I'm a bit of a sap when it comes to the holidays. The Christmas CDs come out of their dusty cases the day after Thanksgiving, and the days immediately transform into a whirlwind of blissed-out chaos, full of endless baking and picking out meaningful gifts for those who are most special to me. I'm also a bit of a jet-setter during this time (stay on the lookout for a post on my time in Colorado coming soon), and I find myself at my most energized and clear during this time of year from my mini-vacations.
In my mind, I imagine everyone else feels the same about the holiday season, so it was almost an unconscious mental observation when I noticed the older man standing behind me in line at the grocery store the other day whistling Christmas carols. "How cute!" I noted absentmindedly, and flashed him a reflexive huge smile. The cashier interrupted our one-sided exchange to inform me that there was a hole in one of the bags I had picked up and asked if I wanted to go grab another one. I asked the man if he minded waiting before dashing off to the baking aisle, because I absolutely could not leave without my peppermint candy bits. When I returned, however, the cashier had rang up all of my things and was now continuing to ring up the man's items on the same bill. I stood in silent confusion for a moment before my heart skipped a beat and I put two and two together. As he stepped up to pay, I exclaimed, "you are SO kind! Thank you so much!" to which I was met with a bewildered stare from the man.
It took several very humiliating moments for us to sort out that the cashier had mistaken the two of us to be together (probably thanks to my creepy stranger grins) and that he had been lost in his thoughts, totally unaware that my items were on his bill. And then there was me, assuming that everyone walks around thinking of cookies and presents and jingle bells and pooping jelly beans 24/7 during the month of December, thinking I was witnessing the miracle of the holiday spirit. Damn it, Haley.
So, no free groceries from the kind stranger for me. However, my spirits were not dampened and I went straight home to plug in the Christmas tree and get to baking my very favorite cookies for the virtual #cookieswapparty that I am participating in this year with some of my favorite fellow bloggers!
These gingerbread cookies were among one of my first successes when I began developing allergy-friendly recipes two years ago. Soft, chewy, and deliciously spicy, no one would ever guess that these are probably the healthiest Christmas cookies you will ever eat! Made with almond and coconut flours and no refined sugar (besides the icing), these babies are Paleo AND Vegan and also absolutely addicting. This is my third year making them and I am so excited to finally share a perfected recipe with you all!
Healthy Gingerbread Men (GF, V, P)
(Makes 12 regular-sized or 24 if you use Sur La Table's adorable mini cookie cutters like me)
For the cookies:
- 2 1/4 c almond flour
- 1 c coconut flour
- 1/2 c coconut sugar
- 1 tbsp each ginger, cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp each cloves, nutmeg, salt
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flax, 3 tbsp water, mixed well and left to sit for 10 minutes)
- 3/4 c coconut oil, melted
- 1/2 c pure molasses
ethod to the madness: prepare your flax egg. in a mixing bowl, mix all dry ingredients. set aside. in a large mixing bowl, beat the melted oil with the coconut sugar. add molasses and flax egg and mix to completely combine. sift in your dry ingredients a little at a time, stirring to thoroughly incorporate. when your ball of dough is formed, cover mixing bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2-24 hours. this ensures that the dough is tender and chewy and also that your gingies won't spread in the oven! when you're ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350F. roll out your dough on a piece of parchment paper, flattening the dough to about 1/4-1/2 inch thick depending on how crunchy you like your cookies (flatter=crunchier, and vice versa)! arrange your cookies on a non-stick baking sheet and bake for 10-13 minutes, or until the edges are just starting to turn golden brown. remove from oven and transfer to a wire cooling rack. let cool completely!! I find the cookies taste best after they have been sitting for a day...but maybe that's just me!
to ice: I've listed a few of my favorite brands of clean frosting and icing if you don't feel like going the extra mile and making your own at home. or, follow a simple recipe for homemade royal icing I've picked up from many a food mags over the years:
- 1.5 c confectioner's sugar
- 2 tbsp water
- 2 tsp plain non-dairy milk
ethod to the madness: ombine all ingredients in a mixing bowl. beat to desired consistency, transfer to a piping or Ziploc bag and just barely cut the tip.
nce cookies have been iced, pack away in airtight jars or tins (if you can resist eating them all immediately, that is)!
Make to check out all the other delicious recipes by the fabulous bloggers who participated this year! So grateful to be a part of this community.
Speculoos Button Cookies via Katherine in Brooklyn
Chocolate Dipped Matcha and Ginger Shortbread Cookies via Madeline Marie
Walnut Pepita Chocolate Chip Cookies via Nommable
GF + Vegan Gingerbread Men via Soul + Spoon
Chocolate Peppermint Coconut Macaroons via Pumpkin & Peanut Butter
Almond Spritz Cookies via Flours in Your Hair
Coconut Peanut Butter Cookies (vegan) via Maple Alps
Flaxseed & Pistachio Shortbread with White Chocolate Ganache Glaze via Lyndsey Eden
Speculoos Coffee Caramel Slices via Les Filles de Madeleine
Salted Dark Chocolate Cookies via The Foodwright
Dark Chocolate Butterscotch Cookies via Seek Satiation