Y’all really need to know…I was nervous about taking on this cookie recipe. Like…how the hell do you make a ginger cookie without molasses?
This is what I wondered to myself as I headed into this endeavor.
I’ve been making ginger snaps and gingerbread cut-out cookies for a while now. And I’ve baked cookies since before I was old enough to bake cookies. One thing I understand very well: the purpose of sugar in cookies!
Molasses not only lends a distinctive flavor to ginger cookies, it is also almost exclusively responsible for their final texture. The sugar and molasses in the dough caramelize and harden to make that distinctive “snap” you know and love.
So…a sugar-free gingerbread cookie? Is that even possible?
After about a gamillionty-seven failures, I’m happy to report the answer is YES! It is possible. With no flour. No molasses. And you still get to keep the crispyness. (Well, most of it anyways.)
Let’s dive into this recipe, shall we?
I just went with butter, y’all. If you’re looking to cut down calories, try something like Blue Bonnet Light or I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter baking sticks. But I like butter. So I used butter!
So when you take molasses out of the equation, you have a slight conundrum. I tried this recipe a few different ways and many of them tasted like sugar-free brown sugar/cinnamon oatmeal! (Which is yummy but not what we are going for.)
In the end, I found a great inspiration recipe from this site. It just used the requisite gingerbread spices and ditched the molasses altogether. I wasn’t sure that was gonna work out but it did! I think probably because of the pinch of allspice I used, it tasted like it had molasses in it. (Or maybe that was wishful thinking on the part of my brain. You be the judge!)
It took some playing with this recipe, though, to get it to the texture I wanted. When I bake regular gingerbread cookies, they are pretty firm when I take them out of the oven and harden to a crisp upon cooling. I love that! (Pro-Tip: If you like your teeth, make sure you roll your cookies thin, mkay?)
At the end of the day, most of my failed cookie tests had to do with the wet-to-dry ingredient ration. As you’ll see in the base cookie recipe, each of these cookie recipes require 1/2 an egg. That’s right. Half. Not a small egg. Half a large egg. (I tried a small egg and that was still too much.) My advice? This might be a good time to embrace Egg Beaters! I give the amount of Egg Beaters to use in the recipe and it’s so much easier than what I ended up doing (which was parsing out eggs into little bowls and cursing a lot).
I went back and forth a lot on whether this was going to be a ginger snap or a gingerbread cookie. The whole rolling thing made me nervous. But at the end of the day, I went with delight and not only did Gingerbread men…I did Ninja-bread men! I got these fun cookie cutters a few years back as a present and I love using them. Here’s where you can snag some for yourself.
So this recipe is pretty straightforward. It doesn’t take long to mix and it yields a nice, legit cookie. But here are a few tips:
- Do make sure you mix it well. Like…mix it. Then mix it again. And then mix it a third time. Almond flour clumps. And it tends to reveal those clumps to you when you are rolling out your dough!
- Put the dough in plastic wrap and put it in the freezer while your oven is pre-heating. The dough will be soft out of the bowl. It needs to firm up. Even after you roll it, you’ll find it’s softened quite a bit from the heat of your hands touching it. So between each roll-out, stick it back in the freezer! (Or make sure you roll it out well enough to cut all your cookie shapes.)
- I highly advise you to also put the dough ball between a bit, folded piece of parchment. Unless you want to be adding tons of flour to your rolling pin. (And, no, the almond flour doesn’t work for that purpose!)
- Keep an eye on these suckers in the oven! This is true with any gingerbread cookie. For traditional cookies, they can go from perfectly cooked to completely burnt in the bat of an eyelash (anything with that much sugar does). For these…I’m not really sure why, but they had the same dynamic going on. And burnt bottoms are just…sad.
Now go forth and…cookie!
You can print the recipe at the bottom of this blog post, but I’ve also put them into a free, downloadable e-book (that you can get your mitts on by filling out the form below). Be sure to snag that so you can take these recipes for a test drive before cookie season kicks into overdrive! For even more cookie inspiration (and if you want to throw a little support to the Foodie cookie cause), check out my Complete Cookie Collection book in the Foodie Store!