‘Tis the season for all things gingerbread! These healthy gingerbread cookies taste just like the traditional holiday cookie recipes, but without the refined sugar or guilt! This recipe is both vegan and gluten free and incredibly easy to make.
Christmas is coming ladies!!! (and a few gents). I absolutely love this time of year. I feel like most people dread the dark days and snowstorms, but there’s something so cozy and comforting about it.
Plus, we’re blessed with all sorts of gingerbread flavored things. Gingerbread smoothies, these healthy gingerbread cookies, gingerbread pancakes, and more.
These cookies took quite a bit of trial and error to get right, but oh my goodness I swear I have finally nailed the most perfect gingerbread cookie ever.
They meet all of my criteria for a gingerbread cookie. Soft on the inside with a *slight* crisp when you first bite in, a deep golden color from molasses, perfectly gingery, just sweet enough, and perfect for decorating.
How to make vegan gingerbread cutout cookies
Use an electric mixer to beat together all of the wet ingredients. I prefer handheld electric mixers, but a stand mixer will work just the same.
Beat in all of the dry ingredients. BE SURE to measure the flour properly. This is SO important!! You don’t want to scoop the flour right out of the bag. But rather pour it into the measuring cup and then level off the top. You don’t want to pack it in there, it should just naturally fall into the measuring cup and then level off the top so it’s smooth.
Be sure not to over process, beat just until all the ingredients are combined. The dough will seem super gummy at this point, but I promise the cookies are not gummy at all! This is just the nature of this flour.
Cover the dough and let set in the fridge for 30 minutes. If you’re in a rush, 10 minutes in the fridge will be fine, it just makes the dough much easier to roll out because it won’t be quite as sticky.
Use a rolling pin and roll into about 1/4 – 1/2 inch thick. You can make them any thickness depending on what you want the final texture to be like. Thinner will yield a crispy cookie, thick will yield a chewy cookie.
Be sure to flour both your surface AND your rolling pin so the dough doesn’t stick to either. Don’t be afraid to add a lot of flour to the surface, this will make it much easier to transfer the cookies to the baking sheet.
Use cookie cutters (see notes for tips) and carefully place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. These cookies won’t spread a lot while baking, but they will enlarge a bit, so be sure to save some space between each cookie.
Bake for 8-10 minutes. The cookies will continue to harden as they sit, so if you want the final cookie to be soft, I suggest baking for no more than 9 minutes, but it will depend on your oven.
How do you know when they’re done?
Usually, you can tell a cookie is done because the edges are golden brown. But with darker cookies that contain molasses like these healthy gingerbread cookies, sometimes it can be hard to tell.
You’ll know they’re done when the cookies are one even color and the center doesn’t appear raw. They will continue to harden as they cool, so avoid touching them for about 20 minutes after they come out of the oven so they don’t fall apart.
These cookies over bake really easily, so if you want a chewy cookie it’s best to take them out on the early side. Every oven is different, but 9 minutes in my oven is perfect. The cookies are really soft when they first come out, but harden just slightly end up being soft and chewy but hold up really well and have a tiny crunch at first bite.
10 minutes is too much because the center ends up getting crispy (which I don’t like), so 8 1/2 – 9 minutes is the perfect amount.
This is especially important if you’re using a cookie shape with any pointy edges like a snowflake or Christmas tree.
Tips & tricks
- When using the cookie cutters, I suggest lightly oiling the cookie cutter and then dusting it with some flour. This will ensure the cookie dough doesn’t stick to the cutter and the cookie retains it’s shape really well. I like to cut the cookie, leave the cookie cutter on, and get a spatula to transfer the cookie to a baking sheet and then remove the cookie cutter.
- If you don’t have or want to use cookie cutters, you can just make these cookies into regular circle cookies! Because of the nature of gingerbread cutout cookies, they won’t flatten out a lot while they bake. Form the dough into an even ball and then flatten out with your fingers before baking so they have a nice cookie shape. Bake for the usual 8-10 minutes.
- Once prepared, these healthy gingerbread cookies will store in an air tight container for about 1 week. I like to pop them in the microwave for 5-10 seconds to warm them up before eating.
- This recipe makes about 16-20 cookies, but it depends on the size of your cookie cutters. With a normal sized cookie cutter, you’ll get about 20, but with larger ones you’ll get about 16.
- My dad insists these cookies are best with 3 tsp of ground ginger, but I found that amount to be a bit overwhelming. 2 1/2 tsp was the best in my opinion, but I left a range so you can decide for yourself! If you’re a ginger lover like my dad, go with 3, if you’re a ginger liker like me, go with 2 1/2.
- These cookies should not spread out too much while they bake (though they will very slightly), but if they do it likely means the oven was too hot, you added too much oil, or the dough was not chilled. Be sure to measure all of the ingredients precisely and chill the dough for just 10 minutes to ensure these cookies retain their shape.
- Not all molasses are created equal. Different brands/types will yield different colors/flavors. I personally think this one by Wholesome Sweets is the best! Blackstrap molasses has a stronger flavor and darker color than regular molasses, and organic molasses really takes the flavor to the next level.
Try these recipes next!
- Chewy Chocolate Chunk Cookies
- Soft Baked Pumpkin Cookies
- Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Chocolate Peppermint Cookies
Gingerbread Cookies (Vegan & Gluten Free)
- 1/4 cup liquid from can of chickpeas OR 2 egg whites
- 3 cups sifted powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Beat together all of the wet ingredients with an electric mixer.
- Beat in all of the dry ingredients. (see notes)
- Be sure not to over process, beat just until all the ingredients are combined. The dough will seem super gummy at this point, but I promise the cookies are not gummy at all! This is just the nature of this flour.
- Cover the dough and let set in the fridge for 30 minutes. If you’re in a rush, 10 minutes in the fridge will be fine, it just makes the dough much easier to roll out.
- Use a rolling pin and roll into about 1/4 – 1/2 inch thick. You can make them any thickness depending on what you want the final texture to be like. Thinner will yield a crispy cookie, thick will yield a chewy cookie.
- Use cookie cutters (see notes for tips) and carefully place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper leaving some space between each cookie.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes. The cookies will continue to harden as they sit, so if you want the final cookie to be soft, I suggest baking for no more than 9 minutes, but it will depend on your oven. You’ll know they’re done when the cookies are one even color and the center doesn’t appear raw.
- To make the icing, beat either 1/4 of the liquid from a can of chickpeas (aquafaba) OR 2 egg whites until foamy. Beat in the sifted powdered sugar until completely smooth and creamy. You want the icing to be thick enough that it doesn’t run off the cookies, but not so thick that you can’t pipe it properly.