Clean Gingerbread (that doesn’t taste clean!)

Clean eating | Dairy-free | Soy-free | Nut-free


I love gingerbread cookies. My girls love decorating gingerbread cookies. The problem: since I’m the only one who likes eating them, I wind up eating all of them. 

So this year I wanted to try something a little different. My husband made me promise not to “ruin Christmas” by changing all of our time-honored traditional recipes to clean ones. But I’m the only one who usually eats the gingerbread, right? And I had to change it to dairy-free for my youngest anyway, right? So I went on the hunt.

These are great. They require little to no chilling time, so you can get them made and decorated in an afternoon. They don’t spread. They’re sweetened with maple syrup and molasses, the whole-wheat pastry flour keeps the texture the same as we’re used to, and they’re not too spicy and don’t contain cloves, so guess what? My family likes these! Turns out they just didn’t like my old, spicy gingerbread recipe. Maybe I should’ve made a double batch so I could have some to myself!


Clean Gingerbread Cookies (makes about 18, 3.5-inch-tall cookies)

Adapted from here

  • 1 egg, room temp
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup, room temp
  • 1/4 cup unsulphured molasses, room temp
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. ginger
  • 3/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. allspice
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 1/4 cups whole-wheat pastry flour, plus more for rolling out dough
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 and line a baking sheet or two with parchment.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg. Add coconut oil, syrup, molasses, vanilla, spices, soda, and salt, and whisk well.
  3. Add flour and mix until incorporated, using your hands when it gets too thick for the spoon.
  4. If desired, chill for half an hour or so.
  5. Lightly flour your work surface and rolling pin, then roll out to 1/4 inch thick. Cut with cookie cutters and place on cookie sheet.
  6. Bake 9-12 minutes depending on the size of your cookie cutters and how soft you want them. Mine are about 3 1/2 inches tall and I like them soft, so 9 minutes is plenty for me.
  7. Cool completely before decorating.

To decorate:

If you want to keep it totally clean, look at the original recipe for ideas of natural toppings to sprinkle onto maple-brushed cookies. My girls like to decorate theirs with frosting to look like real gingerbread men, so I made a dairy-free icing that we could pipe on. It’s not clean, but there’s so little on the cookies that we’re still balancing 80/20, right?

Dairy-free icing

(Not a recipe so much as “here’s how I did it this time because it worked”)

  • 1/2 cup shortening or Earth Balance buttery stick
  • if using shortening: pinch of salt
  • coconut cream from 1 can of coconut milk
  • powdered sugar, 2 cups plus, to desired consistency
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • optional: 1 tsp. meringue powder, to help it hold its shape
  1. Add ingredients to your stand mixer gradually, adding powdered sugar until desired consistency.
  2. Spoon into piping bag. Pipe onto cookies.


Filed under Holidays, Recipes

2 responses to “Clean Gingerbread (that doesn’t taste clean!)

  1. Hi Catherine. Awesome review. I’m glad you could check off all points on your family’s cookie wish list. Happy Holidays!

  2. The perfect Christmas treat. Thanks for sharing.

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