These gingerbread cookies are so delicious, yet free of gluten and refined sugar! Can also be made dairy-free and vegan friendly by following the simple substitutions. Just decorate with your favorite icing for a fun and festive activity the whole family will enjoy!
Baking and decorating cookies is definitely one of our favorite family traditions each Christmas season. Bags of flour & sugar, and pounds of butter are used up in the process, resulting in dozens of adorably decorated sweet treats we generously pass on to family and friends.
Each year I love going out to look for unique cookie cutters to add to our collection, which is a mixed bag of old, vintage cutters from my grandma, to newer, colorful metal and plastic cutters we’ve picked up here and there. My favorites are the snowflake cutters because, just like no two snowflakes are alike, there are hundreds of different ways you could decorate a snowflake cookie and they seem to turn out pretty no matter what—My kind of cookie!
These gingerbread cookies are perfect for using cute cutters because they don’t spread too much and generally hold their shape well in the oven. How thin you roll the dough will determine how crisp the cookies will be. I usually roll them about 1/4-inch thick for more soft cookies, but the crisp & crunchier thinner cookies are equally as delicious. Sometimes I even rolled them into balls for soft and chewy gingerbread cookies that give you that yummy flavor without having to go through the tedious process of rolling and cutting, which is especially good if you don’t have a crowd of people there to help!
The dough is soft and fortunately doesn’t require refrigerating beforehand. I suggest rolling between parchment paper to keep it from sticking, which also makes clean up a breeze!
Package them up in some cellophane or stack some up in a cute treat box or tin for an adorable and delicious Christmas gift everyone can enjoy! I mean, who wouldn’t love to receive a package of these cute & festive gingerbread cookies to enjoy throughout the holidays?! I know I sure would! Enjoy, friends!
- 2–2½ cups gluten-free flour blend, (regular all-purpose flour can also be used, if not gluten-free)
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1.5 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ground allspice
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- pinch of ground black pepper, optional
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened (or palm shortening for dairy-free/vegan alternative)
- ⅔ cup coconut sugar
- ⅓ cup unsulphured molasses
- 1 large egg (or flax egg: 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed mixed with 3 tablespoons water)
- Combine flour, spices, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, begin to beat softened butter until creamy. Add coconut sugar and beat until fluffy. Add molasses and egg. Mix until creamy.
- While mixing on low speed, slowly add flour to the butter/sugar mixture and beat until dough thoroughly combined and dough is soft and no longer tacky.
- If dough is still tacky to the touch, add additional flour a tablespoon at a time until dough comes together, like in the photo above.
- Preheat oven to 350F. Roll dough out to ⅛"-1/4" thick. Roll between two pieces of parchment paper for best results. If dough begins to stick, dust surface with a little extra flour.
- Cut out shapes with cookie cutter and carefully release from the paper by sliding an offset spatula under each shape. Carefully transfer a parchment lined baking sheet, an inch or two apart. Re-roll scraps and cut out more shapes. Continue to do this until all the dough is used up. (Alternatively, you can roll dough into 1-inch balls. Place on a baking sheet and flatten slightly with your palm. Bake as directed below)
- Place pan into preheated oven and bake for 9-12 minutes, until edges are set. Let cool thoroughly before decorating.
- (This is the icing I used to decorate the cookies. Keep in mind, while the cookies themselves are free of refined sugar, this icing is made with powdered sugar.) Mix 2 cups powdered sugar with 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 3-5 tablespoons milk or water. Start by stirring in 2 tablespoons of milk and then add more a little at a time, just until the icing is thin enough to pipe. Do not add too much or the icing will spread and not hold its shape. Add more powdered sugar to thicken or more milk to thin until you get the right consistency.
- Place icing into a piping bag, sandwich baggie, or squeeze bottle and cut a small opening in the tip. Decorate the cookies as you wish and allow to dry thoroughly before stacking.