These Grain-free Gingerbread Cookies are a super fun treat that's much more simple than traditional gingerbread men. They're made with an unusual "secret ingredient" flour that I bet you've never heard of. Can you guess what it is?
Molasses style cookies are a favorite around here anytime of the year!
Gingerbread men cookies are festive, cute and have a lot of character, but they are also a lot of work!! I decided to take that flavor and do a simple cookie ball with all the flavor and half of the work (and none of the traditional grain)!
This recipe for paleo gingerbread cookies calls for a unique flour...
What is Chestnut Flour and How to Use It
After trying chestnut flour in these paleo gingerbread cookies, you'll be won over to it, but you might wonder how else you can use it. Here are some facts about it to get you more acquainted with what it is and how you might incorporate it into your diet.
1. Chestnut Flour--A Great Gluten-free Alternative Flour
Chestnut flour is a gluten free alternative to regular flour made from ground chestnuts. Chestnuts are dried and then made into sweet flavored flour in Italy for centuries.
2. Chestnut Flour--a staple?
In Tuscany, chestnut flour is considered a staple food, and it is commonly called for in recipes such as:
- chestnut flour bread
- pie crust
- crepes, and
- other baked goods.
3. Chestnut flour has a slightly sweet flavor. As a result, it's a perfect fit for recipes involving almonds, chocolate, honey and hazelnuts. I've found it to be awesome in fall recipes that incorporate pumpkin and spice.
4. Baking with Chestnut Flour
- has fewer carbohydrates than regular white flour but has many of the same baking properties as flour. Chestnuts do not contain the fat content regular nuts have, and are instead largely composed of carbohydrates.
- creates a fluffier baked good
- has a distinct taste that has a bit of spiciness to it and
- pairs really well with warm fall flavors, especially ginger!
I love using almond flour and am not afraid of fat by any means. I'm just enjoying how much fun this flour is to work with, and not to mention how good it is!
5. Is a Chestnut a Nut or a Fruit?
This is a good question, as is the question wondering if coconut is a nut.
According to Wikipedia chestnuts are a fruit. If you have tree nut allergies, please look into this more. There isn't much information on this topic, but you should consult with your physician before eating chestnut flour if you are allergic to tree nuts.
Where can you buy chestnut flour?
Check with your local natural grocery stores. You can also order it from Amazon or some other online realtors. I realize it's a unique ingredient, but I promise you will enjoy it.
Special Diet Notes
- AIP: Use organic tiger nut flour instead of almond flour. Use organic coconut sugar or maple syrup - see Choosing Maple Syrup.
- Nut Allergies: You can sub organic arrowroot powder for the chestnut flour if nut allergic, but only use 2 Tbsp of arrowroot, NOT ¼ cup!
- For THM or other lower-carb diets, use more almond flour or other nut or seed flour.
The cookies may spread a tiny bit more, but are still delicious!!!
- Other Sweeteners: Although xylitol is a no-sugar option, I used Swerve as my sweetener, which is sugar free as well. From Adrienne: You could try 2 scoops stevia extract (see How to Use Stevia) for sugar free as well.
- Fat Options: Organic ghee or butter should work as well.
- Low-carb Options: For a low-glycemic substitute, try ¼ tsp molasses (use blackstrap for keto) added to 1 1/4 Tbsp of xylitol, erythritol, or this Truvia® Substitute and use that in place of the straight molasses. Also substituting almond flour for the chestnut flour should work just fine since it's a low volume of flour. I haven't tried it yet but I think it should work.
Secret-Ingredient Paleo Gingerbread Cookie Bites - grain-free and vegan
- 1 1/2 cups almond flour (finely ground)
- 1/4 cup chestnut flour (see substitutions, including AIP, above)
- 3-4 Tbsp low carb sweetener
- 3 Tbsp coconut oil (softened)
- 1 1/2 Tbsp molasses (use appropriate sweetener sub as needed. See above)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp cloves
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Place the almond flour, chestnut flour (or arrowroot), sweetener, butter and spices and salt in a food processor and combine.
- Add in the molasses and vanilla and pulse until dough forms into a big ball.
- Place the dough in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to keep the cookies from spreading as they cook.
- Roll the dough into one inch balls and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet.
- Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheet before moving to a cooling rack. Cookies will get crisp as they cool.
- Store in an airtight container. Place in the refrigerator if you prefer a hard cookie.
Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is merely an approximation. Optional ingredients are not included and when there is an alternative, the primary ingredient is typically used. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on this site. Erythritol carbs are not included in carb counts since they have been shown not to impact blood sugar. Net carbs are the total carbs minus fiber.
Now you can have the fabulous flavor of gingerbread cookies done healthier -- at Christmas -- or anytime of year!
Have you ever heard of or used Chestnut Flour before?
Kate Criswell is a Fitness Trainer and Nutrition Coach who loves spending time in the kitchen tweaking recipes to make them healthier yet still satisfying and delicious. For more of her grain-free recipes and tips, visit Kate's Healthy Cupboard at www.kateshealthycupboard.com.