These modern-day gingerbread men are made with coconut oil and have a soft, chewy texture with classic gingerbread flavor. JUMP TO RECIPE
Nothing gets me into the holiday spirit more than making gingerbread cookies. This year I updated my old recipe, one I’ve been using for many years, and came up with Coconut Oil Gingerbread Men. These cookies have a soft texture and classic gingerbread flavor and are so much fun to decorate. My old gingerbread men recipe calls for vegetable shortening, and in the past I used Crisco to make these cookies, but I no longer use partially hydrogenated fats (also known as trans fats) because they’ve been linked to inflammation and heart disease. A great replacement for products like Crisco is coconut oil and it can be used 1:1 so it’s an easy substitute.
Gingerbread cookies, or biscuits as they were sometime called, have a rich and interesting history dating back to the 16th century reign of Queen Elizabeth I, who was known for her over-the-top banquets. She had, at her disposal, a royal gingerbread baker who would make gingerbread men to represent the foreign dignitaries and other people in her court who might be present at these elaborate dinners. But the question of how gingerbread evolved into a holiday classic is still something of a mystery, though historians agree that it probably has to do with the spices that give gingerbread it’s unique taste – so warm and comforting during the winter months. This recipe for Coconut Oil Gingerbread Men has a hearty total of 2 tablespoons of gingerbread spices giving it delicious Yuletide flavor! If you’d like to read more about the history of gingerbread men check out this short article.
I like using these little squeeze bottles (pictured above) to decorate Coconut Oil Gingerbread Men but you can also use a traditional piping bag fitted with a #2 tip. When mixing up the icing it’s important to get the consistency (thickness) just right. If it’s too thin it won’t hold its shape and will run all over the cookie. If it’s too thick you’ll have trouble squeezing it out of the bottle/piping bag and it won’t flow freely to give you smooth, unbroken lines of icing. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of margin for error so I use the 10 second rule to make sure the icing consistency is just right. Here’s how it works: after you mix up the icing take a knife and run it through the icing in a long straight line, going about 1 inch deep. Remove the knife and start counting. If the line you made with the knife disappears in 10 seconds your icing consistency is just right. If it smooths over much more quickly than that, it’s too thin. Add more confectioners’ sugar and try again. If it takes much longer than 10 seconds, thin the icing with a little water and try again. Here’s a great little video tutorial demonstrating the 10 second rule.
Check out these other holiday recipes: Raspberry Filled Christmas Tree Cookies, Vegan Rudolph Reindeer Cookies, Peppermint Black Bean Brownie Wreath, Wild Blueberry Pecan Baked Brie with Holiday Spices, Gluten-Free Gingerbread Bundt Cake, and Skinny Winter White Cosmopolitan.
If you make Coconut Oil Gingerbread Men don’t forget to snap a pic and tag me over on Instagram @QueenofMyKitchen. I’d love to see your creation!
- 5 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons ginger
- 1 teaspoon cloves
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 cup raw cane sugar, evaporated cane juice, or white granulated sugar
- 1 cup melted, virgin, unrefined coconut oil, cooled slightly (see notes #1)
- 1¼ cups unsulphured molasses
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1½ cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1 tablespoon dried egg whites
- 3 tablespoons warm water
- Fit a stand mixer with a paddle attachment and in a compatible mixing bowl combine the dry ingredients. Add the coconut oil, molasses, and eggs. Blend on medium speed until well mixed, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour. (See notes #2.)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to a thickness of ¼ inch. Stamp out gingerbread men using a 5- or 6-inch cookie cutter, and place on the baking sheets.
- Bake for 12-14 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through the baking time.
- While the cookies are baking make the icing. Fit a stand mixer with a paddle attachment and in a compatible mixing bowl combine together the confectioners’ sugar and dried egg whites.
- Add the water and beat on high for 3-5 minutes until the icing is thick and forms peaks. (If the icing is too thick, add more water 1 teaspoon at a time.). Link to Sweetopia.
- Fill piping bags or squeeze bottles (one that have been fitted with #2 piping tips) with the icing and use to decorate the gingerbread men.
2. You can store the dough in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze it for up to
1 month. Let it come to room temperature before rolling out.
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