Soft, chewy, sweet, spicy.
In my opinion, this is everything you want a gingerbread cookie to be. And I must say, these Soft and Chewy Gingerbread Cookies meet every criteria!
These little two-bite wonders may be small, but they pack a huge punch of flavor! From the fresh ginger and orange zest to the cinnamon and cloves to the sticky sweet molasses, these cookies will be a favorite for Christmas or ANY time of the year.
Plus, they’re actually a healthier treat to indulge for the holidays! They are completely Paleo, gluten-free, nut-free, nightshade-free, soy-free, dairy-free, and egg-free! But I promise, you would NEVER know because the taste and texture is absolutely amazing! My friends and family who have had the pleasure of sampling these Soft and Chewy Gingerbread Cookies said they are the best ginger cookies they’ve ever had. So, I guess you’ll have to try them to find out!
Something I absolutely love about Christmas time is how it brings back nostalgic memories of traditions we had with our families. Whether it was building gingerbread houses, setting up a Christmas tree, counting down days with an Advent calendar, attending Christmas concerts and plays, or decorating cookies together, most of our Christmas traditions tend to live on somehow, even as we grow up, get married, or move away.
One of my favorite family traditions was that every December, without fail, my parents, brother, and I would go “Christmas Light Hunting,” as we liked to call it. We would load our van up with all the essentials – every Christmas CD (or cassette tape!) that we could find, mugs of hot cocoa with plenty of marshmallows, and of course, an array of delicious Christmas cookies. And then, we were off on our evening road trip adventure to see dazzling light displays and vote on our favorites.
Even though our family van is long gone and I’m all grown up and married, we still make a point to carry on our “Christmas Light Hunting” tradition in one way or another. And if I can’t get the whole family together, Mark and I will still set off on our own little light-hunting trek, complete with cookies, cocoa, and catchy Christmas tunes.
While seeing the Christmas lights was always enjoyable, the highlight for me was getting to indulge in the tasty cookie assortment that my mom had made! And one of my all-time favorite cookies was her outstanding thick, chewy ginger cookies with crackly tops. She would give away most of them as gifts, but there would always be an extra little stash of ginger cookies that we could take with us on our light-hunting drives.
This year, since I’m still on my autoimmune protocol (AIP) diet, my mom’s crackle-top ginger cookies are off limits, since they are made with sugar, eggs, and grains. So obviously, I just had to create my own! I’m pleased to say my Soft and Chewy Gingerbread Cookies capture the exact flavor and texture of my mom’s classic cookies, but in a much healthier and allergy-friendly way! So, not only am I continuing our light-hunting and ginger cookie-eating tradition, but I’m passing them along to you, too! 🙂
To make these addictive Soft and Chewy Gingerbread Cookies, you’ll only need a couple “special” ingredients – organic palm shortening, grass-fed gelatin, arrowroot starch, and coconut flour. I used the Spectrum brand Organic Palm Shortening, which is made with palm oil, an AIP-friendly cooking fat. If you’re not on a special diet, you could probably substitute something like Crisco or butter instead. I haven’t yet tried these with coconut oil, so if anyone does, let me know how they bake!
If you can handle eggs, you could try substituting a real egg for the gelatin. However, you might just need to adjust the flour amounts slightly, so keep that in mind.
I found that the combination of coconut flour and arrowroot starch worked well to create the same texture of my mom’s original ginger cookies. So, for the cookie dough, all you need to do is cream the palm shortening together with the honey, molasses, and coconut sugar. Then, add in the ginger, spices, orange zest and juice, baking soda, and cream of tartar.
Prepare the gelatin egg by sprinkling a tablespoon of grass-fed gelatin over a saucepan filled with 4 tablespoons of water. Let it set for a minute or two, then heat the mixture over medium/low heat, while whisking vigorously. Keep whisking until the gelatin turns very foamy.
Add the foamy gelatin “egg” to your cookie dough and mix until it’s combined. The dough will be VERY wet at this point, but you’ll add in the flour next. I used a combination of coconut flour and arrowroot starch to give it a dense, chewy texture. Mix the flour in until you have a slightly sticky, but workable cookie dough.
Roll the cookie dough into balls, about golf-ball sized, and coat each one with coconut sugar. (This gives them a lovely finish.)
Then, bake your cookies for 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees on a prepared baking sheet until the tops crack. Your kitchen will smell amazing! Who needs a Christmas scented candle when you can just bake these Soft and Chewy Gingerbread Cookies ?!
Keep in mind that these cookies are super thick and don’t spread out much. So, if you want a flatter cookie, just lightly press the tops down with a fork or a spatula, which is what I did.
Allow your cookies to cool off on a wire rack, if you can stand waiting!
Meanwhile, pour yourself a large glass of milk, almond milk, or coconut milk and get out your favorite Christmas cookie plate! (I just made my own cookie plate this year at a paint-your-own-pottery business called Fired Up. This would be a great family Christmas tradition to start! There are plenty of pottery-painting locations across the country!)
Okay, I can’t stand it any longer! Let’s bite into these Soft and Chewy Gingerbread Cookies! 🙂
The orange zest in the cookies really enhances the ginger, which I love! And they are just a hint spicy, thanks to the ginger and cloves. The crackly, coconut sugar tops give them a rustic, homemade touch. These cookies are melt-in-your-mouth delicious and make a wonderful and healthy alternative to traditional gingerbread or gingersnaps!
So, this month, as you bake cookies for cookie exchanges, parties, or Christmas light-hunting adventures, make sure my Soft and Chewy Gingerbread Cookies are on the menu! Who knows? Santa might even leave you an extra gift if you save a couple of these tasty treats just for him! 😉
- ½ cup organic palm shortening
- ¼ cup raw honey
- 4 tablespoons molasses
- 3 tablespoons coconut sugar, divided
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- ½ teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- ½ teaspoon orange zest
- ½ teaspoon orange juice
- ¼ teaspoon cloves
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 gelatin egg (1 tablespoon grassfed gelatin, plus 4 tablespoons water)
- ⅔ cup + 2 tablespoons coconut flour
- ⅔ cup + 2 tablespoons arrowroot starch
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat mat.
- In a stand mixer, cream together palm shortening, honey, molasses, and 2 tablespoons coconut sugar until smooth.
- Add in spices, baking soda, cream of tartar, ginger, orange zest, and orange juice and mix until incorporated.
- For the gelatin egg, sprinkle 1 tablespoon of grassfed gelatin over 4 tablespoons of water in a small saucepan. Let sit for a minute. Then, turn on low heat and whisk the gelatin and water together until it gets very foamy. Once it's foamed, add this to the cookie mixture and mix until combined.
- Mix in coconut flour and arrowroot starch until you have a thick dough that is able to be rolled in to balls without sticking to your hands too much.
- Roll cookies into golf-ball sized balls (I got 16) and then roll each into the remaining 1 tablespoon of coconut sugar.
- Place on cookie shee and bake for 10-12 minutes, until tops are crackly. Flatten each cookie slightly with a fork or a spatula if you prefer.
- Let cool before transferring to a wire rack. Enjoy!
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