Classic Gingerbread Men cookies made low carb and gluten-free. Perfect for decorating with your kids and giving as a healthy holiday gift.
Like most little kids, my children love decorating cookies. I can’t say I feel the same myself. I think much of it has to do with the finicky nature of working with royal icing. My hands, so steady in other times, tend to shake a little as I squeeze the piping bag. Lines I mean to be straight end up wobbly and crooked. Lines that should be curved just end up looking ragged and uneven. I simply do NOT understand how people get those beautiful cookies all perfectly even and filled in. I feel a little like a kid who can’t stay in the lines when colouring at school. I’d much prefer just to dip the whole lot in chocolate, thank you very much. Simpler, faster and it satisfies that primal urge for all things chocolate.
But my kids love doing the whole cookie decorating thing, so every year around the holidays I set aside some time for this arduous task. This year I decided I wanted to make the perfect low carb gingerbread men. As always, I let my kids decorate their cookies with some sprinkles and candies. And as always, I had a heck of time finding the smaller candies that are just right for cookie decorating. Why do mini M&Ms abound when you don’t need them, but when you do, they are nowhere to be seen?
I don’t know about you, but I like my gingerbread cookies to have a little tenderness to them. I didn’t want these to be super-crispy or rock hard, and I wanted them to have just a little chewiness upon biting into them. So I decided to make them with Kelapo coconut oil instead of butter, knowing that coconut oil typically makes baked goods more tender. At first, the dough was a little too soft and overly-fragile, so I added just a bit of coconut flour to make it hold together. And I was careful to take them out just a bit on the early side, to keep them softer. But if you are the sort who prefers your gingerbread cookies crispy, you can also bake these longer at a lower temperature, and they will crisp up nicely.
In the end, the kids and I had a ball decorating. The sugar-free royal icing recipe from the Swerve website is really quite good (I simply substituted arrowroot for the corn starch), and I gave each of the kids their own little piping bag for decorating. I let them almost have free reign with the sprinkles and candies for their cookies, knowing that the cookies were small enough, they could really only fit on a few anyway. I myself worked hard at making my cookies look like classic gingerbread men. And gingerbread trees, just to shake it up a little. Most of them didn’t turn out half-bad, but by the end I was quite literally drizzling the icing on in a random, abstract-art way, just to be done.
And my son, who had been bemoaning the “boring” weekend we’d been having, had such fun that he declared it the best day ever. Oh, to be so easy to please!