Gingerbread men cookies topped with coconut and cranberries

This is the season of giving. It’s a time to appreciate all that is around us–especially the sweet scent of holiday baking. Baking gingerbread cookies and houses is a childhood memory for many of us and it’s one I want to share with the kids at CMP. As I was shopping for ingredients, I thought,“What is the story behind the gingerbread cookie?”

So I did some research:

The History Gingerbread Cookie

Gingerbread was traced back to the ancient Greeks and Egyptians who used it for ceremonial purposes. It traveled to Europe in the 11th century when crusaders traveled from the Middle East with spices that were used for cooking and baking. It was then that gingerbread became popular. People would roll out the dough and press it into wooden molds. These works of art told stories of the kings and queens. The cookies were embellished with icing and edible gold paint. They were exchanged at fairs as gifts and tokens of love. The first gingerbread cookie was created by Queen Elizabeth I.

Today, the gingerbread cookie is popular all over the world. It is often baked to taste sweet and contains ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, molasses, honey and brown sugar. This cookie is rolled out to take the shape of a variety of molds, typically holiday inspired shapes, and is baked into a thin crispy cookie. Some prefer to bake gingerbread into a softer, puffier version of the crisp cookie. The third variation is the gingerbread house that is constructed and decorated with frosting.

I am sure that we all have many memories of gingerbread cookies. Please share your story with us or try out our recipe, take pictures of your baking experience and tag us in your Instagram or Facebook post! #CMPfun

Healthy Gingerbread Cookie Recipe
by Julie Goldstein

1 organic egg
1/3 cup organic coconut oil (melted to room temperature)
1/3 cup maple syrup
¼ cup blackstrap molasses
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
½ tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
2 ¼ cups organic whole wheat flour
1 Tbsp maple syrup for brushing

1/8 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/8 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped

Healthy gingerbread cookie dough ingredients


1. In a large mixing bowl, add egg, molasses, maple syrup, vanilla extract and melted coconut oil; whisk vigorously to thoroughly combine.

2. Add grated ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, baking soda and flour to the wet ingredients and stir with a large spoon or hands until well combined.

3. Turn dough out onto plastic wrap and form into a ball. Chill for at least an hour, or overnight.

Gingerbread cookie dough ball in bowl

4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

5. Generously sprinkle flour on a clean flat surface and a rolling pin, then roll out the dough until it is about ¼ inch thick.

Floured surface and rolling pin

Gingerbread cookie dough rolled out on floured surface

6. Use cookie cutters to cut out gingerbread men.

Gingerbread cookie cutout1

7. Place gingerbread men on parchment paper-lined (or foil) baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes and let cool completely.

Gingerbread men cookies ready to bake on cookie sheet

8. Get topping ready.

9. Brush each cookie generously with maple syrup, sprinkle with a topping of choice

10. Lay flat to dry.

Healthy Gingerbread Men Cookies


Blog by Julie Goldstein – Master Artist & Art Studio Teacher

If you enjoyed this post we invite you to read our blog, “Out of the Box Christmas Project for Kids: Yarn Wrapping Stars.”

Carmel Mountain Preschool provides a safe and caring environment with hands-on, developmentally-appropriate programs for children. We also offer excellent care for elementary school-age students with our before and after school programs. CMP is located at 9510 Carmel Mountain Road, San Diego CA 92129, situated between 4S Ranch, Rancho Peñasquitos, Carmel Valley, and Santaluz For more information, please visit our website or contact us at 858.484.4877.