A perfect fun recipe to get the kids involved and get through cold afternoons inside! The kids will not just love eating them, but the whole process of making the dough, cutting the shapes, and decorating them too. These are delicious and crumbly, naturally-sweetened gingerbread cookies made with whole grain flour and the easiest royal icing that anyone can make.
Gingerbread cookies are the ultimate Christmas treats that toddlers and kids love.
This year I decided to tackle the task and make the perfect gingerbread cookies with my toddler.
But being a nutritionist and mom meant I of course changed the classic gingerbread cookie recipe for a healthier version so it matches all out other healthy cookie recipes.
So naturally-sweetened gingerbread cookies were the way to go. My toddler can eat plenty of these without any sugar rush, which means no sugar rush, and crucially no big crash afterward!
Check out the picture below for a shot of all the ingredients you need to make these cookies. And a few tips below.
- Flour - to make the recipe a little more nutritious for you, I used wholegrain flour instead of plain white. You can also try with spelt flour (regular or wholegrain) or go with the regular plain white flour.
- Birch sugar (xylitol) - birch sugar, also know as xylitol, is my favorite natural sweetener that comes in a dry form. Despite the name, it's not actually sugar, and you should be able to find it in almost any health store. Since it's not sugar, it won't cause the energy spikes and crashes you get with regular sugar. Alternatively you can use coconut sugar as well.
- Coconut oil - make sure it's fully melted before you add it to this recipe so that it blends in better.
- Spices - the traditional recipe requires a lot of dried spices to get the perfect spicy gingerbread aroma. Sometimes these can be hard to find so using a gingerbread or Christmas spice blend can be a great alternative. Just make sure it has dried ginger, cloves and cinnamon. I personally like to add a little pepper for a spicy aftertaste.
How to Make
Follow these step-by-step photos and instructions to make the dough, bake the cookies and perfectly decorate them with easy-to-make royal icing.
1. Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl (photo 1).
2. In a separate bowl, mix the eggs and liquid coconut oil (photo 2).
3. Add the dry ingredients to the eggs and coconut oil and mix (photo 3). You can use your hands or use the dough hook on a mixer (mix until all the dough sticks to the hook).
4. The dough can be a bit crumbly but should hold together and not be sticky (photo 4). To firm up the dough, you can also cover it and refrigerate for an hour if you have time.
5. When you are ready to make your gingerbread cookies, remove the dough from the fridge, preheat the oven to 350ºF / 180ºC, and line a baking tray with parchment paper (photo 5).
6. Lightly flour your worktop and roll out the dough with a rolling pin until it is about ¼ inch or ½ cm thick (photo 6).
7. Take your cookie cutters and cut out your cookie shapes (photo 7) leaving as little space as possible between them. Then when you run out of space, collect the dough, roll it out again and repeat the process until you've used it all up.
8. Transfer the cookies to the parchment paper on the baking tray leaving a little space between each one (photo 8).
9. Bake for about 10 minutes. Once they have started to brown around the edges, they are done and you should remove them from the oven and let them cool down (photo below).
1. Whisk the egg white for a couple minutes until frothy and white. Add a little lemon juice and then (sifted) icing sugar bit by bit while whisking (photo 1).
2. Continue to mix until you have a completely smooth consistency (photo 2).
Decorate Your Gingerbread Cookies!
Divide the icing into separate bowls if you want to add a little food coloring, or leave white if you prefer.
You could use a chopstick as we did (photo below) or you could transfer the icing to a decorating bag and decorate your cookies.
You can also use some mini marshmallows, edible eyes, chocolate chips, or whatever else you can find to make the process even more fun for kids!
To prevent the dough from sticking to the kitchen counter, don't forget to lightly (lightly!) flour the surface before you roll out the dough. Alternatively, you can also roll the dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper.
Don't overbake your cookies! Remove them from the oven when they start browning at the edges – they might seem a little too soft still but don't be tempted to throw them back in. They will firm up as they cool down!
Make your own icing sugar – icing sugar is just powdered sugar. So if you don't have any, just put some table sugar in a blender! Just make sure it's completely dry first. You can also blend up some birch sugar and use that for the icing as well.
Yes, but if you do so, you might want to add a little more fat. Freezing affects the texture of the dough and by adding a bit more coconut oil or butter we can almost make it the same texture as it was prior to freezing. For this amount add an extra ¼ cup of fat.
These cookies can last quite a while in an airtight container at room temperature (at least 2 weeks), but yes they can be frozen, and even eaten pretty much straight out of the freezer.
Not at all! If you don't have one, take a freezer bag, put the icing into one corner, and cut a small hole in that same corner. Or just draw the icing onto the cookies with a chopstick.
Better not to – it will affect the texture of the dough, making it much harder to roll out and cut nice cookie shapes.
If you're not bothered about making naturally-sweetened gingerbread cookies that offer a slightly better nutritional profile than the norm, then you can always simply use plain all-purpose flour, table sugar, and butter instead of whole grain flour, birch sugar, or coconut oil.
You can also choose another dry sweetener such as coconut sugar or muscovado sugar.
Naturally Sweetened Gingerbread Cookies
- 3 cups wholegrain flour
- ½ cup birch sugar (xylitol)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp ginger powdered
- ¼ tsp cinnamon powdered
- ¼ tsp cloves
- ¼ tsp cardamom
- ¼ tsp anise dried
- ¼ tsp pepper
- ¼ tsp cilantro (coriander) dried
- ⅔ cup coconut oil melted
- 2 eggs
- 1 egg white
- 300 g icing sugar
- few drops lemon juice
- Mix the dry ingredients in one bowl and wet ingredients in another.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet and either mix with your hands or use the dough hook of your mixer until it sticks to the hook.
- Refrigerate the dough for an hour to firm up.
- Remove the dough from the fridge and preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.
- Lightly flour your surface and roll out the dough. To avoid adding extra flour to the dough you can also simply roll it between to sheets of parchment paper. Roll until about ¼ inch / ½ cm thick before cutting out your cookie shapes.
- Line a baking tray with parchment paper and transfer the cookies to the baking try leaving about 1 cm / ½ inch space between them.
- Put in the oven and bake for 8-12 minutes, depending on the strength of your oven. Once you see that they're starting to brown around the edges, remove them from the oven and let them cool.
- Wisk the egg white for a couple minutes before adding a few drops of lemon juice. Then add (sifted) icing sugar bit by bit while continuing to mix until you have a completely smooth consistency.
Decorate Your Cookies
- Divide the icing into separate bowls and add a little food coloring if desired. Then use a decorating bag to decorate the cookies, or draw the icing on with a chopstick.
- Add mini marshmallows, edible eyes, chocolate chips or whatever else you enjoy!