Just When We Thought Gingerbread Cookies Couldn't Get Better, We Doused 'Em In Chocolate

Oh, and they just so happen to be vegan.

December  7, 2018
Photo by Rocky Luten

We've partnered with New York City-based Hu Kitchen—our favorite gluten and dairy-free chocolate that just happens to also be made without refined or cane sugars—to share a sweet holiday treat everyone can enjoy. This vegan, gluten-free, chocolatey take on classic gingerbread cookies is perfect for everything from cookie swaps to festive get-togethers.

Spending time with family, tree trimming, and stringing lights are nice and all that—but as soon as Dec. 1 rolls around each year, there’s only one thing on my mind. Or rather, a couple dozen things: holiday cookies.

Sure, I eat cookies from January through November. But there’s something about the holiday season that magically catapults cookie-baking (and decorating!) from one of my enjoyable sometimes–weekend activities to my all-out obsession. I can’t walk by a bodega without popping in to see if they have any crazy sprinkles I don’t yet have in my arsenal. If I eat a life-changing bite of pie while I’m out to eat, I can’t help but think: THIS COULD BE COOKIES. I start speaking like Mary Berry at all times.

Ganache made with Hu Chocolate really takes these gingerbread cookies to the next level. Photo by Rocky Luten

It’s a time of endless possibility. No snickerdoodle blueprint too elaborate, no chocolate-chip mix-in too far-flung. If I love a gingerbread cookie recipe so darn much that I want to pack up my things and move to live on its surface, but I think it—like most things—would be even better with some chocolate, there’s no stopping me from using my thumb to create a deep well in the center that I fill with ganache, and top with a festive sliver of candied ginger.

Which is exactly what I did this year. (The chocolate-ifying, not physically moving my home to a cookie’s surface. But if you have any ideas for how to make that happen, by all means, slide into my DMs.)

To say that these chocolate thumbprint cookies have ruined me for all other gingerbread desserts would be a gross understatement. Thanks to Karlie Kloss's recipe, on which I based my own, the cookie component is deeply, irresistibly spicy. They have the sort of flavor that makes you think, for a few moments, that you’re wrapped in a warm flannel blanket next to a crackling fire in one of those gorgeous, rustic states like Vermont.

I use Hu Dark Chocolate in my ganache to keep things vegan and free of refined sugar (like Kloss’s original recipe), and find that the lightly sweetened chocolate perfectly balances the spicy-molasses vibes of the gingerbread cookies, while imparting a creamy, deeply rich dimension you’ll think about for days after. Ah, and the candied ginger? Kisses thumb and forefinger like a cartoon chef. Don’t skip the candied ginger.

The best part is that they’re made completely from the sort of ingredients I’d happily eat for breakfast any day: fresh ginger, oat flour, almond flour, a bit of coconut sugar and coconut oil, blackstrap molasses. Meaning that when I need a break from all the dairy-heavy, refined sugar-laden holiday foods I’m typically partial to (hi, stuffing! Miss you), but I still want something sweet, these guys are there to steal the show.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to run—I just heard there’s a store that carries snowman-shaped sprinkles all the way across town.

What's your favorite holiday cookie recipe? Let me know in the comments.

Finally, a spicy, chocolatey, and yes, vegan and gluten-free holiday cookie that doesn't miss the butter or refined sugar. These easy-peasy cookies are made with quality natural ingredients—including mild-flavored, paleo-friendly dark chocolate from our partner Hu Kitchen (no weird ingredients or fillers here!)—and come just in time for the holiday season.

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Ella Quittner

Written by: Ella Quittner

Ella Quittner is a contributing writer and the Absolute Best Tests columnist at Food52. She covers food, travel, wellness, lifestyle, home, novelty snacks, and internet-famous sandwiches. You can follow her on Instagram @equittner, or Twitter at @ellaquittner. She also develops recipes for Food52, and has a soft spot for all pasta, anything spicy, and salty chocolate things.