Nutritious Gingerbread Men
Despite it still being November, I've been dying to start baking some Christmas related food, and considering it's absolutely freezing here, I figured it's close enough to Christmas to make it okay. This is just one of many Christmas recipes I hope to share with you all, to prove that no matter what you can or cannot eat due to intolerances, you can still enjoy delicious Christmas food with your friends and family. After all, that's what Christmas is about!
These gingerbread men are sweet due to the dates, but without the gritty texture and sickly feeling you get after traditional gingerbread men. They're also incredibly moist due to the ground almonds, which makes your teeth sink into them, rather than crunch when you're trying to bite the head off! These are also perfect for kids, as they're easy to make, difficult to mess up, and fun to decorate, and they make great gifts for family and friends. I hope you love them as much as my family and I do!
Makes 16 standard gingerbread men
You will need:
1 1/2 cups (240g) buckwheat flour
1/2 cup (60g) brown rice flour
1 cup (90g) whole raw almonds
1 cup (150g) fresh dates
1/3 cup warm water
1/2 cup (75g) room temperature coconut oil
2 tbsp fresh ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup coconut butter for the icing
2-3 tbsps of dried fruit/nuts for decorating
Place the almonds in a food processor and process until it forms a fine flour-like texture. Remove the almond flour from the food processor and place into a large mixing bowl, then add the dates and the 1/3 of a cup of warm water to the food processor, and process until it forms a gooey caramel-like syrup, then add the coconut oil, ginger and cinnamon and process until well combined.
Pour the date mixture into the almond flour and mix well with a spoon, or with your hands, whichever is easier. It should form a moist ball. Next, slowly sift about 1/4 of the flour and baking soda into the bowl using your hands to knead the pastry and mix it all together until the flour is combined in, then sift in 1/3 more of the flour and baking powder mixture, continuing to knead the flour into the pastry until all the flour is combined and you have a ball of dough.
Cover the bowl of dough with kitchen wrap and leave in the fridge for at least 3 hours. Afterwards, preheat your oven to 170C, then using a rolling pin, roll the dough until it is about half a cm thick. Use a gingerbread cutter to cut out your gingerbread men, and place them evenly spread out on a baking tray. Cook each tray of gingerbread men separately, on the middle shelf of the oven for about 15 minutes, or until lightly browned and crisp. Then repeat for the rest of the dough, continuing to roll it out flat and then cut out the gingerbread men, and then baking for around 15 minutes. Be careful removing them from the tray, as they're delicate when they're hot. I made 3 baking trays with 5 gingerbread men per tray, and one extra 16th one, but you could make lots of little cookies instead.
Allow the gingerbread men to cool, and get to work on your icing. I make my own coconut butter by putting desiccated coconut in the food processor for 15 or so minutes until it's runny. Alternatively you can just melt some store bought coconut butter and use that. Use teaspoon or another small utensil to draw on the eyes and mouth of the gingerbread men, being careful not to let them drip into each other. Then create glue for the buttons down the middle of the body, working quickly to press in your choice of dried fruit/nuts as your buttons. I used dried cherries, pumpkin seeds and goji berries, but raisins or nuts would work too!
Allow the glue to try, then store in an airtight container for as long as you can make them last!