It’s December and that means it’s Cookie Baking Season (yes in caps because it’s that official). Baking is my jam, like seriously.
I absolutely LOVE baking cookies mostly because I absolutely LOVE eating cookie dough. Truth.
Always have. Always will. Because true love never dies.
Sure the final baked cookie is great and all, too, but I’d much rather eat a spoonful (or three) of the dough and call it a day. But I don’t because I also LOVE the smell of cookies baking in the oven—seriously is there anything better?
Plus, I have plenty of cookie loving friends and family who are kind enough to help me ensure the finished goods don’t go to waste.
It’s a win for everyone, including you because I’m going to be sharing a new healthy holiday cookie recipe EACH Friday this month!
Insert all the party cone emojis here x 100.
COOKIE NO. 1
First up are these soft and chewy paleo ginger snaps! They are a snap to whip up (sorry I couldn’t help it) and everything you’d want in a holiday cookie—crunchy on the edge, soft and pillowy in the center, and a kick of spice from the ginger and teeniest tiniest pinch of black pepper.
I mean just look at these beauties. How could you not love them?
I kept them plain and simple because I think they are plenty sweet already but you could always add a bit of coconut sugar on top before baking to give them a sparkly top or drizzle with coconut butter (hello!) or melted dark chocolate OR, I supposed, dust with powdered sugar. I’ll let you decide if and how to fancy them up!
Ginger snaps have long been one of my favorite types of cookies. I love the spiciness and warming flavors of nutmeg, cinnamon (duh), ground cloves and the depth that molasses adds. I highly recommend making these and then dunking them in a bowl of coconut whipped cream or banana ice cream.
These are the times that I really wish blogs were scratch and sniff. Seriously why isn’t that technology available yet?
The best part is that the spicy warm gingery scent will make you think you’re living inside a gingerbread house. No joke. Even long after you’re done baking these bad boys, that fresh-baked cookie smell lingers and it’s soooooo good.
Now I know what you’re thinking, if this is a health and nutrition blog how am I going to justify getting away with four weeks of holiday cookies, right?
Well my friends these cookies are refined sugar free, which I know doesn’t automatically make them equivalent to kale (obvi), but it definitely helps make them more nutritious than the white sugar laden original.
They are also gluten free, grain free, and dairy free because eating that way most of the time is what makes me feel my best and I know a lot of you also follow a mostly gluten- and dairy-free lifestyle. And it’s the holidays so the more people who can eat these cookies the merrier!
OK so back to the sugar sitch for a minute.
SUGAR, AW HONEY HONEY
Actually wait. No, neither honey nor sugar are in these cookies. But as far as sugar goes, let me be clear that even natural sweeteners like honey, agave, coconut sugar, maple syrup, etc. are all still SUGAR.
Honestly, there is really no need for plain ol’ sugar in our diet, whether it’s natural or not. Sugar contains zero nutrients, but I’m not here to totally rain on your holiday cookie parade.
Because I believe that a few sweet treats from time to time never hurt anyone.
As long as you recognize that a cookie is still a cookie—even when it’s a “healthier” cookie—and include them occasionally versus as a daily treat, it’s all good.
The reason that I like maple syrup over refined sugar is because it does contain a smidge of antioxidants and nutrients compared to the refined white stuff…Sure, there’s really only trace amounts of manganese, iron, copper, zinc, and potassium, but every bit counts! Maple syrup is also in its natural state, whereas white sugar has been highly refined and processed.
An essential ingredient for ginger cookies is molasses, which is simply sugar cane syrup that’s been boiled three times to produce a thick, dark syrup. It also contains trace amounts of vitamins and minerals including calcium, magnesium, and potassium. All things you can get from kale, but again it’s the holidays so as long as you’re rounding out your diet with plenty of nutritious vegetables, low sugar fruits and clean proteins, don’t fret.
In fact, it’s often the fretting and worrying about what you’re eating that causes the most damage. Take it from someone who knows, obsessing over what you’re eating (or not eating) is far worse for your body and mental health than simply eating the cookie, enjoying it, and moving on with your life.
Speaking of moving on, let’s get to the cookies shall we?
Like I said, these cookies are a snap to make (maybe it’s funnier the second time?)! You don’t even need a fancy mixer—a whisk and a spatula work perfectly fine!
Soft and Chewy Paleo Ginger Snap Cookies
paleo, gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free, grain free
Yield: 24 cookies | Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook time: 12-14 minutes
1 3/4 cups blanched almond flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tbs ground ginger
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 heaping tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1/3 cup unfiltered blackstrap molasses
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1 large egg*
- Preheat oven to 350-degrees Fahrenheit and line a small cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silpat liner.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients and whisk to incorporate.
- Using another bowl, combine all wet ingredients and whisk to beat egg and incorporate into coconut oil, molasses, and maple syrup.
- Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix to combine. The dough will be pretty sticky. Once well mixed, use a spatula to scoop the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and pop in the fridge to chill for at least one hour or overnight.
- Using your hands, break off a small chunk of dough and roll into a ball then place dough onto prepared cookie sheet. Press the dough flat with your fingers and spread until roughly 2 1/2 inches in diameter. Continue this process with the rest of the dough.
- Bake for 12-14 minutes** and allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
*I haven’t tried this recipe with a flax egg but if you do, please come back and leave a comment to let us and others know how it turned out for you!
**If you want a crispier, snappier cookie leave them in the oven to bake a bit longer. Just be careful to watch them because they will quickly get browned on the edges if left unattended for more than 15 minutes! And if you prefer them softer, simply bake them for less time.
I hope you love these cookies and if you make them, please tag me @honestlynourished and use #honestlynourished so I can give you a big ol’ high five!
See you on Tuesday for another easy weeknight meal and the cookie madness continues next Friday! Woot woot!
What’s your favorite holiday cookie? Share below and maybe I’ll give it a healthier makeover!