I developed this 100% whole-grain and dairy-free Gingerbread Cookie Recipe a few years ago for my son, Blake, when he asked if we could bake cookies for the holidays. It’s hard for me to tell just from looking at the photo below, but I think Blake was only about 8 years old when I first made them, so this recipe dates back to about 2009. But it’s a recipe I have used over and over because it’s so easy and because to this day Blake still asks me to make them!
Although my Gingerbread Cookie Recipe tastes just like the ones your probably grew up eating, it is far from a “conventional” recipe. Mine are not only dairy-free and whole grain, but also free from refined sugar (the cookies are sweetened with fiber-rich stewed prunes and molasses.)
Over the years, I have experimented with three different whole grain flours, all of which work very well: white whole wheat flour, biodynamic whole wheat flour and sprouted spelt flour (I like One Degree Organics.)
But here’s the deal with kids and “healthy” cookies: if you are going to go to the trouble of making cookies they absolutely have to taste good–and kids are the ultimate cookie taste-testers. I’ve found you can’t fool kids with foods; while health conscious adults can often be talked into liking something if they think it is good for them, you just can’t fool the kids.
Kids get right to the bottom line with food…in other words, does it taste good or not? I can always count on my son to tell me the truth about whether my healthy cookie recipe is a winner or not.
Old Fashioned Gingerbread Cookie Recipe Can Be Tweaked to Be Healthy
You can find a lot of gingerbread cookie recipes online that called themselves healthy (“low fat”, vegan, etc.) but when you look at the ingredient list you see they call for unhealthy margarines, way too much sugar, refined flour, etc.
The extra virgin coconut oil I use in my Gingerbread Cookie recipe yields the same melt-in-your-mouth texture you’d get from butter and tastes substantially better than artificial margarine (don’t worry, the extra virgin coconut oil does not taste “tropical” at all—I assure you the spices completely mask the flavor of the coconut.)
And, by incorporating naturally sweet but also nutrient-dense and fiber-rich prunes as a sweetener, I was able to slash the sugar from the molasses by half the amount called for in your traditional gingerbread cookie recipe.
As a side note, I am a big fan of prunes. As a snack I often eat prunes smeared with raw almond butter (this is an amazingly satisfying snack and does wonders to keep my sweet tooth under control.) Prunes are rich in iron and vitamin C—which, by the way, boosts your body’s ability to absorb the iron—and they actually have one of the highest oxygen radical absorbance capacities (ORAC) of any other food, which means prunes are particularly rich in anti-aging and disease-fighting antioxidants. Plus, prunes are super sweet so they do an incredible job sweetening my healthy cookie recipe.
The perfect holiday gift! Gingerbread cookies can be stored in a covered container for up to 3 days or frozen in a zip-top bag for up to a month.
- 9 organic prunes
- 1/4 cup extra virgin coconut oil, melted (such as Barlean’s)
- 1/2 cup molasses
- 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon water
- 1 heaping teaspoon freshly grated ginger
- 2 cups plus 3 tablespoons white whole wheat flour (such as King Arthur Flour) OR biodynamic whole wheat flour (such as Isis) OR sprouted spelt flour, plus more flour, as needed
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon unrefined sea salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil two heavy-duty baking sheets with extra virgin coconut oil.
- Place the prunes in a medium sized microwave-safe bowl and add 1 cup of water. Place the prunes in the microwave and microwave on high for 2 minutes. Remove prunes from microwave and let sit 5 minutes. Drain water and set prunes aside.
- Place the melted oil, molasses, water, freshly grated ginger and softened prunes in a high speed blender. Process on high for 1 minute, or until all ingredients are well blended.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cloves, and unrefined sea salt. Add the wet ingredients in with the dry and knead with your hands to thoroughly combine (the dough will be thick and heavy.)
- Roll out the dough on lightly floured waxed paper or a nonstick mat. Cut gingerbread people with a floured cutter. Place cookie cutter on rolled dough and press down evenly. Pick up shapes with a metal spatula and transfer to baking sheets. Continue to knead dough scraps to roll and cut more cookies.
- Bake cookies for 7 to 9 minutes. Remove cookies from oven and set on a wire rack to cool.