Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Emily's Ginger Cookies (gluten-free, nut-free, egg-free, vegan)

I received an email from a reader about two weeks ago for an allergen-free ginger cookie. When I saw the recipe I knew I had to give them a try. Here is the lovely email that Pam sent me:

Ali, I have been following your blog for a while. We are gluten-free, dairy-free, corn-free, and some other stuff, and I have enjoyed reading your recipes. Recently my niece has been tested as intolerant to gluten, rice, dairy, egg, corn, cane sugar, yeast, vanilla, cinnamon, apple, and others. I sent her family a link to your website for rice-free recipes. I have been working on a cookie recipe that would work for little Emily (who is not yet two). Today's batch was quite successful, and I thought I would share it with you, since you have shared so much with us.

Pam also mentioned in a follow-up email that she needed to design a recipe that other family members could eat. So soy, nuts, and a number of other spices were also out. They could also only use small amounts of higher-fructose syrups like honey and agave.

Thanks Pam for all of your experimenting! I made this recipe yesterday with my 5 year old nephew and needed to modify it a little. I added a few tablespoons more oil and date soaking water and also a little vanilla and cinnamon. After the cookies came out of the oven my nephew exclaimed that "these were like the best cookies he has had in like 5 years!"

I hope you enjoy these cookies as much as we did. My 7 year old daughter was asking this morning when I was going to make them again!

Date Sweetened Vegan Ginger Cookies

I used 15 pitted medjool dates here which equaled 1 cup, packed. If the dough seems too dry then add more of the date soaking water, a tablespoon at a time. Store in an airtight container.

15 medjool dates, pitted (soaked for 15 minutes in boiling water)
6 tablespoons coconut oil (grapeseed would work too)
4 tablespoons date soaking water
1 tablespoon maple syrup, honey, or agave nectar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 ¼ c sorghum flour
½ c tapioca flour
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon xanthan gum
¼ to ½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ tsp nutmeg
½ teaspoon cinnamon
few pinches of sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil a large cookie sheet.
Place the dates into a bowl and pour boiling water over to cover. Soak for about 15 minutes. Then place soaked dates (drain off the water and save) into a food processor and add the coconut oil, soaking water, syrup, and vanilla. Process until smooth.

Mix the remaining dry ingredients into a bowl and whisk together. Add the dry ingredients to the food processor and process until just combined. **I used a Vitamix to mix the wet ingredients and then I poured it into the dry ingredients and mixed it all together with a fork.

Roll into small balls and place on the cookie sheet. Use your hands or the bottom of a cup to flatten each cookie. **I used the bottom of a 1/4-cup measuring cup.

Bake for 11 to 14 minutes. Makes 16 cookies

Other Gluten-Free, Egg-Free Cookie Recipes:

About the Author

Alissa Segersten holds a Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition from Bastyr University. She is the founder of Whole Life Nutrition, the mother of five children, a whole foods cooking instructor, professional recipe developer, and cookbook author. She is passionate about helping others find a diet that will truly nourish them, and offers elimination diet recipes, healthy gluten-free recipes, paleo and vegan recipes, as well as tips for feeding your family a nourishing, whole foods diet. Alissa is the author of two very popular gluten-free, whole foods cookbooks and guidebooks: The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook and Nourishing Meals. She is also the co-author of The Elimination Diet book. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!


  1. These look great! I just discovered that I'm gluten intolerant, and I've had trouble finding dessert recipes that use fruit as a sweetener. I can't wait to try them!

  2. What a great and simple whole cookie recipe. I love using dates as a sweetener- the sweetness plus all the nutrients.

  3. You're welcome, glad you and the kiddos enjoyed them!

    Here is my original recipe, if anyone needs to avoid cinnamon and vanilla like Emily!


