Paleo Chewy Ginger Cookies

Grain Free Chewy Ginger Cookies

Grain free baking requires a good dose of creativity and courage. But trying to make grain free baked goods without allergens? That is a whole different ball game. The challenge has led me to some pretty unusual (and delicious) results like Butternut Squash Pizza Crust and Coconut Milk Cottage Cheese.

This recipe is no exception, and uses two unorthodox additions –gelatin and ground sunflower seeds–for a successful grain free, allergen free cookie!

Gelatin as an egg substitute

Odd ingredient #1: gelatin. Here, gelatin (preferably grassfed) acts as an egg replacer to bind and thicken the cookies. It also provides a delightfully chewy texture–an elusive feature in grain free baked goods. When used for baking, gelatin requires a unique treatment including letting the batter sit before baking and letting the end product rest after baking to set the cookies.

Want an alternative to almond flour?

Those of you following a grain free diet (be it the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, GAPS Diet or Paleo/Primal diet) know that grain free baked goods often rely on almond flour. Unfortunately, almond flour won’t work for those with nut allergies or sensitivities. Additionally, this ingredient costs a pretty penny and adds up when a pancake recipe calls for two cups of almond flour per batch.

My solution? At first, I relied on coconut flour to make grain free baked goods. Recently, I discovered that ground sunflower seeds make an excellent–and affordable–alternative to nut flours. I now use Sun-Flour (soaked sunflower seed flour) in many recipes. See a step-by-step picture tutorial for Sun-Flour.

In this recipe, I give the measurement of whole sunflower seeds to be ground for flour. I also give the weight of the measurement in ounces in case you would like to substitute another nut/seed flour or already have ground Sun-Flour.

I recommend using all nut/seed flour such as almond flour and sunflower seed flour in moderation, because of the anti-nutrient properties.

Grain Free Chewy Ginger Cookies

Yield: About 15 small cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbs. grassfed gelatin
  • 2 Tbs. coconut oil, melted
  • 2 Tbs. unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 Tbs. honey
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds, preferably soaked and dehydrated (or .9 oz. by weight nut flour or Sun-Flour)
  • 2 Tbs. coconut flour
  • Scant 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper. Mix together the gelatin, coconut oil, applesauce and honey.
  2. Finely grind the sunflower seeds in a coffee grinder for 10-15 seconds, until you have a find powder. Don't over-grind or you will get sunbutter. Stir the ground sunflower seeds, coconut flour and ginger into the gelatin mixture and let sit for 10 minutes to firm up slightly.
  3. Before baking, stir in the baking soda and vinegar. Drop by generous teaspoons onto the baking sheet and flatten slightly. Bake until golden, about 12-14 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest on the baking sheet for a full 20 minutes (do not remove cookies from baking sheet until they have set). The cookies will be "gooey-er" while warm and chewier at room temperature. For best texture, enjoy within a few hours of baking.

Notes

Makes about 15 cookies and they are best enjoyed the day they are made (you can halve the recipe if you and your family can't eat 15 cookies in one day... but mine can!)

http://empoweredsustenance.com/grain-free-chewy-ginger-cookies/

Are you challenged with making meals grain-free and allergen-free? Do you have any odd ingredients you rely on to make this work?

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Comments

    • says

      Hi Hope! You could try it if you like, but I think it would change the texture. They might be more cakey than chewy. I would recommend sticking with the gelatin, if possible.

    • Fina says

      I think you could try fruit pectin instead. Not sure how it would work with these cookies but it’s worth a try. I don’t like the idea of gelatin either. Yucky poo, but I try to avoid the cow altogether. I like them, but they don’t seem to like me. Dairy, beef, gelatin all seem to make my joints ache a bit.

  1. Melissa smith says

    I am so excited, nut free and egg free…woo hoo!!! Do you know how or when to use plantain flour? Sub for almond or sunflower maybe???? Please any guidance to help this autoimmune paleo gal would be great!!!

    • says

      I wish I could help, but I have never used plantain flour. I don’t know how it would work in this recipe. If you do experiment with it in these cookies, I’d love to hear how it turns out! :)

  2. Susan says

    What can we use instead of sunflower seeds and coconut flour? My son is allergic/sensitive to both. We do use almond flour because he can handle that, but would another non-grain flour work?

    • says

      Hi Susan! Coconut flour has a lot of unique properties and there isn’t a direct substitute for it. You could try using all almond flour (add enough to get a sticky dough–maybe 1/3-1/2 cup in total?). I don’t know how it would turn out, though, but it may be worth a try! And I wouldn’t suggest substituting anything for the gelatin. Gelatin from pastured sources like Great Lakes is a very nourishing, healing food.

  3. Lori says

    Could I use all coconut flour instead of the ground sunflower seeds? I got some Great Lakes gelatin last week and have been itching to use it. Plus I was just thinking this morning I’d like to make some cookies this afternoon. How great to see this recipe in my inbox!

