HOLIDAY COOKIE BONANZA! pt. 2.
ICYMI: pt. 1 Pretzel & Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies
The second cookie recipe in my healthier holiday cookie series are these Chewy Ginger Cookies! They are super easy to make drop cookies and feel wonderfully homey and comforting. These cookies have the perfect crispy but chewy texture. Brimming with fresh and zesty ginger flavor so synonymous with the holiday season, making them incredibly delicious and just the perfect deep-fall or winter cookie. In addition to the spicy yet sweet ginger, these cookies are filled with other warming spices sure to give you all the cozy cookie vibes we all crave this time of year.
These healthified Chewy Ginger Cookies are a perfectly delicious, no-fuss, but incredibly satisfying ginger cookie. This cookie has wonderfully addicting crispy edges, an even more addicting soft and chewy center, and finish with a dusting of sparkling sugar. These cookies are packed with three types of ginger (or just two if three kinds of ginger just sounds like a bit too much ginger) to really give them a deep gingery flavor which is complemented with a few additional warming spices to give these cookies a more well rounded taste. Basically, if you ask me, these are the perfect thick and chewy ginger cookies. They are made with better-for-you ingredients but taste anything but!
What Ingredients Are Used In These Chewy Ginger Cookies?
These healthier Chewy Ginger Cookies are incredibly delicious and comforting but made better-for-you as they contain no refined flours or oils. These cookie are nut-free and paleo(ish) as they contain no gluten, grain, or dairy. They are paleo(ish) because these are made with cane sugar instead of coconut sugar. Cane sugar is not technically refined sugar free, and therefore not strictly paleo, but is still a much less refined alternative to traditional white sugar. Here’s a quick rundown of the ingredients used and some recommended substitutes and variations:
- Cane Sugar – I used an organic cane sugar from Whole Foods (but this brand is also great), instead of my usual coconut sugar, to maintain a more neutral sweet flavor and give these that classic chewy texture.
- Tahini – I love using tahini in my cookie recipes, it gives the cookies a wonderful moist and slightly dense chew. It’s more neutral in flavor than other nut/seed butters and keeps the recipe nut free! Use any other nut/seed butter that is thin and drippy, like a natural almond, cashew, or sunflower seed butter that has a good amount of oil at the top.
- Avocado Oil – Gives the cookies some additional moisture and helps crisp the cookies. Sub for olive oil or melted and cooled coconut oil.
- Egg – To help puff the cookies.
- Blackstrap Molasses – To keep the traditional flavor of a ginger cookie! The molasses adds a wonderful richness to the cookie and deepens the flavor of the ginger and spices. I used Wholesome Sweeteners Fair Trade Organic Molasses.
- Freshly Grated Ginger – I highly recommend not skipping this ingredient even though I know it may be tempting. Powdered ginger is great, but the freshly grated ginger really gives these cookies a more well rounded ginger flavor.
- Vanilla – A must in most cookie recipes!
- Cassava Flour – A gluten and grain free flour which behaves very similarly to white flour but is not bleached, refined, or overly processed. It’s nut free and paleo!
- Tapioca Flour – Tapioca flour helps thicken the dough without making them too floury.
- Powdered Ginger – For more ginger-goodness.
- Cinnamon & Nutmeg – To complement and amplify the warming characteristic of the ginger.
- Salt & Black Pepper – The dash of black pepper is optional, but highly recommended. It adds a bit of oomph to the cookies, in the same way it’s added to good quality chai blends.
- Candied Ginger – Make these cookies Chewy TRIPLE Ginger Cookies by adding chopped pieces of candied ginger. This is optional but adds wonderful chewy bits to the cookies and really ups the ginger flavor. This is a great brand that uses good quality ingredients.
How Do You Make Healthy Chewy Ginger Cookies?
These cookies are incredibly easy to make! They are made in just one bowl, and with just a few simple ingredients. The ingredient list below seems long, but it’s just a bit of extra spices. The dough does need to be properly chilled, ideally for two hours and up to overnight. So, be sure to plan ahead! Here’s a look at the steps.
- Mix the cane sugar, tahini, and avocado oil together. Usually we’d mix all the wet ingredients together at once, but here, we mix the wet ingredients in phases to help ensure that the sugar and fats are properly creamed together.
- Add the egg, molasses, freshly grated ginger, and vanilla and blend with the sugar mixture.
- Add in the dry ingredients until a sticky dough forms.
- Stir in the candied ginger. This is totally optional if you feel like double ginger is enough or if you want to keep the sugar level on the lower side.
- Chill the dough. Ideally chill the dough in the freezer for at least two hours and up to overnight. The longer the dough is left to chill the easier it will be to scoop and roll the cookies. Chilling the dough ensures a thick and chewy cookie rather than a flat and crispy cookie puddle.
