The festive season can be a bit rough on even the healthiest person’s diet. So, while I might forego as much sugar as possible during the year, there’s no way I’ll turn down cinnamon roasted almonds over Christmas. That being said, when there is a way to up the health anti on a much-loved classic, it’s a win-win in my book. My annual gingerbread cookies get a makeover this year with cassava flour and coincidentally, make a charmingly thoughtful gift for a highly gluten intolerant friend. Here’s my easy recipe for gluten-free gingerbread biscuits.

Because the cassava flour dries out the recipe significantly I had to up the egg and butter quantity, but with those small tweaks, I was quite happy with how these turned out. Unfortunately, I don’t know of an alternative to icing sugar but I’m certain one exists if you feel like continuing the quest to health-ify these gingerbreads. Leave a comment below if you find a neat health hack that works.

Ingredients

250g honey
100g sugar (you can also use coconut sugar)
120g butter
3 eggs
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
3 drops almond essence
500g cassava flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp baking powder

Method:

1. In a saucepan or small pot bring the honey, sugar and butter to a gentle simmer.
2. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
3. Beat the eggs and all the spices together until light and frothy.
4. Pour this slowly into your cooled honey mixture while stirring constantly.
5. Mix the flour, bicarbonate soda and baking powder and knead together until a well-formed dough ball emerges.
6. Cover this with a dishcloth and set aside to rest for 2 hours.
7. Set the oven temperature to 180ºC and begin rolling out the dough on a floured surface.
8. The dough may still be a little crumbly around the edges but you should be able to work in small portions and roll the dough to about 4mm thick.
9. Next, use your preferred cookie cutter moulds to stamp out your biscuit shapes and transfer them to a lightly greased baking pan. I went with the hearts instead of men simply because I was feeling the love and didn’t want to gift my pro-feminism friend lots of tiny men biscuits. She’ll appreciate it – you, of course, can go with your own flow.
10. Bake this in the oven for 15–20 minutes. Keep an eye on them because they will go from gorgeously golden to burnt like to a crisp quite quickly.

Once you’ve allowed them to cool sufficiently, you can set about painting them with icing sugar or decorating them in all manner of creative ways. I simply used icing sugar and water mixed to a thickish consistency and then part-painted the biscuits with a teaspoon. A piping bag works better if you’re wanting hyper detail. Enjoy the decoration and creation of your gluten-free biscuits, as it’s true when they say we eat with our eyes (and hearts).

Happy baking!