Gathering together with family during the holidays is rarely stress-free. Everyone has that one relative who has to ignite a debate about a sensitive subject, you accidentally burn the pecan pie and Great Aunt Mable keeps asking you when you’re going to have a baby (it’s time, you know. She had 3 by your age.)
To add to the stress, many family members have adopted eating habits that don’t fit into your everyday life – your youngest has informed you she is now vegetarian, you learn one of your nephews has an auto-immune disease that prevents him from eating gluten and your cousin is diabetic. What now? How can you possibly please all the different eating lifestyles that now inhabit your overpopulated dining table?
Gathering over family meals is no longer as easy as it once was, but you don’t have to make dozens of different dishes that appeal to every single eating lifestyle. I do not expect the hostess of any of our holiday events to cater to my gluten-free eating lifestyle (which is medically necessary, not because it’s the new fad) so I plan my visit accordingly. If it means bringing a dish that I made myself to contribute to the dinner, I’m happy to do it. I’m sure she’s happy, too.
These gingerbread cookies cover three bases: they are gluten- and refined sugar-free and they also fit within the “Paleo Lifestyle” if you have someone present who is on that plan. I tested these on the “normal” eaters in my family without telling them the ingredients and no one was the wiser. They were gobbled up before I could finish frosting them.
The dough comes together in one bowl. I recommend using a hand mixer if you don’t want your arm to fall off. The batter will make a nice damp ball. Place the ball between 2 sheets of parchment paper and roll out with a rolling pin.
Once you’ve flatten the dough, remove the top layer of parchment paper and begin cutting out the cookies. Once you have them all cut, simply pull up the dough and the cookies will stay in place (like “weeding” vinyl for a Silhouette machine, sound familiar?). Leave the cookies where they are and move the whole sheet of parchment paper onto a cookie sheet and place in the oven.
Bake for 8 minutes and let cool before applying the icing. If you don’t have a fancy piping bag for the icing, simply place the frosting in a zip-lock and cut off a small piece of a corner for a a homemade (and disposable) piping bag.
If you don’t already have frayed nerves, you might enlist help from the kids to decorate the cookies.
Now you have something to give your guests that shows you were considerate of their nutritional needs and these cookies can also be enjoyed by all the “normal” eaters, too. BONUS! No one will know the difference and, frankly, people will eat anything if it has frosting on it, amIright?
For another gluten-free sweet treat, visit this post, Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins.
- 1½ cups almond flour
- ¾ cup tapioca flour (a.k.a. tapioca "starch")
- ¾ tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ⅛ tsp ground cloves
- ¼ tsp salt
- 3 Tbsp coconut oil
- 2½ teaspoons raw maple syrup (not pancake syrup!)
- 3 Tbsp molasses
- ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together dry ingredients: almond flour, tapioca starch, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and salt to all the dry ingredients are combined.
- Add wet ingredients: coconut oil, maple syrup, molasses and vanilla and beat with an electric mixer until ingredients are combined and a wet dough forms. Don't worry about over-mixing because it does not contain gluten and will not overdevelop.
- Place the dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper (not wax paper, it burns!) and roll the dough out to about ¼-in thickness. Transfer onto a cookie sheet and refrigerate for 15 min (this helps the dough "set" for easier cutting).
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Place the chilled dough back on the counter, remove the top sheet of parchment paper and begin making cut-outs with cookie cutters. Peel up the dough between the cookies and set aside (repeat the rolling process later to make more cookies with the excess dough). There is no need to remove the cookies, leave them where they are.
- Transfer the parchment with the cookies back onto the baking sheet and place in the oven. Cook for 8 minutes. The cookies may not appear done, but they will harden as they cool.
- Cool completely before frosting.