Christmas cookies without refined sugar or gluten…it can be done!
We chose to sweeten our gingerbread with honey and use an all-purpose gluten-free flour as the base. You can tell from the photos that this was a super-fun shoot for the children to take part in – it also got a little messy as any proper cookie-making session should.
Decorating gingerbread men and Christmas cookies are a tradition that our kids look forward to every year. It’s a great activity to do together to get in the holiday spirit. And if you don’t eat them all – they make very special gifts.
Please leave us a comment below or on our Facebook page if you enjoy this recipe. We’d love to hear from you!
Step 1: Measure and Mix Dry Ingredients
Measure out all the dry ingredients and add them to a mixing bowl, using a spoon or a whisk mix to combine.
Step 2: Add the Butter and Honey
Work in the butter using a paddle attachment on your mixer, or alternatively with your hands. Mix or work the butter until the flour has a sand-like appearance. Once your mixture has reached this point – add the honey. Mix well until all is incorporated into the dough.
Step 3: Chill dough
Cover your mixing bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for minimum 1 hour. You can also remove the dough from the bowl and place directly on a piece of plastic wrap – flatten out the dough to a thin disk. This will speed up the chilling time. The dough can also be made the day before.
Step 4: Roll Dough and Cut out Cookies
Remove the dough from the fridge and place on a well-floured surface. Divide dough into three pieces and leave those you’re not using in the fridge until you’re ready to use them.
Roll the dough to 1/8 inch thick. Use plenty of flour when dusting and rolling.
Using a floured cookie cutter, cut out your shapes and place on a lined baking tray (lined with a silpat or parchment paper). Be sure to leave some spaces in between the cookies as they do spread and puff a little bit.
With the extra cookie dough scraps – knead back together with your hands and roll out again and continue to cut out the cookies until no dough is left. If it gets too soft just pop it back in the fridge and continue with the steps above.
Step 5: Bake and Cool
Preheat oven to 190 degrees celsius. Place the trays of cookies in the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove trays from the oven and allow to cool completely on the baking tray.
Don’t attempt to move them until they are completely cooled or you risk them cracking or falling apart – as we did a few times.
Step 6: Make Your Icing
We chose a refined sugar-free icing to top our cookies. To make, add 1 egg white, 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla and 1/8 teaspoon of salt to a mixing bowl. Whisk on medium-high until the egg whites are stiff.
Then add 90 milliliters of honey to a saucepan and heat on the stove on medium-low – stirring occasionally until hot.
Slowly add the honey to the egg whites while whisking on a medium-low speed. Once the honey has been added switch the speed to high. Mix on high for 8-10 minutes until you reach a thick consistency. At this point you can divide your icing and add food coloring of your choice (optional).
*Thank you to Dailymom for the sugar-free cookie decorating inspiration.
Step 7: It’s Decorating Time!
Use the sugar-free icing to pipe or spread your decoration on the cookies.
To spruce up the design and add some texture we gave the kids some dried fruits, seeds, nuts, and unsweetened shredded coconut and let them get creative.
The icing won’t set right away like traditional royal icing – it takes about 24 hours to become harder and at this point much nicer to stack and store.
- 540 grams gluten-free all-purpose flour blend (Schär), plus extra for dusting
- 1 teaspoon psyllium husk
- 2 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 227 grams butter (cut into small cubes and brought to room temperature)
- ¾ cup honey
- Refined Sugar-Free Icing
- 90 milliliters honey
- 1 egg white (room temperature)
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- food coloring (optional)
- Measure out all the dry ingredients and add them to a mixing bowl, using a spoon or a whisk mix to combine.
- Work the butter into the dry ingredients until you achieve a sand-like appearance. Add honey and incorporate into dough.
- Cover your mixing bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for minimum 1 hour.
- Remove the dough from the fridge and place on a well-floured surface. Roll the dough to1/8 inch thick, using plenty of flour when dusting and rolling. Place the cookies on lined trays.
- Bake in preheated oven (190 celsius). Remove and allow to cool completely before moving.
- Whisk icing (as per instructions above) and pipe or spread icing as you wish. You can add dried fruit, coconut and seeds for natural texture and color.