Holiday baking just wouldn’t be complete without a warm batch of gingerbread men. With their spicy-sweet flavor and soft and chewy texture, some might consider gingerbread cookies the “ultimate” holiday treat.
Of course, it’s the tradition of baking and decorating these little man-shaped cookies with loved ones that makes them so nostalgic.
And while gingerbread cookies do have some redeeming qualities (namely the high-antioxidant spices), they are mostly just sugar and flour – a recipe for inflammation and weight gain. And if you go with a traditional boxed cookie mix (like Betty Crocker Gingerbread Cookie Mix), you’re really in for some trouble. Take a look at the contents:
Enriched Flour Bleached, Sugar, Molasses, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean and/or Cottonseed Oil, Maltodextrin, Baking Soda, Spice, Cinnamon, Salt.
Not only are these cookies packed with high-glycemic flour, sugar and maltodextrin, they also contain one of the most harmful ingredients in the food supply: trans fat (in the form of hydrogenated oil).
How Trans Fats Make Your Belly Jiggle Like a Bowl Full of Jelly
We talk a lot about the importance of blood sugar control here at Wellness Bakeries. As you know, keeping an eye on your sugar and carb intake (from all sources!) is the key. But there’s something just as important that you MUST do to keep blood sugar levels in a healthy range: eat the right fats.
Fats are chemical messengers that send important signals to your metabolic system. They can increase inflammation or help to reduce it. They can make blood vessels dilate or constrict.
And when it comes to industrially produced trans fats, not only do they promote inflammation and constriction of the arteries, they can also compromise the integrity of cell membranes throughout your body.
Trans fats can cause cell walls to become inflexible. This can make them resistant to the transfer of nutrients into the cell and waste products out of the cell. As waste products continue to accumulate inside individual cells, tissues and organs begin to lose function. This happens in every part of your body – from your brain and eyes (causing memory decline and poor vision) to your blood vessels (causing inflammation), to joints and skin (causing stiffness, soreness, sagging and wrinkles).
So how does cell flexibility relate to blood sugar control?
When cells become rigid, they don’t take up insulin as they should – a term known as insulin resistance. In turn, the body pumps out more insulin to help get this critical substance into the cells and bring blood sugar levels down to a healthy range.
Because insulin is the “fat storage” hormone, one of the visible results of excess insulin is weight gain – especially around the middle.
But when your diet is low glycemic and centered around healthy fats (including saturated fats from pasture-raised animals and cold-pressed coconut oil, monounsaturated fats from foods like almonds, hazelnuts, macadamias and avocados and omega-3’s from wild caught fish), your cells respond very differently.
With increased permeability and flexibility, cell walls can “hear” insulin’s message and stored fat (including dangerous deep visceral fat) begins to melt away.
So what the heck does all of this have to do with gingerbread cookies, you ask?
Of course, any cookie you eat should be enjoyed in the context of a “treat”, that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy cookies without worrying about weight gain or poor health.
In fact, when you create a cookie using monounsaturated-rich almonds, low glycemic sweeteners, metabolism-boosting coconut oil, and powerful antioxidant spices, the “message” your body receives is one that enhances cellular health and encourages fat loss.
So the choice is yours: Eat traditional holiday cookies made with the kinds of ingredients listed above… or savor the same delicious-tasting cookies, made with intelligent ingredients.
(Can you guess which gingerbread man is made with intelligent ingredients?)
Making Healthy Gluten Free Gingerbread Cookies (with Just 1 Gram of Sugar!)
All you need is one package of Wellness Bakeries’ Ginger Spice Cookie Mix, two farm-fresh egg yolks, ¾ cup of melted virgin coconut oil, and a little bit of molasses or yacon syrup (these can be omitted, but they add wonderful chew and not much sugar to the final result).
You’ll also need a couple of baking sheets (preferably stainless steel to avoid harmful PFOA/PFTE in most non-stick pans), parchment paper or wax paper, rolling pin, measuring cup, electric hand mixer (or a whisk and a strong arm)… and of course a gingerbread man cookie cutter!
Simply add your wet ingredients to a medium bowl and whisk well to combine. Add your Ginger Spice Cookie Mix and beat with the mixer to incorporate. Transfer to the fridge or freezer until the dough becomes firm (but not frozen solid).
Place the chilled dough between two pieces of parchment or wax paper and roll it out. I make mine about ¼ inch thick. Once you have an even layer of dough, it’s time for the fun part: cutting out the gingerbread men. Make them as close together as possible to make for speedy work and less re-rolling.
(If you want a quick way to make eyes and a mouth for your gingerbread men, use two raisins. Slice one raisin in half width-wise for the eyes and slice another raisin length-wise for the mouth.)
Using a spatula, carefully place cut-out gingerbread men onto a lightly greased or parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 350 F for roughly 9-12 minutes (depending on the thickness of your dough). They are done when they begin turning brown around the edges – don’t overbake!
Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. (Please see below our gingerbread men for a special offer!)
Looking for the perfect treat for Santa this year? Grab our Santa’s Sampler including 1 Drinking Chocolate, 1 Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix, 1 Sugar Cookie Mix, 1 Ginger Spice Cookie Mix for just $42.95. That’s 6 dozen cookies and 35 cups of rich and steamy hot cocoa!
And don’t forget… as always, all orders over $75 ship free!