These wonderfully spiced Paleo Gingerbread Muffins are made with coconut flour, molasses and coconut sugar. These healthy gingerbread muffins are a delicious holiday treat that is gluten free, dairy free and clean eating.
Now with Canadian and American Thanksgiving behind us, there is nothing holding me back from full-on holiday baking mode. And what would holiday treats be without gingerbread!
To me it’s an essential part of all things cheerful and bright and Christmas-y.
But this year I wanted to share a clean eating, paleo and dairy free gingerbread recipe. And this gingerbread muffin recipe ticks all those boxes.
How to make paleo gingerbread muffins
Coconut flour muffins are a specialty of mine. So of course, I also had to make a coconut flour gingerbread version.
This grain free flour alternative has its own very unique characteristics. It is very hygroscopic (meaning it absorbs a lot of liquid). To compensate for this fact there are plenty of liquid ingredients (eggs, coconut oil, coconut milk) in this recipe for gingerbread.
So this healthy gingerbread recipe is paleo friendly, clean eating, gluten and dairy free. Yes, even the glaze!
Traditionally gingerbread is paired with a white icing made from refined powdered sugar. To make a healthier glaze I ground coconut sugar into a fine powder (in an electric spice mill) and then added just enough coconut milk until the glaze could be drizzled.
Since they are paired with an icing, I am starting to wonder whether these muffins could actually be called mini gluten free gingerbread cake or gingerbread cupcakes?
Let’s talk about gingerbread flavor for a moment. For me there are two things essential to any gingerbread treat: molasses and gingerbread spice.
What is gingerbread spice?
Growing up in Germany gingerbread spice mixes were an essential part of holiday baking. They are sold in little envelope packages similar to taco or chili seasoning in North America.
Here gingerbread spice doesn’t seem to be very common – at least I have never seen it sold in a store. Instead, most recipes call for a variety of separate spices; usually ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves and maybe nutmeg.
German gingerbread spice mix is quite a bit more complex. I believe anise, cardamom and even a touch of finely ground pepper are all part of the essential gingerbread flavor.
So every year at the beginning of the holiday baking season I stir up my own container of homemade gingerbread spice mix to use liberally in all my healthy gingerbread recipes.
Which molasses to use for gingerbread?
1. Fancy/Unsulphured Molasses
In Canada Fancy Molasses seems to be the most common. I believe it could also be classified as unsulfured molasses.
This is the type of molasses I used in this gluten free gingerbread and it has been my go-to molasses for all my gingerbread recipes. It is pure and rich but not too strong and not bitter.
2. Blackstrap Molasses
Just recently I’ve also had a chance to try out Blackstrap Molasses which is an all-natural byproduct of the sugar refining process. It is high in iron and calcium but also very dark, strong and slightly bitter in flavor.
I find the flavor too overwhelming, if I use blackstrap molasses one-for-one in recipes that call for fancy, unsulphured molasses. If all you have is blackstrap molasses, I would recommend using only half of the indicated amount and substituting honey (or another liquid sweetener) for the other half.
More Coconut Flour Recipes
These gluten free gingerbread muffins were first developed as part of the recipe testing process for my eBook Coconut Flour Muffins, Pancakes & Mug Cakes. I ended up with too many muffin recipes and this coconut flour gingerbread didn’t make the book (but not for lack of flavor or deliciousness).
If you love baking with coconut flour as much as me, be sure to check out my eBook right here for many more delicious gluten free + paleo recipes.
- ½ cup coconut flour
- ¼ cup tapioca starch
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1-1/2 teaspoons gingerbread spice mix
- 4 eggs
- ½ cup (refined) coconut oil, melted
- ⅓ cup coconut milk
- ¼ cup molasses
- ¼ cup coconut sugar
- ½ cup powdered coconut sugar (I grind it in a spice mill)
- 2-3 teaspoons coconut milk or water
- Preheat oven to 375 F and line a muffin tin with parchment or silicone liners.
- In a bowl whisk together coconut flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and gingerbread spice mix. In a separate bowl beat eggs, coconut oil, coconut milk, molasses and coconut sugar until combined.
- Add wet to dry mixture and stir until evenly incorporated. (Alternatively, you can also blend all ingredients in a food processor or blender.) Fill batter into prepared pan.
- Bake muffins for 15-18 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Allow muffins to cool in pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store covered.
- Just before serving, combine powdered coconut sugar with as much coconut milk or water as needed to reach desired consistency. Drizzle over muffins. Don't do this ahead of time, because the coconut flour in the muffins will absorb the liquid in the glaze.
*Note: I used these gingerbread man decorations in the pictures. They are NOT paleo or healthy in any way.
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