Gluten-free Gingerbread Molasses Cookies

It’s December - the month that hosts Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Year’s Eve and also, apparently, National Cookie Day. Who knew? I suppose it makes sense considering that the amount of cookies that get made in December is probably quite a bit higher than any other month. 

This month I also started a partnership with Wild Harvest, a fabulous brand that makes a wide selection of quality, free-from, organic and gluten-free products at prices that are super reasonable. Nearly 70% of Wild Harvest products are certified USDA organic and free from more than 140 undesirable ingredients. In other words they are a company I can totally get behind and I am super happy to be working with them. In Seattle their products are widely available at Met Market as well as various markets like New Seasons, Thriftway and others. They have a store locator on the website, www.mywildharvest.com, so you can find a place that is close and convenient to you.

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For National Cookie Day I wanted to come up with a cookie that was not only gluten-free and refined sugar free but that was also grain-free and nut-free. Many of my clients who have autoimmune conditions, like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, find that they feel better when they avoid not only gluten but grains and some tree nuts as well. Fortunately there are lots of ways to create yummy treats using ingredients like coconut flour, coconut sugar, maple syrup, tahini and more - and Wild Harvest totally had me covered. I decided to go with ginger cookies because it’s one of my all-time favorite flavors and its warmth fits right in with the holiday season. 

To be completely honest, I’m typically not a huge baker. I love cooking, but my favorite way to cook is largely by improvisation and baking is more of a science. That combined with the fact that historically when I baked something, I would eat it - and keep eating it until it disappeared. Nowadays I try to keep sweet treats to a minimum, but I do like to bake occasionally and when I do, I like to keep it gluten-free and free from refined sugar because that’s what makes my body feel best. Coconut flour and coconut sugar are great alternatives for people who have food sensitivities or who are on elimination or anti-inflammatory diets.

Coconut flour is uniquely good for you in that it is really high in fiber and protein, plus it’s also a good source of something called lauric acid, which is a healthy fat the can help support the immune system and the thyroid. Baking with coconut flour is very different that baking with any other kind of flour. It is highly absorbent which means that you don’t need very much of it and it’s important to make sure you have enough of other ingredients to balance that out. It’s also dense and can get clumpy so it’s really helpful to sift it before mixing in other ingredients.

Coconut sugar, also known as coconut palm sugar, is a nice alternative to cane sugar. It’s basically the sap of the coconut palm and unlike regular table sugar it retains its nutrients (which include iron, zinc, potassium and calcium as well as phytonutrients like polyphenols, flavonoids and anthocyanidins), contains inulin which is a fiber that can slow glucose absorption, and it’s lower on the glycemic index than white sugar. The glycemic index measures how quickly foods can raise blood sugar levels, which is especially important for people with diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

And while I’m all about choosing healthier options, I’m also all about food that tastes good and these cookies fit the bill. They are chewy, gingery, full of flavor and easy to make. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

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Gingerbread Molasses Cookies with Coconut Flour

Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 10 minutes

Makes about 18 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup Wild Harvest® Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, melted 

  • 2 eggs, beaten (room temperature is best)

  • 3 tablespoons Wild Harvest® Coconut Sugar (plus extra for sprinkling on top)

  • 1/3 cup Wild Harvest® Tahini 

  • 1/4 cup blackstrap molasses 

  • 1 tsp Wild Harvest® Vanilla Extract

  • 1/2 cup Wild Harvest® Coconut Flour, sifted (see note below)

  • 2 tsp ground ginger

  • 1 tsp cinnamon

  • 1 tsp baking soda

  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves

  • 1/8 tsp sea salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. In a medium sized mixing bowl, add the first 6 ingredients and mix together until smooth.

  3. In a separate bowl combine the next 6 ingredients and mix well.

  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix gently with a spatula or wooden spoon until just combined. The dough will be quite sticky and not super thick which is just fine.

  5. Use a heaping teaspoon to drop the cookie dough onto the lined baking sheet. These cookies don’t usually spread too much so you can use the back of the spoon to flatten them slightly if you like. 

  6. Sprinkle the top with extra coconut sugar.

  7. Bake for 10 minutes, let cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes and then using a spatula, transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

  8. Store them in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-4 days.

Recipe notes:

  • I sifted the coconut flour using a fine meshed sieve. It took about 2 minutes and I was left with about 2 tablespoons of tiny coconut flakes in the sieve which I discarded. This is fine! It makes the cookie lighter which is nice.

  • If you are not a fan of tahini you could try substituting some other nut or seed butter.

  • The term “slow as molasses” is quite apt. If possible, take your molasses out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature to make it a little easier. Also it can help to first add the melted coconut oil and then measure the molasses into the same cup. It will help it slide right out.

  • These cookies will not get super crispy. They will be soft from the get-go and will stay soft when stored in the airtight container.