nourishing traditions + sustainable habits

gingerbread cookies {dairy & refined sugar free}

Just because it’s the holiday season doesn’t mean you either need to stuff your face with tons of sugary treats or that you have to deprive yourself of all the good treats either.

With the Christmas season comes many cherished traditions in my family that also includes unhealthy food–cookie decorating, drinking peppermint hot cocoa, eating fudge and English toffee, making orange cranberry bread and peanut brittle for family and friends and the smell of fresh gingerbread baking in the oven.

So what do you do if you are trying to live a healthier lifestyle? You could indulge this month, but I guarantee you won’t feel so good after and who wants to spend Christmas dealing with head and stomach aches. If you adjust the recipe just a bit you can enjoy the same food traditions but not have the same ill effects of eating too much sugar.

Since my youngest can’t eat dairy, I set out to find a butter less and refined sugar free gingerbread recipe. It’s much harder than you’d think. The closest I came was a dairy free recipe that needed a slight adjustment to make it free from refined sugar as well. I found the original recipe at I Love Vegan.

I substituted the white sugar for coconut sugar and adjusted the spices a bit, but other than that it’s pretty close to the original recipe. They turned out perfect, a little bit of crunch and lots of chewiness.

Gingerbread Cookies {dairy & refined sugar free}

Make about 12-24 cookies


1 1/3 cups whole wheat flour

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 tablespoon cinnamon

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup coconut sugar

1/4 cup water

1/2 cup blackstrap molasses

1/2 teaspoon vanilla


  1. Combine all of the dry ingredients together in a bowl and set aside–flours, baking powder, baking soda and spices.
  2. Cream together the softened coconut oil and coconut sugar together for a few minutes with a beater until it has becomes light and whipped. Add the water, molasses and vanilla and beat together until mixed thoroughly.
  3. Gradually add the dry mixture a bit at a time until it is all mixed together into a dough.
  4. Form dough into a ball and cover with plastic wrap. Store in the fridge for at least 2 hours but overnight is best.
  5. Take the dough out about a half hour before you are ready to roll so it can soften a bit.
  6. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F/ 160 degrees C.
  7. Roll out dough to a thickness of 1/4 inch onto parchment paper with a floured rolling-pin and cut into desired shapes. Keep rolling and cutting until all the dough is used up.
  8. Store on cookie sheets in the fridge for about 20 minutes to get hard again (this step is key if you want nice crisp looking shapes).
  9. Bake in the oven for about 8-10 minutes. The cookies will seem a bit soft when you take them out but they will harden as they cool.
  10. Leave them on cookie sheets until they have cooled a bit as they will be too soft to transfer off the sheet any earlier.

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