Healthy Mr Gingerbread
Sweet friend, it is officially November 17th! Can you believe it? Another year. Flown by. And yes, I can now endorse the claim that they do go faster, the more you partake in. Jiminy crickets, a few more sleeps and the mad Xmas rush will be upon us. In fact, I legit just saw the first Christmas sale poster on my way to the café, to write this post to you today.
Which means, it is entirely appropriate to be sharing a Christmas recipe with you right? I have rationalised this based on (a) the fact that you may be one of those people who likes to plan their Xmas menu wayyy in advance, (b) this gives you ample time for sampling, and (c) these actually make snazzy little gifts too, which means you will be wanting to make them before the big day.
So why are these Healthy Mr Gingerbread better than any other gingerbread you’ve tried before? Well, they’re…
- A quick food processor job, done in 10 mins,
- Made from only simple pantry staples you’ll have in your kitchen right now,
- Low in sugar and gluten, vegan + dairy free, made with 100% whole foods only,
- Deliciously buttery (without the butter), packed full of Mr Claus’s favourite spices, and
- The perfect gift for friends, co-workers, lecturers, neighbours, OR just make a jar for yourself!
You ready for a little gingerbread man or lady bake session? Well, as my good friend Jacinda would say, let’s do this…
As well as using the usual suspects for these cookies (coconut oil, coconut sugar, vanilla, and ginger powder), I’ve also thrown in a few extras to make them extra spesh. Cinnamon and vanilla to round out the flavour bonanza, maple syrupto give them a homely Canadian-log-cabin type feel, grated fresh ginger (because, why do dried when you can do both?), and wait for it… a good dollop of almond butter to make them extra luxurious.
Did zomeone zay zentrofan?
I’ve also used a new flour in these, made by Chantal Organics here in NZ. They call it “Zentrofan Flour”, which is a process of air milling which gives it a soft texture, super fine grain, and extra light weight, making it perfect for softer fluffier baking and bread-making. Also, (a big also), Zentrofan milling is done whilst keeping dem grains nice and cool, which means their nutritional properties remain more intact, heat-sensitive vitamins aren’t lost, AND the flour is less likely to go rancid once it’s milled.
How is this done? The grains are spiralled inside a stone cavity, centrifugal force pushes the kernels out to the sides of the cavity, while the movement of air keeps the flour cool. If you’ve ever used a Thermomix, or Vitamix with the dry flour jug you will have seen this process in miniature. It’s very different to how a blender works, where the contents or liquids are pushed down in the jug to turn them into a puree/liquid.
Chantal Organics do three different zentrofan flours – a whole wheat flour, a seven grain flour (made from organic wholegrain wheat, rye, barley, oats, millet, rice and corn), and this four grain version (made from simply wheat, rye, barley and oats) I’ve used here. I chose the latter, to give these gingerbreads a more authentic –just-like-grandma-would-make feel and taste. The benefit of this being two-fold:
- 4 flours = 4 times the breadth of nutrient profiling (always a fist pump raised there), and
- The gluten content is naturally lowered – without doing away with that homely flavour and texture that only whole wheat can bring. And without having to make up your own fancy blend (or worse still, buying the ones from the supermarket, which TBH are less than substandard for the most part).
I also discovered after making these cookies, that the wheat in this particular flour from Chantal is GROWN IN CANTERBURY NZ! Whaaat? We grow our own wheat? Well that it very cool. The oats are from Oz too, so you can sit down to your cuppa and gingerbread Mr knowing you’re supporting local as well as your body.
Now, you’ll see I’ve also added a ½ teaspoon of guar gum to this mix. You can make these without (we did this for round one), but, you will have a much crumblier cookie on your hands, and prepare yourself for a few beheadings and limb amputations (Mila was happy to consume these). The guar gum will help you hold your Misters together, leading to much happier transit time in lunchboxes/gift boxes and the like. If you have it, I recommend it (and if not, you can order it from our online store here).
Finally – those sprinkles! Now I couldn’t very well make us healthy whole food cookies and then sprinkle them with icing sugar could I. So enter… coconut flour. Yes that flour that you bought, and you’ve thus far only deployed in my Orange and Almond Cake here. That flour that sits unloved in the bottom of your cupboard, begging for a whole-food chance to be used, but also knowing that it is way too liquid-hungry to just be willy nilly subb’d in for any old other flour. Coco flour – you have found your calling. Plop a couple of tablespoons in a sieve, and sprinkled over your cookies, scones, apple turnovers, or any other baking where you’re wanting an ‘icing sugar’ style appearance. Without the sugar, and instead with a whole lot of protein, healthy fats, and FIBRE! If coco flour doesn’t keep you regular then… well, prunes will.
