Grain-Free (Paleo) Gingerbread

Nov 6, 2012 by

Wherever I go, there’s always that one person who will say “well, so-and-so said that XYZ is not Paleo.”

And then I punch them in the face and run away. (And by “run” I mean “hobble rapidly” as I am still dealing with plantar issues so bad I could cry.)

Part of the reason I eschew  the word “Paleo” or “Primal” so often (I do use it for SEO reasons in recipe titles) is because I believe the label is losing credibility as the “Paleo diet” becomes a fad. I mean I just saw an article in a magazine about the “new caveman diet” with a picture of a lady holding up a raw steak. I mean, RILLY PEEPS? Will it die down eventually? Sure. And those that will remain will be the same ones of us who eat this way for health, longevity, perfomance, etc. and not to be “skinny.”

Anyway, I have a point. I used blackstrap molasses in this recipe which I’m sure many people might argue is not Paleo which the only sweeteners people seem to accept are maple syrup or honey. However, I did my research and I’ve come to the conclusion that not only is it a better choice of sweetener for some Real Food recipes, it’s one of the only sweeteners that has some pretty incredible nutritional benefits.

(Graph Credit WHFoods)

What exactly is it? “Blackstrap molasses is just one type of molasses, the dark liquid that is the byproduct of the process of refining sugar cane into table sugar. Blackstrap molasses is made from the third boiling of the sugar syrup and is therefore the concentrated byproduct left over after the sugar’s sucrose has been crystallized. “

So in short molasses …”is concentrating the nutrients but not the sugars – providing a surplus of nutrients needed to metabolize sugar and ounce-for-ounce more minerals than perhaps any other food.”

Basically, it’s full of manganese, copper, iron, calcium, and potassium – things that are hard to find even in the most nutritious diets. Many people report crazy benefits when taking molasses as a supplement daily, including better sleep, less night time leg movements (jimmy legs) or cramping, hair regrowth where thinning, etc.

Look, I’m not saying you should go out and start chugging molasses but after reading everything I could find on it, I’m very very comfortable using it as a sweetener as well as recommending that you can and should as well. And if someone tells you it’s not Paleo, tell them they can’t have any of your gingerbread.

I decided to bake gingerbread because it was one of Mike’s favorite holiday treats from a neighbor growing up. She would bring it over and it was dark and moist and quite possibly the best gingerbread I’ve ever tasted in my life. After being diagnosed Celiac and now moving onto our cleaner-eating lifestyle, we haven’t been able to find a semi decent way to replicate it without tarnishing the memory of the original.

Until yesterday.

I tweaked and messed with the spices and batter until I got the correct sweetness and flavors and then I switched up the baking times and temps to get it to be chewy on the edges but super moist and delicious inside. Please make sure you follow the instructions properly – I know it seems like a lot of ingredients but it’s mostly just quite a few spices that are needed to get that accurate gingerbread taste.

My next goal is to figure out how to take this recipe from moist gingerbread to a firm hard cookie dough so we can have our little gingerbread men for the holidays!

I used a 13X9 glass Pyrex baking dish, greased with coconut oil, for this and cut them into squares and they came out perfectly with a spatula.


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  1. Can’t wait to try this– love gingerbread!

  2. Martha Perry

    Thank you for this recipe, will be making it tomorrow!
    Plantar issues, ugh. I have/have had multiple issues with tendonitis in many areas of my feet as well as other foot issues. I don’t know what your views on medical intervention are, but for me they are necessary due to multiple chronic rheumatological issues. I have had good relief from rheumatologist/podiatrist interventions. Good luck. Martha

  3. karen

    I use blackstrap molasses all the time…yummm. My favorite gingerbread recipe can be made into cookies by doubling the amount of flour. Of course, it’s based on whole wheat flour, I’m not sure on the translation to almond flour.

  4. Amy

    I love Gingerbread. Thank you for your research on Molasses (love nutrient dense food) and the recipe. My holidays will be happier with this recipe to try. You rock :)

  5. KLM

    Basically, this is spiced frangipani or spiced marzipan. It certainly could be categorized that way. Reminds me also of medieval recipes that emphasize nuts over grains.

  6. I made your Harvest Chicken Apple Stew and loved it. I can’t wait to try this. I’ve only been eating Paleo for 3 1/2 weeks, but already I can feel a difference in my mind and body. I was diagnosed with Celiac 5 year ago and could never really quite get a handle on it until now. Thanks for making it easier!!