- Scoop the dough. I use my trusty 50 mm scoop (about 3 tablespoons) for ease and making equally sized cookies. This size scoop makes thirteen 3 1/2 inch cookies which I found to be the perfect size.
- Roll the dough in cane sugar or other coarse sugar such as turbinado or demerara.
- Bake at 400 for 8-9 minutes. We bake these cookies in a hotter than usual oven to ensure the cookies puff up, with perfectly crispy exteriors, but still maintain a moist chewiness in the centers.
- Let cool slightly.
- Enjoy those Chewy Ginger Cookies!
Make Ahead: The dough can be made ahead and kept, covered, in the freezer until ready to bake. Or chill the dough, scoop balls, and store the cookie dough balls in an airtight container. When ready to bake, roll the balls in the sugar and bake frozen, just add another minute or so onto the baking time.
These Chewy Ginger Cookies are the perfect warm and cozy cookie for the holiday season. Thick and puffy cookies with addicting crispy edges, a dense and chewy center packed with spicy, but sweet and fresh, ginger flavor, more warming spices and finished with a sparkly sugar dusting. Basically, it’s everything you want from a good ginger cookie, but made with better-for-you ingredients, so you can enjoy a festive and healthier holiday season.
paleo-ish (gluten/grain/dairy free) & nut-free
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Chewy Ginger Cookies
These healthified Chewy Ginger Cookies are a perfectly delicious, no-fuss, but incredibly satisfying ginger cookie. They have wonderfully addicting crispy edges, even more addicting soft and chewy centers, and packed with ginger goodness.
paleo-ish (gluten/grain/dairy free), nut free
- 2/3 cup cane sugar (138 grams)
- 1/4 cup tahini, well stirred before measuring (65 grams) sub other thin nut/seed butter of choice
- 1/4 cup avocado oil (61 grams) sub olive oil or coconut oil (melted and cooled)
- 1/4 cup blackstrap molasses (85 grams)
- 1 egg
- 2 tsp freshly grated ginger (6 grams)
- 1 tsp vanilla (4 grams)
- 3/4 cup cassava flour, spooned and leveled (117 grams)
- 1/4 cup tapioca flour (30 grams)
- 1 tsp baking powder (5 grams)
- 1 tsp ground ginger see notes on amount
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- dash black pepper (optional)
- 1/2 cup chopped crystalized ginger (optional)
- 2 tbsp coarse sugar such as organic cane sugar, turbinado, or demerara
In the bowl of a stand mixer, or a large bowl if mixing by hand, cream together the cane sugar, tahini, and avocado oil until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
Add in the molasses, egg, freshly grated ginger, and vanilla and blend until just fully incorporated.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add in the remaining dry ingredients (except crystallized ginger) and stir until just fully incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl once during mixing to ensure everything in well distributed while avoiding overmixing.
Stir in the crystallized ginger if using.
Chill the dough in the freezer ideally for two hours and up to overnight.
Scoop out 13 balls of dough, I used a 50 mm scoop (about 3 tbsp), and roll each ball in the sugar to coat. Place the dough balls at least 2 inches apart on the baking sheet.
Bake cookies for 8-9 minutes or until cookies are puffed and the edges golden brown and crinkly. Bake for 10 minutes if you like a firmer, crispier cookie.
Let cookies cool on baking sheet for at least 5 minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.
Enjoy warm or at room temperature!
Storage: Store at room temperature in an airtight container for 2-3 day. Then move to freezer for longer storage!
Make Ahead: The dough can be made ahead and kept, covered, in the freezer until ready to bake. Or chill the dough, scoop balls, and store the cookie dough balls in an airtight container. When ready to bake, roll the balls in the sugar and bake frozen, just add another minute or so onto the baking time if they have been frozen from longer than 24 hours.
Tahini - The tahini should be thin and drippy. Sub tahini for any other nut/seed butter that is thin and drippy, like a natural almond, cashew, or sunflower seed butter that has a good amount of oil at the top. For best results, be sure to mix the nut/seed butter in the jar well before measuring. Do not use the compacted paste at the bottom of the jar. My favorite tahini for baking is the 365 brand from Whole Foods.
Extra Ginger - If you, like me, really love ginger, up the ground ginger to 2 tsps. There was a great debate on whether 1 tsp of ground ginger was enough. In my original recipe I use 2 tsps of ground ginger and really loved how deeply gingery the flavor was. I settled on 1 tsp for the final recipe because it seemed like a more balanced flavor that everyone could enjoy.
Even More Ginger - If you really, really love ginger, make these Triple Ginger Cookies by adding pieces of crystallized ginger to the cookie dough!
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