These babies may contain no ingredients that qualify them as “cookies”, but they are so delicious anyway. They are more like decorated protein bars, with quality ingredients that taste nostalgic with none of the sugar hangover symptoms to accompany them. You can be sure to enjoy the final product, but need to remember that, like all ‘alternative’ recipes, the method required reading all the directions!
Prep Time: 60 minutes
Bake Time: 7-9 minutes
Makes: 8-10 cookies
¼ cup honey/maple syrup
2 Tbsp blackstrap molasses
1 ½ Tbsp ginger
1/2 Tbsp cinnamon
1/3 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
3 Tbsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 3/4 cups almond flour
½ cup coconut oil, melted
2.5 Tbsp coconut cream (put can of coconut milk in the fridge overnight, then scoop off the top)
2 tsp coconut flour
4 tsp raw honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 pinch sea salt
Small food processor/blender, rolling pin, 3 large silicone sheets/parchment paper, 2 cookie trays, piping bag
This dough is not going to be the nightmare of some alternative pastry or cookie doughs- but it does take a little TLC. The dough will come out like dark golden play dough- very malleable and a bit sticky. As it has no traditional binders, it depends on the fiber of the dates, the stickiness of the liquid sweeteners, and the oil in the almond flour to bring it all together- so substitutions and modifications aren’t advised.
First, soak pitted dates covered in warm water until soft (30 minutes). Next, place the dates in a small food processor or blender and blend until smooth, adding a few teaspoons of the soaking water to make a smooth paste. You will only need two Tablespoons of date paste, but it is difficult to blend such a small quantity! You can use the extra for something else, make larger batches, or freeze it until the next recipe which calls for it.
Next, pour molasses, spices, and 2 Tablespoons of date paste to a small saucepan and heat over medium heat until the edges begin to bubble slightly. Remove from the heat and stir in oil and honey until combined.
Combine your dry ingredients -baking soda, salt, and almond flour- together in a medium bowl, removing all small lumps. Then, pour dry mixture into the wet, stirring well until it forms a ball. Place two cool baking sheets on the counter and cover with parchment or silicone sheets. Use your clean hands to roll the dough into two smaller balls and put them in the center of each sheet. Using another piece of parchment or additional silicone sheet on top of the dough, one at a time roll out the dough with a rolling pin to ¼ inch thickness, spreading to the edges of the pans as much as possible. Chill the dough in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Remove the cookies from the fridge. Lift the sheets from the trays, placing them on the counter, and put your baking trays in the oven to heat up. Preheat the oven to 350ºF with the trays inside.
Cut out as many gingerbread people as possible; collecting the extra dough. Re-roll the dough as before, and cut out more shapes until all dough has been used up. If you have tiny pieces left and don’t want to waste them, use smaller cookie cutters to make toddler size treats or cut as decorations for your people. I made stars.
As mentioned, these guys can be a bit sticky and pretty malleable. My tricks for success were as follows:
I cut the people head to toe, as that minimized the amount of space between them, meaning that I would not need to move them from the sheet they were on. Then I wiped the edges of the mould very few cuts to avoid it getting sticky, to create a cleaner edge on the cookie.
I also peeled the extra dough away from the people shapes, rather than lifting the cookies off of the sheet.
Bake on lined cookie sheet at 350 for 7-9 minutes. Cookies are done when they feel firm to the touch and a light touch leaves no imprint. Allow to cool on tray for 15-20 minutes so they can further firm up a bit, then remove to a cooling rack. Do not ice while warm or the icing will melt!
While the cookies are cooling, it is time to make icing! Make sure that the coconut flour you are using is very fine and lump free. Melt the coconut oil until it is quite soft- the same if you are using coconut manna (butter). Cream together the coconut flour and coconut oil with a fork until well combined.
Mix in the coconut cream, honey, vanilla and pinch of salt until well combined. Whip the icing for several minutes with a fork to fluff it up. If you have a high powered blender, you can also mix all ingredients well in in that for a few minutes for the same result. This icing is also quite different than traditional icing made with powdered sugar, milk and butter, so do not expect it to look and behave exactly the same way. Place piping bag over a short glass, and scoop icing in. Alternatively, cut the corner of a tough freezer bag and do the same. Be gentle. This icing has larger grains than traditional, so careful not to bust the bag!
Decorate your cookies, however you would like. If a line starts to go astray, just peel it up with a butter knife and start over. This icing also makes good glue for decorations- and some prefer to use fruit gummies for pops of colour or to let their younger kids contribute.
To store the cookies, place them in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to serve. Enjoy!