Gingerbread cookies have become a Christmas tradition of ours over the past few years, and while I have a great classic gingerbread recipe using butter, sugar, golden syrup, treacle and wheat flour, I wanted to create a healthier type of Christmas spice cookie with a lot less sugar, and no dairy or wheat.
This Christmas cookie recipe actually started out as chocolate chip cookies (which I will share soon) and slowly had spices added, sugar reduced and chocolate taken out, until they eventually became spice cookies and I realised they would make the perfect Christmas Spice Cookie.
Even though I have called these Christmas cookies, they can be eaten any time of the year and cut in any shape you like. If you don’t have cutters or a rolling pin, instead of patting the dough out flat as specified in the method, roll them into logs, chill and then cut off rounds with a knife.
These cookies are so light and more-ish we managed to almost polish off the whole first batch in an evening. Several batches later, they only got more delicious and we may have eaten our weight in christmas cookies over the past couple of weeks! Luckily, they’re a lot healthier than your standard gingerbread cookie as they’re made with a much lower amount of unrefined sugar and contain ground almonds which add a protein element.
As it’s now the week before Christmas, I wanted to decorate these cookies as I would the traditional ones, so rather than using the standard royal icing which is a mix of icing sugar and egg white, I created a slightly heathier icing from whipped cashew butter, coconut oil and maple syrup. The cashew icing pipes almost the same as royal icing, and while it takes longer to set and doesn’t go rock hard, it’s a great option or people wanting to avoid refined sugars or raw egg.
I hope you give these cookies recipe a try over the holidays and if you post any pictures to social media such as Instagram or Facebook be sure to tag #swoonfood @swoon.food so I can come and admire them! Enjoy x
Any questions or comments about this recipe? Leave a note in the comments section below, I love to hear from you!
Christmas Spice Cookies
Makes: Approximately 20 cookies
Prep time: 10 minutes Chill time: 30 minutes Cook time: 10-15 minutes
100 g ground almonds
100g rice flour
150g coconut sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch Himalayan pink salt
100g coconut oil, gently melted
1 egg, lightly whisked with a fork
Whipped Cashew Cream Icing
60g coconut oil, gently melted
30g pure maple syrup
30g cashew butter
freeze dried raspberries, crushed
freeze dried black currants, crushed
To make the cookies: melt the coconut oil by placing it in a bowl set over a pan of steaming water. Combine the ground almonds, rice flour, coconut sugar, spices, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Add the melted coconut oil, stirring with a butter knife until evenly combined – the mixture should look like wet crumbs. Add the egg and mix until the mixture starts to come together.
Lay some cling film out on the bench, pile the cookie mixture into the middle and top with another piece of cling film. Pat the cookie dough down into a flat round shape, and use a rolling pin to roll it out to about 5mm thickness. Seal the sides and place on a flat surface in the fridge to chill for approximately 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 170ºC fan bake and line two baking trays with baking paper or silicone baking mats.
Remove the chilled dough from the fridge and place on your bench top. Loosen the cling film from the dough by peeling it off and then lightly replacing it. Do this to both sides as this will stop the cookies from sticking to the cling film and make them easier to pick up. Peel the cling film off the top side entirely, cut out shapes using cookie cutters and place on the prepared trays.
When the tray is full place the cookies back in the fridge to chill for a further 10 minutes as this will help the cookies hold their shape when baking. Gather any cookie dough leftovers back together and re-roll the dough between two sheets of cling-film. If you work fast you don’t need to chill the dough again before cutting out the shapes. But if you find it sticking too much, return it to the fridge to chill for 10 minutes.
Once the cookies have chilled place them the centre of the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes. Cooking times will vary depending on your oven and whether you like your cookies chewy (less time) or crispy (longer). The cookies are cooked when they have risen slightly, turned a golden brown and if you lightly press the tops lightly they should bounce back.
Remove from the oven and leave the cookies to cool on the trays, then transfer to a wire rack to decorate.
To make the whipped cashew cream: place the coconut oil in a heat proof bowl set over a pan of steaming water with the heat turned off. When the coconut oil has just melted remove it from the heat. Add the maple syrup and cashew butter and whisk to combine. The mixture will be liquid at the point and needs to cool down so that it can be whipped into a cream. Either place the bowl in the fridge for 15 minutes or freezer for 5 minutes until you can see it start to set around the edges. Use a whisk to whip it into a light caramel coloured cream. If it sets too hard before you can whisk it simply set it back on top of the pan of hot water for a few minutes and try whisking it again.
Spoon the whipped cashew cream into a piping bag and pipe decorations on the cookies. Place the crushed freeze dried berries on small plates and carefully dip the iced cookies into the powder.. The whipped cashew cream will take a couple of hours to set fully but can be stored in a single layer in an air-tight container in the meantime. These cookies will last up to 2 weeks iced or 1 month un-iced, whren stored in an air-tight container at room temperature.