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Paleo Gingerbread Cookies

Updated: Dec 6, 2022

These adorable paleo gingerbread cookies are Gluten-free, dairy-free, festive, and fun!

For the printable recipe PDF click here.


When Advent season rolls around, I like to sweeten things up around the house just a little.


We have an advent calendar painted to look like a nativity scene with little doors that open for each day. Inside each little space I place a folded strip of paper, hand-printed with a special activity for the day.


Sometimes the activity is something simple like decorating the car, making paper chains, or watching a Christmas movie. Sometimes it's something bigger like going ice skating and riding a trolley. Sometimes it's reading scripture or making a donation to a charity. But sometimes it's something yummy like sipping hot chocolate or baking Christmas cookies.


Gingerbread is one of our Advent staples. Often we'll make a gingerbread nativity scene using cookie cutters from a vintage set my mom gave me long ago. Sometimes we just do cookies. Gingerbread men are classic, but I like to do a variety of shapes to keep it interesting!



From a flavor perspective, I like to add a little orange oil or zest, a little almond extract, and some cardamom along with the more traditional spices of ginger, cinnamon, and clove.


For these crunchy cookies, I find that a mixture of coconut oil and palm shortening give the best texture and help the dough to hold its shape during baking.


On the sweet side, I use both molasses and dark brown sugar. I use an organic dark brown sugar that is processed in a manner I feel okay with from a paleo standpoint, but if you are more comfortable with coconut sugar, feel free to give that a try!


For extra sweetness and visual interest, I like to decorate with royal icing, which is inherently dairy-free, but super high in sugar. What can I say? No one's calling royal icing a health food. I do use organic powdered sugar, but let's just agree that all sugar is best in moderation and not worry too much about where that falls on the paleo spectrum. The royal icing can be made with just powdered sugar, egg whites, and cream of tartar, but I like to jazz it up a bit with vanilla, almond, and orange.


Here's what you'll need:

For the cookies:

  • ¼ cup coconut oil

  • ¼ cup palm shortening

  • ¼ cup molasses

  • ⅓ cup dark brown sugar (I use organic)

  • 4 drops orange oil or the zest of 1 orange

  • ¼ tsp almond extract

  • 1 T powdered ginger

  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon

  • ½ tsp cardamom

  • ¼ tsp ground cloves

  • ½ tsp fine salt

  • 1 egg

  • 2 cups cassava flour

For the royal icing:

  • 3 large egg whites

  • 1/8 tsp cream of tartar

  • 3 cups powdered sugar (I use organic)

  • Pinch fine salt

  • ¼ tsp almond extract

  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract

  • 2 drops orange oil (optional)

Here's what you'll do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F., and place a rack in the middle position of the oven.

  2. Place the first 11 ingredients (coconut oil-salt) in the bowl of an electric mixer, and beat on medium speed till creamy.

  3. Add the egg and beat on medium speed till well-incorporated, scraping down sides and bottom of the bowl if needed.

  4. Add the cassava flour and mix on the lowest speed till no more dry flour is visible and the dough has come together.

  5. Turn the dough our onto a silicone mat or piece of parchment paper that will fit on your baking sheet. Pat the dough into a rectangle and roll out to about a ¼-inch thickness. I like to cover the dough with another piece of parchment paper so it won’t stick to my rolling pin, but that is up to you.

  6. Use cookie cutters to cut out your desired shapes, leaving enough space between shapes to easily remove the excess dough from them.

  7. Remove the excess dough, leaving the cutouts in place. Transfer the silicone mat or parchment with the cutouts directly to a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees F for 9 minutes.

  8. Reroll the dough scraps and repeat steps 5-7 till dough is all gone. Cool cookies completely before icing.

Make the icing:

  1. Place the egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat till very foamy. With the mixer off, add the remaining ingredients and beat on low speed to incorporate. Then increase speed to medium and beat till tick and very thoroughly incorporated.

  2. Transfer icing to a piping bag fitted with an appropriate tip, or do what I do and divide the icing among a bunch of small zip-top bags with a tiny tip snipped off so each kid can decorate their own plate of cookies. The icing will harden after about 30 minutes, but it will stay soft in a tightly sealed bag and can be made ahead and kept in the fridge--just let it warm up a few minutes before using.


For the printable recipe PDF click here.

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