Enough from me, though I have had fun here and I hope you have too. I hope you love this recipe. I hope you enjoyed the read. And as always, thanks for letting me into your inbox, your screen, your life – it is an absolute pleasure.
Ah before I forget, you KNOW I love seeing your stuff, so tag me if you make these! Over on Insta with @begoodorganics and #begoodorganics (in your main feed or stories). Or on my FB page under my latest post here. It’s the bees knees seeing you recreate the recipes I share, I guess it rounds out full circle my one-way communicado efforts here, hearing back from you in that way. So please do, and thank you for being the Clyde to my Bonny.
Til next week sweet friend, take care. And as always, stay happy and well.
PS If you like this recipe, I’d love you to pin it on Pinterest, share it on Facebook, post your recreation on Instagram (tag me @begoodorganics and #begoodorganics), or share it with your family and friends. Also, if you’re not already subscribed to my weekly recipe emails, be sure to do that here, and don’t miss my next recipe video by signing up to my YouTube here.
Please note – if you are wanting to meet any of the specific dietary requirements below, please read my recipe notes.
- 1 1/2 cups wholegrain flour
- 3 tbsp coconut sugar
- 5 tsp ginger powder
- 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp guar gum
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon coconut oil softened
- 1/2 cup almond butter
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Coconut flour
- Preheat the oven to 175°C (345°F) on fan bake.
- Blend all dry ingredients in a food processor until fine and combined.
- Mix wet ingredients in a separate bowl, whisking until well combined, then pour into your processor with the dry ingredients and mix on low or pulse until combined. Scrape down the sides with a spatula as needed to bring in all dry ingredients. Be careful not to over mix.
- Pour out dough on a board that’s floured or lined with baking paper, then flatten with a rolling pin to around 0.5cm high. Cut out your desired shapes, reusing any leftover pieces (roll and flatten again then recut).
- Bake for 10 minutes until just golden brown, then remove and let cool on tray for 10 minutes before removing (they’ll continue to cook during this time). Carefully remove to a drying rack or cool tray using a spatula, then let cool completely before eating!
- Dust with coconut flour if desired, then eat immediately or store in a well sealed container. Enjoy!
- Make it gluten free - this flour blend I’ve used (whole wheat, rye, barley, oats), is naturally lower in gluten than a standard white supermarket flour. But if you’re super gluten sensitive (coeliac, auto-immune, IBS), then use your favourite gluten free blend - you’ll be a pro at this by now I’m sure, but if not, I find a 1/3 + 1/3 + 1/3 brown rice, buckwheat, almond blend works well, and add a good few tablespoons of tapioca and cornflour too, or increase to 1 tsp guar gum (for hold).
- Make it paleo: use a paleo flour blend - the one above would work great, just take out the brown rice flour and increase the buckwheat & almond flours accordingly.
- Make it keto: use the flour blend specified above, and replace the coconut sugar and maple syrup with stevia or monk fruit powder or erythritol. For the latter, just add an extra tbsp each of coconut oil and almond butter to compensate.
- Make it nut-free: simply replace the almond butter with a nut-free equivalent - I think hulled tahini (like this one here) would work fantastically, while producing a slightly different but still delish flavour!
- Zentrofan milled flour is a little dried than other flours (6% says Mr Google), so just be conscious of this when you’re using elsewhere, you may need a little more liquid.
- These taste best on the day of eating or 1-2 days after. After that they soften slightly (but can be crisped up again in the oven if you like).
- You can use any shape cookie cutter you like for these! While I used (and loved) the classic gingerbread man cutter, you could mix it up with some hearts for a loved one, or stars for a novel biscuit. You could even try these cute as animal-shaped cookie cutters for a truly unique treat!
- To amplify the flavour of these little ginger cookies even more, you could experiment with adding a couple drops of ginger, cinnamon or clove essential oils to the wet mix! If you'd like to learn more about the incredible therapeutic benefits of plant-based essential oils, and how you can use them in your life and food, check out my introductory workshop here.