Don’t worry guys, I promise this post won’t resemble a short story. Plus, I brought back pictures. You’re welcome.
I always struggle with my heart versus my head during the holidays. And before we go any further, I am aware Christmas was almost a month ago, but I promise it will all come together in the end. OK, back to it. On one hand, literally all I want to do is be in the kitchen, music from A Charlie Brown Christmas blaring, baking cookies. And I mean real cookies, not just oil-free, sugar-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, banana-oat-protein cookies. No shade, but there is a time and a place for those, and the final two weeks of December are not it. On the other hand, between work, friends, and family, Matt and I acquire so many sweets just being that it seems almost immoral to make my own. Like once we make it to, oh, I’d say December 15, I’m no longer saying it just to be polite—we really don’t need them.
In an effort to find a middle ground, I allow myself one cookie-focused baking session with a recipe that (1) uses healthish ingredients and (2) yields a reasonable number of cookies. Because that’s another thing…can someone please explain to me why the F the average serving size from a cookie recipe is, like, 50?! How about I just double or triple the recipe myself if I need to feed a small village? And yes, I realize using that logic I could just halve the recipe, but between you and me, division has never really been my thing…I’ll take a times table any day of the week thanks.
Anyway, in my Goldilocks-adjacent quest for the perfect recipe, I came across these Jumbo Chewy Gingerbread Cookies from Michele of Paleo Running Momma. I did a quick ingredient skim per usual and was more than pleasantly surprised. We’ve got oil…but coconut oil. We’ve got sugar…but coconut sugar. We’ve got flour…but coconut flour. We’ve got fat…but healthy fat from unsalted almond butter. You see where I’m going with this.
Plus, according to the lovely Michele, the recipe yields 12 big cookies. Twelve! Completely reasonable! Full disclosure: I ended up only getting about 9 out of my batter, but the point remains you won’t still be eating these come April. Which is why, despite the heavy Christmas content, this is actually the perfect dessert recipe to bust out in the new year. The ingredients are much better for you but the end result still feels indulgent…perfect for when you’re trying to make this whole healthy thing a lifestyle, not just a passing fad. You can have your cookies and eat them too. It’s an actual Christm—I mean, 2020 miracle.
Jumbo Chewy Gingerbread Cookies
Notes: I made some slight adjustments to Michele’s original recipe by increasing the spices and adding a little depth of flavor and moisture by way of the maple syrup; however, all credit goes to her. Oh, and I also did my best to highlight where the tips I talked about last week come into play. I hope you find it helpful!
- 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk (see step 2)
- 2/3 cup unsalted almond butter, stirred well
- 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
- 1/4 cup blackstrap molasses (be sure to use blackstrap—there is a difference)
- 1/4 cup coconut sugar (plus extra for sprinkling on top)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1.5 tbsps maple syrup
- 2/3 cup coconut flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1.5 tsp ginger
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- pinch of salt
Step 1: Set out two eggs for about 30 minutes prior to baking. Remember: We want to let our refrigerated ingredients come to room temperature before mixing them with the melted coconut oil.
Step 2: In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, egg yolk, almond butter, and coconut oil until smooth. To get just an egg yolk: crack one of the eggs, catching the “insides” in your hands over a separate bowl. Let the egg whites seep through your fingers gently so you’re left with just the yolk. You may have to transfer the yolk back and forth between your hands a few times before all the whites have been separated.
Step 4: In another bowl, combine the coconut flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. Add this dry mixture to the wet ingredients and mix until well combined. Remember: Coconut flour is very absorbent so the dough will feel very sticky.
Step 5: Cover the dough with some plastic wrap and place in the freezer for about 10 minutes. While the dough is chilling, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare your baking sheet (either line it with parchment paper or douse it in coconut oil cooking spray).
Step 6: After about 10 minutes, remove dough from the freezer. Using a spoon, scoop out the dough and roll into balls the size of a heaping tablespoon. Once placed on your baking sheet, gently flatten, and sprinkle with extra coconut sugar. Remember: Coconut sugar can be used 1:1 for brown sugar, so use as much or as little as you want with this in mind!
Step 7: Bake for about 10 minutes or so—you just want to see the tops crack. You don’t want to overbake these, as they will firm up as they cool. Once done, transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.