  4. Katy says

    These look super amazing, and I can’t wait until I can try them!
    Is it necessary to include the baking soda/vinegar, though? I know the combination forms the leavening agent, but Dr. NCM doesn’t recommend consuming baking soda for most GAPS patients, as most of them have low stomach acid production anyway.

    • says

      Yeah, I understand the hesitation to use the baking soda. I try to use as little baking soda as possible, too. I’ve made these without the baking soda and vinegar and they were a bit flatter but still delicious. Enjoy!

  5. heather brandt says

    I’m worried I did something wrong with this recipe b/c it looks like so little “dough” for cookies. When you say 1/4 cup of sunflower seeds, you mean that I put 1/4 cup of seeds in grinder and grind them, right? It just doesn’t look like it could be 15 cookies at this rate in my recipe prep….

    • says

      Yep, 1/4 cup whole sunflower seeds, then grind them. The cookies are small… I tend to make small things and cook in small batches. You don’t have to make 15 cookies with them–you can make them larger and just less of them. Hope you enjoy!

  6. Liz says

    These weren’t as sweet as I would’ve hoped so next time I might add more honey. I thought they were pretty good but my relatively-healthy-but-still-SAD family and friends were not impressed but oh well. I think I made them too small too and they were a bit crumbly. My only problem was that they went moldy in less than 48h in a glass tupperware! Another reason to make them bigger… I should probably refrigerate them right away next time…

    • says

      Interesting… mold in 48 hours? Were they steaming when you packed them away? Because the extra moisture can foster mold growth. Otherwise, I’m puzzled about that! My family thought these tasted too “healthy” for them, too… but I appreciate having an egg/grain/nut free treat!

  7. says

    Hi Lauren,

    My family and I are starting the GAPS diet because we want to get healthy, and also because I have ulcerative colitis.
    My mom found your site and now (I hope) we can have delicious foods (like ginger cookies, yum!) and still stay on the gaps diet!

    So basically, thanks a ton for all of the great recipes!
    Charity

  8. Amy says

    Hi! I see you often use unsweetened applesauce in your recipes. I typically never have that on hand… Can you recommend a substitute? Thanks!

  9. Erica says

    Hi! I just bought the Bernard Jenson gelatin, but it has a slight flavor to it. Would this ruin the cookies? Should I get the Great Lakes unflavored instead?

    • says

      No, it will be fine! I think the Great Lakes has a slight flavor, too… I think it’s just the gelatin. But I can’t taste it in the baked cookies!

  10. Terri S. says

    Wow…..awesome, awesome cookies! The best grain free cookies I have ever made. I just read through the comments where a person asked if you used the gelatin wet or dry and you said, dry. I didn’t know this and I made mine using the gelatin right after I mixed it before it set and the cookies turned out great. I also used the gelatin the next day after it set in my fridge and just warmed it up to melt a bit before making my next batch of cookies….again YUM! Thank you for sharing your recipe!

    • Maya says

      Terri –
      When you say you made yours using gelatin “after you mixed it”, what do you mean exactly? I was thinking of doing the same thing, but wanted to get more details before I did. Did you soften your gelatin in 1 TB water and then add 2 TB boiling water (for egg replacement)? Let me know the details of what you did. Can’t wait to try this.

  11. Emily says

    I made these cookies this morning, and they are so yummy! The texture is perfect: chewy yet delicate. In the future I think I’ll use more snickerdoodle-esque spices and see how they turn out. Thanks for another great recipe!

  12. Simon says

    I noticed that you are using “Sun Flour” in some of your recipes. In other articles you say that Almond flour is not good to use, one reason being the PUFA’s being unstable and likely to oxidize during baking. I thought Sunflower oil is also high in PUFA’s and equally likely to oxidize during baking. Sorry but I am a bit confused by this, or perhaps I just don’t understand PUFA’s well enough. I have just found your website and I think it is great. Thank you for all the ideas.

  13. Amanda says

    Hi there, just wondering can you freeze the cookies? and then take them out to enjoy another day? thanks. I’ve not done any baking like this before, but it seems a lot of work if you have to eat them all on the same day….rather than being able to pu them in shcool lunches through the week etc.

  14. Geraldine says

    Hi
    Yeh I’m with Simon on this one
    Sunflower seeds are very high in PUFAS. Don’t understand why you’d use them with what you know about almonds. They’re actually higher than almonds if you do the research

    • says

      This was written before my almond flour post. I am always learning and I developed this recipe before doing more research on PUFAS and baking with nuts. But, like I mention in my almond flour post, baking with nuts/seeds is totally fine for most people IN MODERATION.

  15. Becky says

    I already have my sunflower seed flour soaked, dehydrated, and ground. Would the 1/4 cup of seeds equal about 1/4 cup of ground flour? i’m guessing maybe a little less flour? I’m sorry to be a pain!

