Say what? What is nutritious about a gingerbread cookie? Aren’t they full of butter, sugar, and molasses?
Why yes, traditionally gingerbread cookies are full of buttery and sugary goodness, but today I am sharing a lightened up more nutritious option for a festive holiday treat.
While my recipe does not contain butter or refined granulated sugar, it does contain honey and molasses…
“But Katrina, honey and molasses are still sugar…”
Yes, they are! Honey and molasses are still considered “added sugars”, however they contain way more nutrient benefits than regular table sugar.
Honey is created by bees from collecting plant nectar making it richer in vitamins and minerals than regular granulated sugar. Honey also contains antioxidants which can help reduce risks of heart disease, strokes, and some types of cancer. In addition to that, honey can aid in wound healing due to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects—so next time you burn yourself, try rubbing some honey on your wound. Lastly, honey is good for cold and flu season! Got a scratchy throat? Add some honey to warm water or hot tea and slowly sip and it will likely tame your sore throat.
Now on to molasses! Have you ever watched anyone make molasses? Essentially, molasses is derived from mashed sugar cane to extract the juices then boiled to create cane syrup. The cane syrup is then boiled a second time to make molasses. What about the health benefits? Molasses contains several vitamins and minerals such as iron (hemoglobin production that transfers oxygen in your bloodstream), calcium (bone health), magnesium (aids in metabolism and transmissions of nerve impulses), vitamin B6 (brain development and hemoglobin production), and selenium (reproduction, function of thyroid gland, DNA production, and protecting body from free radical damage and infection). While it may be calorie dense, it still contains more nutritional value than regular granulated sugar.
Today I am going to share my gingerbread cookie recipe with you for a lighter take on the traditional Christmas cookie. Y’all know I am all for splurging every now and then, but the Christmas festivities last all month, so I like to find healthier alternatives to fun festive goodies.
Recipe Time! Note: This recipe was adapted from COOKIE + kate with a few of my own personal tweaks. See her blog for more fun recipes!
Nutritious Gingerbread Cookies
- 3 cups of 100% Whole Wheat Flour (I used King Arthur brand)
- 2 teaspoons of ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder
- 1/4 cup of melted coconut oil
- 1/4 cup of unsweetened applesauce
- 1/2 cup of molasses
- 1/2 cup of honey
- 1 large egg
- Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)
- In a medium sized mixing bowl, add whole wheat flour, ginger, cinnamon, pepper, salt, cloves, baking soda, and baking powder and mix until well combined.
- In a separate mixing bowl, add melted coconut oil, unsweetened applesauce, molasses, and honey. Whisk until well combined. If mixture is too grainy, microwave to dissolve.
- Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredient mixture and combine well. If mixture seems too dry, keep mixing! I started out with a spoon and ended up using my hands to get the flour mixed in well with the molasses mixture.
- Separate the cookie dough in half. Shape the dough into a 1-inch disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Lightly dust your work space and rolling pin with flour and roll one of your cookie dough disks about 1/4 inch deep. This dough is easy to roll out with little crumbling, but if you run into crumbling issues, allow cookie dough to get to room temperature. Use cookie cutter of choice to make fun holiday shapes.
- Place cookies on the lined cookie sheets and bake at 350 degrees for 8-11 minutes. For a softer cookie, bake for 8 minutes. For more of a gingersnap, bake closer to 11 minutes.
- Allow to cool on a baking sheet and lightly dust with powdered sugar.
- Share and enjoy with your friends!
Got any Christmas parties to attend? Try this recipe out. My husband LOVED them…so I am sure if your company likes gingerbread then these will be a crowd favorite!
Merry Christmas baking!
Until Next Time,
Katrina Detter, RD, LDN
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
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LD MWRDN. Magnesium: Health Benefits, Deficiency, Sources, and Risks. Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/286839.php. Published December 20, 2017. Accessed December 3, 2018.
Healthline. (2018). 10 Surprising Health Benefits of Honey. [online]. Available at https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-benefits-of-honey#section9 [Accessed 3 Dec. 2018].