fully mixed gingerbread dough in a metal mixing bowl.

Start your mixer on low speed, and adjust as needed.

Gingerbread dough ball wrapped in plastic wrap for chilling.

Once you have a good dough formed, remove the dough from the mixing bowl and place it on a large piece of plastic wrap that has been laid flat on a work surface. Wrap the dough well and store it in the fridge for 4 hours or up to overnight.

Gingerbread dough ball cut into quarters.

After chilling, unwrap the dough and cut it into quarters on a clean work surface.

Rolling a piece of gingerbread dough between two pieces of parchment paper.

Working with a quarter of the dough at a time, roll the dough out between two pieces of parchment. It will be a little tough at first but becomes easier as the dough gets worked.

Dusting rolled gingerbread dough with flour before cutting.

Remove the top piece of parchment and lightly dust your rolled dough with flour. The dough can be a bit sticky until you add this. You can also flour the bottom sheet of parchment as needed (or whatever work surface you are working on)

Cutting gingerbread dough with cookie cutters.

Cut out the cookies using any cookie cutter you like. Place them on a baking sheet lined with sheets of parchment paper and bake at 325 F. for 10-12 minutes. Every oven is different, so keep a close eye on the first batch and note the time when they are done for the remaining batches.

Just baked healthy gingerbread cookies cooling on a black wire cooling rack.

When done, transfer the cookies to a wire rack and cool completely before decorating.

Icing Instructions

Mixing the icing in a small, white bowl.

Whisk together the icing ingredients in a small to medium bowl.

The mixed icing poured into a sandwich bag.

Transfer to a cake decorating bag with a fine tip, or to a zipper-top sandwich bag, then cut off the corner tip.

Outlining a gingerbread man with icing.

Decorate your cookies as desired.

Chilling the just decorated healthy gingerbread cookies on a plate.

Place all decorated cookies in a single layer on a flat surface and chill in the fridge until the icing has hardened. Then take a bite!

Need Recipe Supplies?

More Healthy Christmas Cookies

Side Notes

If you enjoy culinary history at all, here is an interesting read on the history of gingerbread!

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Healthy Gingerbread Cookie Recipe

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An overhead shot looking down on decorated, healthy gingerbread cookies sitting on white parchment paper.

Gingerbread Cookie Recipe

Delicious, homemade gingerbread cookies for the holidays!
No ratings yet
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Asian, English, French, German, Greek
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Chill Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 42 minutes
Servings: 1 batch
Calories: 2976kcal
Author: The Gracious Pantry

CLICK TO WATCH THIS RECIPE IN ACTION!

Equipment

  • Electric stand mixer (although, it can be made without one)

Ingredients

Cookie Ingredients

  • tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. ground coriander
  • ¼ tsp. ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp. ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp. ground allspice
  • ¼ tsp. ground cardamom
  • ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 3 cups oat flour (gluten-free if needed)
  • ¾ cup granular sweetener (I used Sucanat, but coconut sugar or monk fruit work too)
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tbsp. arrowroot powder (In a pinch, you can use cornstarch)
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¼ cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • ¼ cup molasses (see notes above for which type to use)
  • 2 large eggs (room temperature)

Icing Ingredients

  • ½ cup powdered sweetener (I used erythritol, but you can use whatever type you are comfortable with, or grind your own.) – You can double or triple this if needed. Adjust either ingredient to get correct consistency.
  • 4 tsp. milk (dairy or non-dairy. Your choice) – You can double or triple this if needed. Adjust either ingredient to get correct consistency.

Instructions

Cookie Instructions

  • Mix your spices in a small bowl, and set them aside.
    The individual gingerbread spices sitting in a small white bowl.
  • In a mixer, combine the dry ingredients at low speed using the whisk attachment. (Or simply whisk by hand)
    Flour and other dry ingredients sitting in a metal mixing bowl.
  • Stir in the spices. Take note of how much of the spice mix you want to use, based on the notes in the post above. Typically, the full amount is for adults and half the amount is for kids. (Half will give you a very light spice.)
    Gingerbread spices added to dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  • Switch to the dough hook, and add in the wet ingredients.
    Eggs, molasses and apple sauce added to dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  • Start your mixer on low speed, and adjust as needed.
    Fully mixed gingerbread dough in a metal mixing bowl.
  • Once you have a good dough formed, remove the dough from the mixing bowl and place it on a large piece of plastic wrap that has been laid flat on a work surface. Wrap the dough well and store it in the fridge for 4 hours or up to overnight.
    Gingerbread dough ball wrapped in plastic wrap for chilling.
  • After chilling, unwrap the dough and cut it into quarters on a clean work surface.
    Gingerbread dough ball cut into quarters.
  • Working with a quarter of the dough at a time, roll the dough out between two pieces of parchment. It will be a little tough at first but becomes easier as the dough gets worked.
    Rolling a piece of gingerbread dough between two pieces of parchment paper.
  • Remove the top piece of parchment and lightly dust your rolled dough with flour. The dough can be a bit sticky until you add this. You can also flour the bottom sheet of parchment as needed (or whatever work surface you are working on)
    Dusting rolled gingerbread dough with flour before cutting.
  • Cut out the cookies using any cookie cutter you like. Place them on a baking sheet lined with sheets of parchment paper and bake at 325° F. for 10-12 minutes. Every oven is different, so keep a close eye on the first batch and note the time when they are done for the remaining batches.
    Cutting gingerbread dough with cookie cutters.
  • When done, transfer the cookies to a wire rack and cool completely before decorating.
    Just baked healthy gingerbread cookies cooling on a black wire cooling rack.

Icing Instructions

  • Whisk together the icing ingredients in a small to medium bowl.
    Mixing the icing in a small, white bowl.
  • Transfer to a cake decorating bag with a fine tip, or to a zipper-top sandwich bag, then cut off the corner tip.
    The mixed icing poured into a sandwich bag.
  • Decorate your cookies as desired.
    Outlining a gingerbread man with icing.
  • Place all decorated cookies in a single layer on a flat surface and chill in the fridge until the icing has hardened. Then take a bite!
    Chilling the just decorated healthy gingerbread cookies on a plate.

Notes

Please note that the nutrition data given here is a ballpark figure. Exact data is not possible. Data is for the ENTIRE RECIPE. Divide this data by the number of cookies you end up with to get per-cookie data.

Nutrition

Serving: 1entire batch | Calories: 2976kcal | Carbohydrates: 585g | Protein: 67g | Fat: 44g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 14g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 374mg | Sodium: 848mg | Potassium: 3334mg | Fiber: 32g | Sugar: 321g | Vitamin A: 631IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 792mg | Iron: 23mg
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2 Comments

  1. Can you make the cookies with erythritol instead of sucanat?

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