When I first started following the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) last year, I didn’t give much thought to how the diet would impact my emotional state during the holidays. I made it through Halloween and Thanksgiving on my AIP diet (nut free, dairy free, egg free among other restrictions) completely content with my decision to comply with the diet. Then Christmas rolled in with all its standard holiday fare; goodies and treats in tow. While regular paleo Christmas treats are a dime a dozen these days, AIP-friendly Christmas treats are a bit more scarce… for good reason, too.
The Autoimmune Protocol is focused around consuming nutrient dense foods, like homemade bone broth and organ meats. I’m not sure about you, but these healing foods don’t necessarily fall under the “Christmas treat” category in my book.
Instead of throwing in the towel on my AIP diet and succumbing to the nut flour and egg filled paleo Christmas cookies, I decided to indulge a bit. I sought out to recreate several of my favorite holiday treats in an AIP compliant form, and accepted the fact that while they may not be beneficial to my gut healing protocol, they certainly wouldn’t be a detriment. I realized instead of feeling bummed out I couldn’t partake in the treats of the season, I could step away from my AIP perfection and enjoy some treats of the season.
My first successful attempt at AIP baking yielded these sugar cookies, which I adapted into the Gingerbread Cookies featured in this post. As much as it sounds like an exaggeration, these cookies truly saved my diet. They allowed to to stick to AIP through the holidays with 100% compliance, even if it meant I had to stick to the first phase of the protocol a bit longer than intended.
Although I’ve since successfully reintroduced eggs and grass fed dairy into my diet, these AIP cookies are still in rotation in my holiday household. Whether you’re following the AIP diet or not, try them out! I assure you, they will not disappoint.
You can get this recipe along with 50 pages of paleo friendly and AIP compliant recipes in the free holiday ebook, Paleo Cookie Exchange, which I created with the lovely ladies at Barefoot Provisions and Flabs to Fitness. You can get your copy for free by clicking the ebook below.
Gingerbread Cookies (AIP Modifications)
Yields 2 dozen cookies
Find Gingerbread cookie cutters HERE!
3/4 cup coconut flour (find it here)
3/4 cup arrowroot starch (find it here)
1/4 cup coconut sugar (find it here)
1/4 cup blackstrap molasses (find it here)
1/2 cup organic powdered sugar (find it here) – if following AIP, replace with this powdered sugar recipe
2 teaspoons baking powder (find it here)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (find it here)
1 teaspoon ground cloves (find it here)
1 teaspoon ground ginger (find it here)
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (find it here)
1 teaspoon guar gum (find it here) – omit if following AIP
3/4 cup palm shortening (find it here)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (find organic and gluten-free here)
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place in the fridge to chill.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients.
- Using a hand or stand mixer, slowly add in the wet ingredients.
- Mix until the dough forms a ball.
- Using two sheets of parchment paper, roll out the dough to 1/4” thick. Cut out the dough with a gingerbread cookie cutter.
- Place each cookie cut out on the chilled, parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the cookies are just starting to brown.
- Slide the parchment paper off the cookie sheet and allow to cool before touching.
- Chill cookie sheet between baking cookie batches.
- Let completely cool before piping with buttercream icing.
Buttercream Icing (AIP Modifications)
Yields 1 3/4 cup icing
1 cup organic powdered sugar (find it here)
3/4 cup unsalted, grass fed butter (softened) or sustainably harvested palm shortening (find it here)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (find organic and gluten-free here)
- Using a hand or stand mixer, bring together all ingredients until well combined. Make sure the butter is completely softened, but not melted prior to mixing.
- Place in a pastry bag with a small metal tip, and use to pipe the icing onto the sugar cookies or gingerbread cookies. Icing will slightly harden as it dries.
Note: For AIP, use this powdered sugar substitute recipe. This will yield more of a creamy colored icing.