Christmas Gingerbread Men Cookies (Paleo, GF, DF, RSF)

by Elora Harre

Christmas Season is here and the time of cheer is upon us! Here at Nourish & Thrive, we love to get into the holiday spirit and since we LOVE to eat even more, we decided to share our favourite recipes of how you can 'healthify' some of the classic Christmas recipes!

We've started off with one that's a classic for all ages - Gingerbread Men! This is a large recipe, so could easily be halved if you didn't want to make too many, but yields a deliciously crispy cookie around the edges that's soft and chewy in the middle.

Of course you'll need some Gingerbread Men cutters, which we just purchased cheaply from Farmers here in New Zealand. We also used our Coconut Butter in drips to create the eyes and buttons - this was deceptively hard! This would be delicious and perhaps a little easier using melted dark chocolate instead!

Remember to tag us - @nourishandthrivenz if you make this recipe, or post a photo to our Facebook wall!

You'll need:

10 tablespoons of Coconut Oil,
2 cups Nourish & Thrive Almond Meal (Our 2kg size is on special for our N&T Member for December too!)
1/2 cup Nourish & Thrive Organic Coconut Flour
1/2 cup Nourish & Thrive Tapioca Starch
1-3 heaped tsp ground Ginger (We started with one, but ended up adding more - feel free to taste as you go!)
1.5 tsp Nourish & Thrive Aluminium-Free Baking Soda
1 tsp Cream of Tartar
1 tsp Nourish & Thrive Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Ground Cloves or Mixed Spice
1/4 tsp Nourish & Thrive Organic Sea Salt
3/4 cup Nourish & Thrive Organic Coconut Sugar
1/4 cup Nourish & Thrive Maple Syrup, room temperature
2 large Eggs, room temperature (important they're at room temperature so the coconut oil doesn't seize!)
Organic Coconut Butter (optional - for decoration)

Begin by melting your coconut oil in a small jug then set aside. In a large mixing bowl, mix together almond meal, coconut flour, tapioca starch, ginger (start with 1 teaspoon and add extra later if it's not strong enough for your tastes), baking soda, cream of tartar cinnamon, cloves/mixed spice and salt. Stir together until well combined and set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, add your coconut sugar and maple syrup. Beat together using a hand mixer on a low speed. Once your coconut oil is cool, add it to the coconut sugar mix and beat again on low until combined. Be patient. It will look like it won't combine and as though the mixture has separated, but after about a minute it will come together. Add your eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.

Add your coconut sugar mix to your dry ingredients, using a rubber spatula to ensure you get all of the wet mixture into the dry. Mix together using your hand mixer on low until thoroughly combined. Now is the time to check if there is enough ginger for your taste, then add more if necessary. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then cover, ensuring your wrap is directly pressed to the surface of the cookie dough. It may seem very wet for something that will be cut with cookie cutters, but once chilled appropriately it will roll with ease.

Chill in the freezer for one hour, or until firm. Alternatively leave in the fridge for 4 hours or overnight.

Line an oven tray (two is better if you have two!) and set aside. Preheat your oven to 180c with the oven rack in the centre of the oven.

Sprinkle a work surface with a little extra tapioca flour, and rub some across your rolling pin too. Take some of the now chilled mixture, and place onto your work surface and roll out until about 1/4-1/2cm thick. Use your cookie cutter to cut out gingerbread men. Repeat until you fill up a tray.

Place cookies into the oven and cook for around 12 minutes or until the edges brown. Put cookie dough back into the fridge whilst your cookies bake.

Once baked, transfer to a wire rack to cool. Repeat the previous step until you've used all of your mixture.

Allow to cool completely before decorating. We simple melted coconut butter, and dripped it into buttons and eyes!

Store covered at room temperature for up to 3 days. Leftover cookie dough can be frozen in disks then thawed in the fridge before use.

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