    Emily’s Ginger Cookies

    200 g dates (soaked for an hour or two)
    3 tbs oil (canola)
    2 tbs date soaking water
    1 tbs honey/maple syrup/agave nectar

    1 ¼ c sorghum flour
    ½ c tapioca flour
    ¼ tsp baking soda
    ¼ tsp xanthan gum
    1/8 tsp ground ginger
    ½ tsp nutmeg

    1. Preheat oven 350F
    2. Process first four ingredients (drain the dates) in food processor until very smooth.
    3. Whisk together the dry ingredients, add them to the wet ingredients and process/stir together
    4. Form 1 – 1 1/2” balls, flatten on cookie tray lined with parchment. They will not spread. Bake 11 min.
    5. Makes approx 21 cookies

  4. Katie - Thanks, hope you enjoy! :)

    Meghan - This is a great simple cookie recipe. Also another great toddler snack idea. :)

    Pam - Thanks for posting your original recipe, I had just thought to post it in the comment section but I see you did already. I am sure it is interesting for people to see the changes I made. Thanks again for sharing your delicious allergy-free recipe with me! :)


  5. Ali - these look yummy. I love using dates as a sweetener in baked goods. Can't wait to try them!


  6. I love using dates as a sweetener. It's a good, earthy sweetness that's so satisfying.

    Thanks for a great cookie recipe. I don't often make cookies - I don't know why. But I love ginger and want to give these a try.

  7. Ellen - Thanks (actually thank Pam), hope you enjoy! :)

    Amy - I too love using dates as a sweetener in baking and in raw desserts and snacks. I use dates in my chocolate chip cookies much like this recipe does. :)

    Katrina - Enjoy! :)

  8. Those look wonderful.

    Quick question (I am so not a cook), when you say boiling water for the dates - is this just boiling water poured over them or is it that they are in the boiling water on the stove for 15 minutes?


  9. Zmama - Yes just pour boiling water over them. Or you can soak them in room temp water for a few hours like the original recipe indicated. I just like to have a recipe I can make in an instant and not wait for things like the dates to soak. I am sure both methods work equally well.

    -Ali :)

  10. Those look so irresistible! I have a cookie recipe where I soak the raisins, so same concept. Natural sweeteners are wonderful. I still need to get on that bandwagon more.

    We did just get 4 gallons of honey from our bees! As natural as it comes, but still don't want to use too much. :-)


  11. Shirley - That cookie recipe sounds great, soaked raisins, wow! I love the honey from your bees. My girls used little spoonfuls in their tea for months, just to savor it. :)

  12. Thank you Pam and Ali for sharing this recipe with us! I made it yesterday and can see why your nephew thought they were the best ever! I had a hard time not wanting to eat the whole batch as it came out of the oven so I froze part of it aftery they cooled.

  13. FortheloveofFood - Thanks! So glad you enjoyed them! Freezing part of the batch sounds like a great idea.

    -Ali :)

  14. Mine turned out squishy soft. Are they supposed to be squishy cookies? They're good, but the texture is different than I expected. I like that the flavor is really light and mellow. I used a heart cookie-cutter to make indentations in them for D. and I imagine she is going to ask for those yummy heart cookies again!

    Looking forward to a post about toddler/baby foods!

  15. Jennifer - Hmm, mine were not squishy but they were soft and more cake-like. These are not a crispy cookie. I guess it would be hard to decifer that from the photo. Possibly under-measuring the flour or over-measuring the liquids by a little could have caused them to be too squishy. I do think that they are a perfect toddler cookie, glad your little one enjoyed them! :)

  16. I just made these yesterday and they're already GONE! :( thanks for doing all the experimental work for me! they're on my blog and I gave a shout out to you two.

  17. What a wonderful cookie for toddlers. Can I use millet instead of Sorghum? I can't wait to make these..

  18. I MADE THESE COOKIES WITH MILLET FLOUR INSTEAD OF SORGHUM AND THEY WERE NOT GOOD! They were somewhat flavourless and had a sawdusty texture. I know to be care ful with flour substitutions but I had read that millet could be substituted for sorghum. On to the next cookie recipe! Thank you for all the ideas and inspiration.

  19. Thank you for the great recipes but sorghum and tapioca flour have high glycemic indexes.


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