Vegan gingerbread men! The perfect Christmas recipe. This is a healthy, gluten free twist on the most classic Christmas cookie.
Warning: cute, holiday cheer, cookie happiness overload today.
HAPPY FIRST DAY OF DECEMBER! What better way to welcome the month of Christmas than with these adorable vegan gingerbread men?! These cookies are the definition of Christmas nostalgia for me. Growing up my mom ALWAYS made awesome gingerbread cookies, cut into cute little people, snowflakes, all that. She did amazing piping onto hers and sent them out on her cookie trays to friends/neighbors. My brothers and I went insane with the sprinkles and frosting for our decorations.
Those are memories I hold near and dear still today, so when I was brainstorming for my healthy, vegan Christmas baking, gingerbread cookies were number one on that list. And I knew they’d probably be the hardest to perfect! Well friends, I’m seriously thrilled to share these with you because I am in absolute Christmas love with them.
The first order of business, of course, is flavor! I tested 4 different versions before choosing the perfect one for this recipe. The ingredients I played with were the sweetener, as well as the base flour.
Cookies are serious, scientific business – didn’t you know?
When deciding on a sweetener, I was between dates and stevia. I am absolutely in love with the flavor dates add, but knew that they could potentially throw off the texture of these cookies. I wanted crisp on the outside but still slightly soft in the middle. When I tested multiple doughs, the stevia always came out on top in terms of providing both natural sweetness but also supporting the texture that I associate with gingerbread cookies.
As far as the flour, I went back and forth between coconut flour, chickpea flour, and using a mix of those two. When we taste tested the 4 recipes I tried, the chickpea flour easily won. With all the strong ingredients giving the gingerbread men their spiced flavor, and the sweetness of the stevia, you can’t even detect the chickpea flour and it gave the best crisp texture.
Once I got the flour and sweetener figured out, the other ingredients are simple! A little bit of unsweetened applesauce keeps the centers of these cookies slightly soft, while the outsides crisp up perfectly. These cookies do firm up even more as they cool and after a few days, they get quite crunchy. Great for the crunchy cookie lovers, like my husband! I love softer cookies, so if you’re on that side as well, just be aware of that – eat them faster. 🙂
Personally, I think gingerbread cookies should be heavily spiced, but not burn your mouth spiced. I use pumpkin pie spice and just a little bit of extra ginger. A little bit of molasses is what makes these vegan gingerbread men taste so authentic to traditional gingerbread.
The method for achieving our cute little men and other shapes is a little bit unique. I tried doing the traditional method of cutting out shapes from the totally unbaked dough, but it was WAY too sticky and hard to work with. I couldn’t even get the cutter back out when I pressed it into some of the unbaked dough! Not fun.
Instead of using the unbaked dough for shapes, you’ll roll it into a large rectangle, and bake that for 10 minutes. Then, you’ll remove the partially baked dough, cut out your shapes, and transfer to another baking sheet to bake for the remaining time. The only catch is the dough is hot, so just be careful when cutting and transferring your shapes.
Once you’ve finished baking the vegan gingerbread men, allow them to cool on the sheet. Then you’re ready for the fun part!
Whip some unsweetened coconut cream and thin it out with just a little bit of almond milk so it’s slightly runny. Put it into a small plastic squeeze bottle, and you’re ready to go! A small ziplock with the corner cut off would also work if you don’t have a squeeze bottle. Then simply squeeze little buttons/clothes/faces onto the cookies – SO much easier than all the crazy royal icing, and only one ingredient required!
These vegan gingerbread men are one of my favorite recipes on the blog to date. Not only are they absolutely adorable and easy to make, the flavor is perfect! Super spiced, crisp on the outside and soft in the middle, these cookies are an absolute must for your Christmas baking list this season.
Santa would be lucky to get these on his tray. Just look at those puffy pants!! I’ll never get over how cute and fun these are.
If you try this recipe, let me know how it goes/what you think! Take a picture and tag me @beamingbanana on Instagram. Happy baking!