How to make Gluten-Free & Vegan Gingerbread Cookies. A healthy spin on a classic holiday treat, these gingerbread cookies are topped with a vegan icing too!
A few weeks ago I polled this community and asked, “If you had to choose one classic holiday cookie that you wanted me to recreate in a healthy way, what would it be?”. The resounding answer was gingerbread!
It wasn't on my site yet, so I figured it was about time we gave it a go. Today I'm sharing my healthy, gluten-free and vegan gingerbread recipe with you. And it's just in time for the holidays!
I don't know about you, but I love giving away edible gifts. There's something so satisfying knowing that a) I'm giving something that someone can actually use and enjoy, and b) I'm not creating more clutter in their lives. For friends, coworkers and even less close family members, cookies are the perfect treat.
How to make Gingerbread
Unlike other cookies where you scoop and drop them onto the baking sheet, with gingerbread you have to be able to roll it out. This can present problems when you're trying to create a gluten-free and vegan version.
Why? Because both gluten and eggs help the bind the dough, making it easier to roll.
For the egg part, we're going to use a flax egg (which is flaxseed meal and water mixed together). Since the egg is their mostly to bind and less so about rise and structure, the vegan option is perfect.
For the flour side of things, I added in a fair amount of tapioca starch. I don't often use a lot of starch in my baking, but in this cookie, it helps the dough bind and hold its shape. I haven't tested it without tapioca, but if you don't have that in your pantry, you should be able to use potato starch or arrowroot starch.
What to Expect from Vegan Gingerbread
There really aren't many surprises with these vegan gingerbread cookies, aside from the fact that the dough is a little stickier than traditional gingerbread. When you're rolling it out, definitely do it on a piece of parchment paper and use a rolling pin with gentle pressure. You shouldn't need a second layer of parchment on top if you don't push too hard when you're rolling.
A sticky dough can also make the cutting process a teeny bit challenging. When you're cutting out your gingerbread cookies, you can either lightly grease your cookie cutter, dip it in flour or do what I do and simply use your fingers to push to dough out of the mold.
If you're gentle, the cookies will be no problem at all!
How to Decorate Gingerbread Cookies
While you can totally leave these babies plain, they're not quite as festive without icing.
I whipped up a very standard royal icing my using powdered sugar and almond milk. Once it was nice and thick, I transferred it into a plastic bag, snipped the tip off and iced my cookies.
You don't see my using cane sugar in many of my recipes, but cookie icing is the one exception for the sheer reason I haven't found a good alternative. Since this is a once a year kind of deal for me, I'm totally fine with it. Just make sure that when you are buying powdered sugar that you're getting one that's organic and non-GMO.
For decorating purposes, you can go wild! It's really fun to decorate cookies, especially with kids, so let your creativity free!
Happy holiday baking ❤️
Other Healthy Christmas Cookies to try:
- Gluten-Free & Vegan Sugar Cookies
- Chewy Ginger Molasses Cookies
- Healthy Chocolate Orange Cookies
- Gluten-Free Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies
Gluten-Free & Vegan Gingerbread Cookies
- 1 1/4 cups almond flour
- 1/2 cup tapioca starch
- 1/4 cup quinoa flour
- 1/4 cup coconut flour
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 flax egg 1 T flaxseed meal + 3 T water
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (or oil of choice)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
for the frosting
- 1/2 cup organic powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon non-dairy milk
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Add flax egg, syrup, oil and vanilla to the bowl and mix together until it forms a thick, pliable dough.
- Transfer the dough to a parchment lined surface. Place another sheet of parchment on top and roll the dough until it's about 1/8" thick. Using a gingerbread man cutter, cut out the shapes and place them on the baking sheet. Reroll the dough and continue to cut out your cookies until the dough has been used up.
- Bake the cookies for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before frosting.
- For the frosting, whisk together the sugar and milk. Transfer to a piping bag or squeeze bottle.
- Once the cookies are cool, pipe the frosting onto the cookies in whatever design you like. Enjoy!