  7. Laurie

    Over the last couple months I’ve read lots of your blog. Your energy levels makes me tired :)

    In any event, I had chronic plantar issues until I was a year gluten free AND got my thyroid meds adjusted properly. There is a huge link between autoimmune thyroid disease (Hashimotos) and celiac. If you haven’t had your thyroid antibodies tested you should. And interestingly, Hashis patients frequently report that plantar issues disappear when their thyroid is properly treated.

    I also had great luck with using an ART practitioner. It hurts like crazy, but it did bring about a lot of relief.

  8. I definitely am in the blackstrap is good camp. This recipe sounds right up my alley!

  9. I am so making this! It looks fantastic and I love the ingredients. I don’t really care about the paleo-ness of it… I just want it to be healthier and this definitely qualifies. :)

    By the way, I have bad plantar issues too and am in my second week of extracorporeal shockwave therapy. Holy cow! The doctor wasn’t lying when she said it would be “unpleasant.” I hope we both find relief soon!

  10. YUM! That sounds really yummy. My fear is that if I make this I alone will eat the entire pan.

  11. Amy

    These sound delicious! Will be making a pan this weekend :) Do you think it would work with coconut flour?

  12. Beth

    Turned out great! Consistency (and appearance) of mine were more like a Gingerbread ‘brownie’. Topped with whipped cream – yum !

  13. Sounds simple and delicious. I love ginger bread and molasses is a fav sweetener of mine as well.

  14. Caroline

    Thanks for this very timely recipe! You rock! Will try it asap. Just one question, where did you get your molasses from/which brand did you use? Thanks!!!

  15. Oh, I just made this. SO GOOD. Thank you! I used maple syrup instead of extract, but it tastes great anyway.

  16. Eden

    Yum, yum! Could you hurry now and figure out the recipe for a gingerbread house? I want to try that too!

  17. Zan

    I made these for Thanksgiving and enjoyed them very much. Thanks for a great recipe!

  18. kookie

    I definitely would not use coconut flour. Ive ruined lots of things replacing with it, stick with almond flour, so yummy! I can’t wait to make this, I just need cardamom. And maple extract is called mapleine, right? I LOOOOVE molasses, some things cannot be replaced! Thanks for the hard work in getting this recipe out there. :)

  19. Yay! I love love love gingerbread and all the comforting feelings that come along with it. I’ve been searching for a grain free recipe and just stumbled on yours. I can’t wait to try it.

  20. jessie

    This turned out great. I agree with the other post, the texture was more like a brownie which was a plus for me. I love that it was not nearly as sweet as a traditional recipe. We served it with honey-sweetened chai latte on Christmas eve, everyone loved it including the children and our SAD-eaters friends.

  21. Lisa

    To me-not gingerbread. Was a wonderful spice cake tho. I have a new recipe in my box for baking. Loved the texture and the level of sweetness.

  22. Lisa

    I made with amaranth flour and found I had to add some sugar, which I pawn off on friends who love them.

  23. I will have to try this! I was thinking I would have to sub the almond flour for coconut somehow, but I might give amaranth a try. And maybe some sort of lemon-ey topping…… yuuuuurrrrrm! Thank you for this recipe!

  24. Thanks for sharing this recipe! I just made it and it is really very good — the flavor is really nice and the crumb/texture is great! I give it a 2 Thumbs up!! AND my Nutri-Savvy stamp of Approval!

  25. Thanks so much for this recipe!

    I have such a hard time doing a ‘paleo’ diet because I still have a lot of problems with FODMAPs, so honey and maple syrup are just awful for me. As it turns out, molasses is one of the few sweeteners I can eat, and I desperately want gingerbread this holiday season. I’m really looking forward to trying it! (Also, thanks for not using coconut flour…that’s another one that makes me sick.)

  26. Michele

    For all you with plantar fasciitis get rolfed..

  27. Thank you. This recipe has become a family favorite. I like to top it with my homemade cranberry sauce.

  28. Mariann

    I am so looking forward to making this! Happening tomorrow so thank you. As was stated in a previous reply, very timely:)

    Also, I am a yoga teacher and have great success in assisting clients to heal plantar issues – not to mention my own.

    If you like we can communicate via email, you have my address:)

    Wishing you healing!

  29. Nicole

    Is there anything that can be used to replace the coconut oil?


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