  16. Michaela says

    Oh my gosh. These are AWESOME. I just made these and I couldn’t believe the great texture! I added a good dose of cinnamon to mine (personal preference) and they tasted like cinnamon bread. I’d bet they’d be even further enhanced with raisins. You create amazing recipes!! =)

  17. Vicki says

    Lauren, I love your website!! I am 46, yet you, a young girl, gave me the courage I needed to take control of my diet for the sake of my health. These cookies are absolutely awesome. So tasty and versatile. I didn’t have applesauce and don’t have a problem with eggs, so I used egg in them. One batch turned out crispy and one was chewy. All the better!!! I added more ginger, some cardamom and coriander, and made them like ginger snaps. This time I’m trying cinnamon for a snickerdoodle taste. I think they’d work with chocolate and other flavors too.

    Also, I wanted to share my experience with eating them past the day they’re made. I needed to take them on a trip, so I froze one batch and refrigerated the other. I just warmed them in the oven for 10 minutes or so and they were right back to freshly made.
    Thanks again for your great ideas.

  18. Heather Y says

    Oh my gosh, I love these!! I’ve been making your 3 ingredient coconut flour cookies for about a year, which I LOVE. I make those with coconut oil instead of butter. So now I knew I HAD to try these, and made them for the first time today. YUM. I used butternut squash puree instead of applesauce, added some cinnamon and a dash of vanilla extract, and used sunflower seed butter instead of flour. I already had homemade sunbutter in my fridge, and hoped that it would turn out ok. It did! They spread beautifully and are SO chewy and tasty- I already ate like 5. :) Love the healthy gelatin benefits too! Thank you so much for this recipe.

  19. Jean says

    I followed the recipe except subbed in Almond Flour for the Sun Flower (I was just too lazy to grind up sunflower seeds) – they are so delicious. It’s rare that find a grain-free dessert without eggs. Hubby and I gobbled them up. The texture is amazing. Crispy and chewy. Your baked goods never disappoint. LOVE!

  20. Katie says

    Hi Lauren,
    I wish I could just give you a warm hug:)
    I just made these Chewy Ginger Cookies and they are fantastic!!! I used 2 tblsp coconut butter in place of the sun flour, and they turned out so well! I was so excited to have something yummy to eat!
    I am currently dealing with hashimotos and very worn out adrenals. I’m learning to eat lots of good fats and to listen to my body. I just want to say I appreciate you so much! You are my favorite site to visit! I know I can count on thorough research when i come to empowered sustenance. Its so nice to have someone speaking truth in regards to diet and autoimmune diseases! I have hope when I read your articles and recipes;-there is food out there that I can eat!!! I do have a question, could you consider doing an article on your vegetables, how you prepare them (fermented?) etc.? I’m struggling with not being able to digest vegetables (especially raw), I’m interested in learning more about how others with autoimmune diseases prepare their vegetables. It feels so wrong not to eat tons of raw veggies! -Yes, another way I am learning to listen to my body:) Perhaps you have already done an article(s) on this and I have missed it?
    Wow, I just really love and appreciate your site! God bless you richly as you bless so many others!

    • says

      Katie, I deeply appreciate your comment and kind words! I’m so glad you liked this recipe and the other posts here.

      As for the veggies, that is a good idea for a post. I don’t eat any raw veggies (because I can’t tolerate them) besides some sauerkraut, beet kvass and a raw carrot per day (it’s super healthy for hormones, I’ll discuss that soon!). If you can’t tolerate the raw veggies, don’t eat them. Simple as that. It’s not wrong if that’s what your body needs for the time being :)

  21. Amanda says

    These were incredible. I think I ate half the batch immediately (whoops). I made a few modifications since I didn’t have sunflower seeds and I’m low FODMAPS, so I thought I’d share in case anybody else has problems with apples and honey. I used greek yogurt (plain, 0%) instead of applesauce, maple syrup instead of honey, and ground almonds instead of sunflower seeds. I love ginger so I added a bit more than you suggested, and also added some cinnamon, nutmeg, and a dash of vanilla extract. I’m also cool with eggs, so I added 2 TBS egg whites. They were so, so, ridiculously, phenomenally good. Mine were probably not as chewy/crispy as yours because of the egg whites and maple syrup, but for people with IBS who want to also add a bit more protein whatever I whipped up also definitely worked! Thank you so much for all your recipes, I’ve made quite a few and they’re always fantastic. You also introduced me to gelatin (!!!) and I’ve been making kombucha jello, and throwing it into lots of other recipes. Also seems to help with digestive problems… amazing.

  22. liz says

    Thank you I have been trying to find an alternative to coconut flour, I love it but it is produced using sulfites so I can’t eat it, its a challenge to avoid sulfites but my intolerance is getting less so hopefully one day I can reintroduce some things. I think raw milk has been the biggest help for me.

  23. liz says

    Should also say I have to use fresh ginger, I boil it up and squeeze the liquid into a jar, or grate pieces from frozen as ground ginger, like most ground spices, is produced using sulfites. Tea bags, fruit teas etc. Are all out unless I dry the ingredients myself.

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