By Edie Horstman, Integrative Nutrition Health Coach
When you think of gingerbread, what comes to mind? Most likely, it’s gingerbread houses and gingerbread cookies decorated with peppermint candies and irresistible icing. Or perhaps the delightfulness of molasses and ginger-infused bread is what you think of. For me, it’s definitely the latter. Gingerbread is a nostalgic food associated with the holidays and family traditions. It’s no surprise that all-things gingerbread make their appearance shortly after Thanksgiving.
With the holidays upon us, there’s no better time to start brainstorming the hors d’oeuvres, entrées and baked goods you plan to make this season. If you’ve been searching for the perfect gingerbread, look no further. While this gingerbread is grain-free and gluten-free, you would never know. Even my gluten-loving family members couldn’t get enough. For that matter, my husband ate half the loaf in one sitting. No regrets.
While a standard gingerbread loaf calls for white flour, brown sugar and butter, this recipe incorporates nutrient-dense ingredients — coconut oil, coconut flour, almond flour, pasture-raised eggs, molasses and the star of the show, Vibrant Collagen Creamer. While collagen creamer is typically mixed with coffee (or another hot liquid), you can also bake with it. It’s incredibly versatile and its health benefits are equally diverse.
Collagen is more than just a buzzword. It’s crucial to our wellbeing. As the most abundant protein in the body, collagen is found in everything from muscles and skin to bones, cartilage and ligaments. As you age, your body slowly lowers its collagen production. Therefore, adding this supplement to your regime can promote skin elasticity, protect your organs, provide structure to your joints and more. With your daily health in mind, Green Foods makes collagen products that are designed for everyday use. You can add their collagen to everything from tea and coffee to smoothies and soups. As you can imagine, though, not all collagen is created equal. Ingesting the highest quality collagen is ideal. Green Foods’ products incorporate collagen sourced from pasture-raised, grass-fed cows in Argentina. Not only is this collagen healthy and high quality, it’s also eco-friendly and sustainable. Check, check and check.
While the Vibrant Collagen Creamer is tasteless in this recipe, it’s a beneficial addition, nonetheless. Speaking of beneficial ingredients, there are a few components to this paleo gingerbread that are worth mentioning. Instead of baking with butter, I used coconut oil instead. Coconut oil contains natural saturated fats that increase the good cholesterol (HDL) in the body. For an additional boost of coconut, I also added coconut flour to this recipe. Unlike traditional flours, coconut flour is not actually a “flour.” It is made from ground and dried coconut meat, free of grains and nuts. It is a popular baking substitute for those with Celiac Disease, nut allergies, a gluten-sensitivity, leaky gut syndrome and those who adhere to a paleo lifestyle. I love that coconut flour is high in fiber and can help maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
I also opted to sweeten this bread with blackstrap molasses and maple syrup. As the lowest sugar content of any sugar cane product, blackstrap molasses packs a nutritional punch. It contains essential vitamins and minerals, such as iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, vitamin B6 and selenium. This ingredient is what gives the gingerbread both a distinct color and a rich, full taste. To make the bread slightly sweeter, I went with maple syrup. Maple syrup has various antioxidant properties and vitamins but be sure to use real maple syrup — not a maple-flavored sugar substitute.
Onto the recipe! Don’t be intimidated by the list of ingredients for this perfectly spiced gingerbread. It comes together easily and bakes in less than 40 minutes. Your entire home will smell like Christmas, and I guarantee both your paleo and non-paleo family members will be asking for seconds — and thirds.
PERFECTLY SPICED PALEO GINGERBREAD
Start to finish: 50 minutes
1 2/3 cup almond flour
1/3 cup coconut flour
3 tablespoons Vibrant Collagen Creamer
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
4 pasture-raised eggs
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
1/3 cup blackstrap molasses
1/4 cup real maple syrup
3/4 tablespoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 9-inch by 5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, mix together all dry ingredients. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, coconut oil, blackstrap molasses, maple syrup and vanilla extract.
- Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Fold until combined (but don’t overmix).
- Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the top has browned and a toothpick poked in the center comes out clean.
- Allow the bread to cool for 10 minutes, slice and serve warm.
This bread will keep in an airtight container for up to five days.
Nutrition information per serving: 266 calories; 43.5 calories from fat (21 percent of total calories); 19.2 g fat (8.1 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 65 mg cholesterol; 68.1 mg sodium; 19.6 g carbohydrate; 2.4 g fiber; 12 g sugar; 7.2 g protein.
Edie Horstman is a Colorado-based health coach, recipe developer and breakfast enthusiast.