Paleo Ginger Cookies – These grain free, dairy free ginger cookies are absolute perfection! Lightly crisp edges and tender in the middle (or not! Your choice!).
Originally posted Sept. 2015. Recipe, post, and photos updated Dec. 2017.
I love hearing other people’s favorite holiday foods. Everyone seems to have a few foods woven throughout their holiday traditions, whether that’s fondue on New Year’s Eve, or waffles for Christmas breakfast, or a special cake for Christmas Eve.
One of my favorite, feels-like-the-holidays treats is a really good ginger cookie. I’m looking for something crispy along the edges and soft in the middle with the perfect sugary-crackle on top. These paleo ginger cookies are exactly that. They’re ginger cookie perfection! Now, let me fill you in on all my secrets…
My first trick is the combination of flours. The texture is just right, thanks to a blend of almond flour and arrowroot (or tapioca starch). The starchy arrowroot keeps them light and crisp, while the almond flour helps them turn golden and gives them enough body. I love that they fill my house with notes of molasses and zingy ginger. Plus, they freeze like a dream, so you can always bake them ahead of time and pull them out when needed. (Like, every night after you tuck your kids in bed, for instance).
Second is chilling the dough and using parchment paper. For a long time, I used to think it was one of those superfluous fancy baking things that people like Martha Stewart and Ina Garten used because they could. Sort of like imported Japanese tea, or Swiss chocolate, or vanilla extract made from the tears of virgin milkmaids.
But it’s real life.
I believe in parchment paper. It’s a DREAM for clean up and prevents burning. I hardly ever bake without it, and these ginger cookies are no exception. Some ginger cookies have a tendency to scorch on the bottom, and I’ve found that a light-colored baking sheet lined with parchment paper (or a silicone baking mat) is a fail proof plan for perfectly baked ginger cookies. (I think even Ina would approve.)
Notes on these Paleo Ginger Cookies
Let’s talk almond flour. You really want to use finely ground, blanched almond flour. It’s got the finest grain and makes a BIG difference in how these bake up. I’ve had good luck with Honeyville almond flour, Trader Joe’s blanched almond flour, etc.
Because the density of almond flour varies brand to brand depending on how finely ground it is, you may possibly want to add an extra tablespoon or two of almond flour to your dough if you are using a different brand than the ones I’ve mentioned. If you’re nervous, you can bake a test batch with just 2-3 cookies and see how they spread. If they spread more than you like, add a bit more flour and give that a whirl.
Keeping your cookies from spreading. The chilling step is pretty critical for preventing too much spread. Parchment or a silicone baking mat will also help, so it’s really worth using one. (Not to mention the easy clean-up!)
Sweetness. I’ve made these with both coconut sugar and maple sugar. They’re delicious either way. If you don’t have either one (or don’t follow a paleo diet), you can substitute half white and half brown sugar.
Second, I know that turbinado sugar is NOT paleo approved. It’s an optional step, and one I’m happy to take during the holidays for a treat. I really love the crispy, sugary crunch it gives to the outside of the cookie (not to mention the sparkle!), but if you’re strictly paleo, you can skip that step.
A note on shortening. If you’re rolling your eyes at the idea of using shortening, I understand. I use Spectrum or Nutiva brands (non-hydrogenated and more sustainably sourced). If you’re not dairy free, butter would also work, so feel free to substitute it in, if you prefer.
More Paleo Treats to Try…
- Paleo & Vegan Hot Chocolate
- Paleo Double Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Vegan Chocolate Pudding
- Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies
- ½ cup non-hydrogenated shortening (I like Spectrum brand. Butter would also work.)
- ¾ cup coconut sugar or maple sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 Tbsp. molasses
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2½ tsp ginger
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 cup (about 114g) blanched almond flour (I use Honeyville)
- 1 cup (about 128g) arrowroot flour (sometimes called arrowroot starch)
- optional: ¼-1/3 cup turbinado sugar (sometimes called Sugar in the Raw) for rolling
- In a food processor (or stand mixer, or a bowl with a hand mixer), combine shortening and sugar. Add vanilla, molasses, and egg. Pulse (or mix) to combine.
- Add spices, salt, baking soda, almond flour, and arrowroot, and pulse to combine. Dough will come together in a big ball.
- Transfer cookie dough to a bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least 30-60 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Pour turbinado sugar into a small dish. Scoop 1" balls of dough and roll into balls. Dip tops of the balls in sugar and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- Bake 8 cookies at a time at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes, or until golden around the edges.
- Let cool 2-3 minutes on baking sheet before transferring to a cooling rack.
- Repeat with remaining cookie dough.