When I think about how changes like subbing flours, use of fat, or even as small as reducing a baking soda amount can make a baking recipe quicker, easier, and better, then I am up for the challenge. Especially so with my ginger cookies. We can’t live without these things and since we are giving grains a break until the end of the month, I gave them a makeover. These are a chunkier, thicker paleo version of the original that has me over-the-moon-excited over how freakin good it is.
Just way too good not to share. And bake. And eat!!
I got to work on these a couple of months ago knowing that my family will be questioning its whereabouts. I originally created the recipe, seven years ago, to give as a holiday gift to a teacher with a gluten and egg allergy. After my cookie monsters tried the few lingering, it quickly became a family favorite — in our house, it’s the cookie that says ‘hey chilly days are here, the holidays are near, and time for marshmallow-topped hot chocolate and ginger cookies people’. Yep, and ‘gift me because you know they want me‘.
Replacing the original GF flours with grain-free flours can sometimes be tricky without eggs but the combination of chestnut and tapioca proved otherwise. Coconut flour without eggs yields dry fall-apart cookie crumbles, that was a fail. I tried cassava but found it to made them too chewy (and too starchy) with no crisp exterior to sink my teeth into. I need a crispy exterior! So when my chestnut flour package arrived it was as if the gates of cookie heaven opened. Yes, chestnut flour, you are so good to me.
Feeling courageous (and out of time because I had school pick-up), I also ditched all the hand-rolling-each-ball step and made a dozen huge ones – bigger and chunkier than I ever have – because some days call for big-as-your-head cookies. The amazing thing about this recipe is that they can be baked big without falling apart. Without the need for eggs to bind them. Without fail. The palm shortening helps give them the right chew; but with the growing concern over how it’s harvested and what it’s doing to the rainforests, you may want to read this –> https://www.thepaleomom.com/wiki/palm-shortening/
With our evolving food limitations to treat health issues, the quest to adapt recipes is sometimes a necessary one. But just because we are experimenting with grain-free, doesn’t necessarily mean you are, so, I am leaving the original recipe as-is. If you are grain-free (or just love chunkier, chewier cookies) then this is one to add to your holiday baking list. Psst! No rolling required.
These big chunky cookies made their way into pumpkin pie crusts for Thanksgiving (and breakfast the next day. Hubby and I shamelessly took the last of it.) … the deep ginger flavor crust was the perfect pairing to the pumpkin (no-bake) filling … will be sharing THAT next should you be looking for an easy holiday pie, or a Friday pie, Monday pie, or a just wanna eat pie kind of day.
In the meantime, here’s to weekend baking the-most-heavenly-best-chunky-yet-chewy-center-crispy-outer-of-full-of-ginger-spice-cookie you will ever eat. 🙂
Cheers! Xx Jessica
- 2 cups (226 grams) chestnut flour
- ½ cup + 2 tablespoons (78 grams) tapioca flour
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground clove
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking soda
- 6 ounces (169 grams) palm shortening
- 1 cup (155 grams) coconut sugar (or light brown sugar), packed
- ¼ cup blackstrap molasses
- 3 tablespoons (60 grams) chunky, unsweetened applesauce
- ¼ cup raw sugar for topping
- NOTE: Cook Time is for large cookies. Yield is for smaller cookies. PREP TIME is for 3 dozen cookies.
- Preheat Oven Temperature to 375 degrees F. Line 1-3 baking sheet pans with parchment paper. Larger cookies need one pan. Smaller cookies need three pans.
- Combine and whisk flours, ginger, cinnamon, clove, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl, set aside.
- In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or a hand mixer, add palm shortening, coconut sugar, molasses, and applesauce to beat on low speed until the sugar gets absorbed by the shortening, then increase speed to medium for 2-3 minutes. Reduce speed, then add the dry blend. Mix until just combined. Scrape any unmixed cookie dough left at the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
- Add raw sugar to a small bowl, set aside.
- For 12 large cookies (about 4-inches round): use a large ice cream scooper to scoop cookie dough then transfer to baking sheet pans.
- For 3 dozen smaller cookies (1½-inch rounds): use a mini ice cream scooper to scoop dough then transfer to baking sheet pans.
- After all the dough has been scooped, grab each and place one side into the raw sugar, gently pressing the cookie into the sugar to flatten to about a ½-inch thickness. Transfer the cookies back onto the baking sheet pans, spaced about 2-inches apart.
- Bake large cookies 13-15 minutes. Bake smaller cookies 9-11 minutes. The lower baking times will yield chewier cookies.
- Let cookies cool directly on the baking sheets for 15-20 minutes to fully set before serving.
- Note: Dough can be frozen, in an airtight container, for up to a month. For single-serve baking: scoop out individual cookies, place on a baking sheet and freeze. When frozen, transfer to a freezer-safe ziplock bag. Thaw for at least 4 hours or up to a day, refrigerated. Then bake amount of cookies desired.
- To make ahead: prepare the dough then plastic wrap, or transfer into a plastic container, keep refrigerated for up to two days. Let it come to room temperature (set on the counter for an hour) before baking.
- *Note on allergies: although this may be considered a 'nut-free' cookie since it doesn't contain almond, cashew, or other tree nuts, however, chestnut is actually a nut. For those with a nut allergy, consult with your doctor.
- Note on Paleo: raw sugar is not considered Paleo by many, if on a strict Paleo diet, omit the raw sugar for the topping. Also, when using coconut sugar for strictly Paleo, use fresh coconut sugar that feels soft in the package and doesn't appear to be dry for best results.
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