Vegan, Low Protein (PKU), Gluten Free and Dairy Free, Low Fructose
Total Protein Count: 4 g Protein
30 Serves = 0.1 g Protein per serve
Last week we had two Christmas parties in one day; one of which was a PKU picnic and the other was a dinner party with friends (some of whom are gluten-intolerant). To save time and stress, I decided to make Christmas cookies that everyone could eat. I was a bit sneaky though and decorated with sugar. If you read my blog, you know I’m not a fan of sugar or fructose, but for aesthetics reasons I was a bit naughty and used a tiny bit of icing sugar to decorate. I had intended to use the same coconut cream frosting I made for the Halloween cookies, but it seemed that every can of coconut cream I bought had been shaken! (Thus resulting in very runny coconut cream.) Very frustrating and with only a day before the parties, I sucked it up and used icing sugar.
I also experimented with coconut sugar. The result was a nice sticky taste due to the toffee-like flavour of the coconut sugar marrying with the maple syrup and ginger. Besides the wonderful taste the coconut sugar brings to the cookie, I’m drawn to the sustainable attributes. I looked specifically for a certified organic product which has been minimally processed and has not been filtered. Compared to cane sugar, coconut trees produce 50-75% more sugar per acre but use less than one fifth of the soil nutrients and water, making it an extremely sustainable sweetner.
Coconut sugar is not; however, low in fructose. Many websites claim it to be so, but coconut sugar is extremely high in sucrose which is half fructose, making it between 38-48.5% fructose. It also contains a fiber called Inulin, which for people like me who suffer from fructose-intolerance, can cause quite a considerable amount of digestive discomfort. (It is clear I need to write on fructose-intolerance and the differences between natural sweetners.)
Back to the cookies I did bake…After a couple of days in the cookie tin, the gingerbread men were still soft and chewy. Not the typical hard bikkie. I plan to experiment with rice malt syrup and omitting the coconut sugar to make it more fructose friendly. If they work out, I’ll upload them as an alternative recipe. If you have any suggestions of how to make them low in fructose, I’d love to hear them.
Happy Christmas everyone!
1/2 cup / 125 g margarine, softened (see notes)
1/2 cup / 85 g coconut sugar (see notes)
1/2 cup / 125 ml maple syrup
2 1/2 cups / 318 g gluten-free flour (4 g protein)
2 tsp / 10 g ground ginger
1 tsp / 5 g bicarbonate of soda
icing sugar or coconut cream + rice malt syrup (to taste)
Pre-heat oven to 190º C / 375º F.
Place margarine and sugar in a bowl and mix until well combined, light and fluffy. An electric mixer works best.
Add maple syrup, gluten-free flour, ginger and bicarbonate of soda to the mix to form a smooth dough.
Between two sheets of baking paper and a light dusting of extra flour, roll out the dough to 4-5mm thickness. Use a cookie cutter to cut out desired shapes. Places shapes on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
Bake for 8-10 minutes until lightly brown. Remove and cool on a wire rack.
Suggestions to Serve:
Decorate with icing or low-fructose alternative such as coconut cream + rice malt syrup frosting. For these gingerbread men, we used traditional icing sugar mixed with a tiny splash of boiling water to create a sticky gel. Then we added a decorative sugar-free colour balls for the buttons. Otherwise, the sweet chewy texture of the cookie is enough without any added decoration.
– We use a sunflower margarine in our baking. The brand we use has 0g protein and is suitable for lactose-free diets. Check the protein content in your margarine if you are baking for a low-protein diet.
– Coconut sugar is high in fructose, making it not suitable for those on a FODMAP or fructose-free diet. The maple syrup in the recipe is actually low in fructose or rice malt syrup is another great replacement. I used coconut sugar in this recipe because the slightly toffee or caramel flavour of the sugar works very nicely with the ginger and maple syrup. The granules in coconut sugar has the same texture as palm or brown sugar; thus creating a nice texture to the cookie. If you prefer not to use sugar, you can skip it all together or substitute with rice malt syrup. It will make the cookie a bit more dense but still nice.