We had a client ask us about a Gingerbread Man recipe for the Holidays and that sparked an exploration and bake-a-thon that resulted in three recipes that are WFPB, oil-free and no refined sugar. We thought these would be great to share with you for the Holidays.
We love that we're able to create baked goods that have the richness and sweetness we're looking for without the usual oil, fat, sugar, eggs and little or no refined flour.
For the oil or fat (think butter or coconut oil) we use unsweetened applesauce. That maintains the moistness that oil provides with a lot fewer calories and negative health impact that oil and fat can bring. Substitute it one to one. If there's 1/2 cup butter, use 1/2 cup applesauce.
For refined sugar we use maple syrup, which is slightly refined but is anti-inflammatory and low on the glycemic scale compared to sugar. We also add some stevia, which is calorie free and has no glycemic impact, but can have a slightly bitter edge if it's the only sweetener. We find this bitterness varies a lot by brand and we like SweetLeaf Sweet Drops Liquid Stevia the best. It's available on Amazon if not at your health food store. Start by substituting 2 tablespoons of maple syrup and 1/4 teaspoon of liquid stevia for 1/2 cup sugar.
The eggs we replace with flax eggs, which is basically 1 tablespoon ground flax and 3 tablespoons of water for each egg. Add the flax to the water and let sit for 10-15 minutes. It has a very similar consistency to egg whites and works great as a binder. And using flax eggs adds omega-3 fatty acids to the recipe, which has been shown to be great for heart health and brain health.
For the refined flour, we use rolled oats or even whole cooked grains like brown rice or a combination of brown rice and whole oat groats. If the cooked grains make the recipe too heavy, we combine them with rolled oats. And if this combination, or rolled oats alone, is still too heavy, we make our own flour out of rolled oats, blended in the Vitamix for 10 seconds. It's like having a kind of fresh ground flour instead of flour that's been sitting on a shelf for weeks if not months.
So, these are the substitutions. The end result is not an exact replica of the original recipe with fat, sugar and flour, but as long as I'm looking for a tasty dessert and not expecting my mother's famous Gingerbread Men, it's a great way to go. And the truth is, our bodies always thank us for choosing the lower calorie, lower fat treats. We feel better and more satisfied than we ever did with the old desserts. They really are better to us on many levels.
Give these a try and let us know what you think.
To your Amazing Health,
Connie and Bill
Gingerbread Men (Or Ginger Cookies)
- 1 flax egg (1 tablespoon ground flax mixed in 2 1/2 tablespoons water. Set aside).
- 3 cups flour (homemade: 3 cups rolled oats blended on high 10 to 15 seconds)
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon allspice
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons unsweetened apple sauce
- 4 tablespoons maple syrup
- ¼ teaspoon stevia
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Add wet ingredients including the flax egg to a small bowl and mix well.
Bake 15-20 minutes. Less time provides softer cookies and more time creates crisper cookies.
Reindeer Crunch Cookies
- 3-4 bananas (4 bananas makes a softer cookie, 3 makes a more crunchy one)
- 3/4 cup almonds, chopped
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 8 dates, pitted and chopped
Preheat oven to 375º F.
Mash banana with fork in mixing bowl until it is a soft puree.
Cut each date into tiny pieces and add to bowl with mashed banana along with almonds, rolled oats, cinnamon and cranberries. Mix thoroughly.
Drop dough by tablespoonful onto cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, pressing and shaping into the size cookie you desire.
Bake 15 minutes, then allow to cool.
Pineapple Cranberry Oat Bake (Serves 4-6)
- 3 cups rolled oats
- 4 ounces whole cranberries, fresh or frozen and thawed
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon + 1 tablespoon cinnamon for topping
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie space
- 2 cups (24 oz.) unsweetened applesauce
- 20 ounces pineapple tidbits, drained
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup almonds, chopped
Preheat oven to 400º F.
Add dry ingredients in a large bowl - except the almonds - and mix well.
Add wet ingredients to the dry and mix well.
Press into 8" x 8" baking dish.
Mix almonds and 1 tablespoon cinnamon together and sprinkle on top.
Bake for 45 minutes.