Efia's Kitchen

BANT and DET registered Nutritional Therapist

CVR-nr.: 40942173

  • Marie

Ginger and Walnut Christmas Cookies

Updated: Dec 14, 2019

Christmas cookies are such an important part of the Christmas season for me. You may know that us Germans have TONS of different types, and most families probably have their secret family recipe for a special Christmas cookie. I love them!


But this year I'm gluten-free and my husband doesn't eat sugar... which makes Christmas cookies somewhat less fun. Or so I thought!!


These cookies are gluten-free and refined-sugar free and they are soooooo delicious and moreish. They are also packed with beneficial nutrients, which I'll talk about at the end of the recipe - so read until the end if you're interested.


Comment your thoughts - and your favourite Christmas cookies! Perhaps I can come up with a 'Nutritional Therapist's Version'.



Ingredients:


  • 1 cup oats

  • 1 cup oat flower (simply blend oats until fine)

  • 1 tsp baking powder

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 40g finely chopped walnuts

  • 90g creamy/firm honey (preferably raw and organic)

  • 20g peeled, fresh ginger, finely chopped

  • 100g butter (or coconut oil - but I have not tried this)


Optional:

  • 80g dark chocolate (above 85%)

  • Zest of one organic orange



Instructions:


  1. Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees C and line a baking tray

  2. Mix together your dry ingredients in a big bowl

  3. Whisk together the honey and ginger until the mix is creamy

  4. Add the butter and honey/ginger mix to your dry ingredients

  5. Knead with your hands until you have a well-combined, sticky mixture

  6. Scoop out 1 tbsp of dough at a time, roll into a ball in your hands, then squish to flatten and form a round disk - place on the lined baking tray

  7. Repeat until you have used all the dough

  8. Bake at 180 degrees for 15 minutes or until light golden


Optional:

  1. Once the cookies have cooled, melt 80g of dark chocolate in a baine marie

  2. Once the chocolate is melted, remove from heat and dip a corner of each cookie into the melted chocolate

  3. Place on a baking paper to cool and sprinkle with orange zest


Nutritional benefits:

No refined sugar:

I've spoken about sugar a few times, so you may know by now that there are good reasons to reduce your intake of refined sugar (i.e. the white or brown crystal stuff). Although by no means equivocal, research conducted in the past few years suggests that refined sugar intake can contribute to a number of negative health outcomes (including weight gain [1], metabolic syndrome [3], inflammation [3], dental caries [4], cardiovascular disease [5] and low mood [6] to name a few).


Honey on the other hand has been linked with reduced weight gain and impact on blood sugar regulation when compared to sugar [2]. It also has less of an impact on blood sugar and contains higher levels of polyphenols, which have numerous health benefits [7].


Ginger:

Many health claims have been made about ginger, including a beneficial impact in terms of cardiovascular health, digestive function and metabolic function [8]. It also has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant functions, with some studies even finding it to be beneficial in preventing cancer [9]. There is preliminary evidence suggesting that ginger may have antimicrobial properties [10] - and it is often recommended as a treatment for colds. Although more research is needed to confirm these claims, I get the sense that eating more ginger can only be a good thing ;)


Walnuts and Omega-3:

I have often spoken about omega-3 in previous recipes and articles, so I won't say so much here - except that walnuts are a good source of plant omega-3!


References:

[1] Bes-Rastrollo, M., Sánchez-Villegas, A., Gómez-Gracia, E., Martínez, J.A., Pajares, R.M. and Martínez-González, M.A., 2006. Predictors of weight gain in a Mediterranean cohort: the Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra Study. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 83(2), pp.362-370.

[2] Nemoseck, T.M., Carmody, E.G., Furchner-Evanson, A., Gleason, M., Li, A., Potter, H., Rezende, L.M., Lane, K.J. and Kern, M., 2011. Honey promotes lower weight gain, adiposity, and triglycerides than sucrose in rats. Nutrition research, 31(1), pp.55-60.

[3] O'Connor, L., Imamura, F., Brage, S., Griffin, S.J., Wareham, N.J. and Forouhi, N.G., 2018. Intakes and sources of dietary sugars and their association with metabolic and inflammatory markers. Clinical Nutrition, 37(4), pp.1313-1322.

[4] Sheiham, A. and James, W.P.T., 2015. Diet and dental caries: the pivotal role of free sugars reemphasized. Journal of dental research, 94(10), pp.1341-1347.

[5] Johnson, R.K., Appel, L.J., Brands, M., Howard, B.V., Lefevre, M., Lustig, R.H., Sacks, F., Steffen, L.M. and Wylie-Rosett, J., 2009. Dietary sugars intake and cardiovascular health: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation, 120(11), pp.1011-1020.

[6] Knüppel, A., Shipley, M.J., Llewellyn, C.H. and Brunner, E.J., 2017. Sugar intake from sweet food and beverages, common mental disorder and depression: prospective findings from the Whitehall II study. Scientific reports, 7(1), p.6287.

[7] Edwards, C.H., Rossi, M., Corpe, C.P., Butterworth, P.J. and Ellis, P.R., 2016. The role of sugars and sweeteners in food, diet and health: Alternatives for the future. Trends in food science & technology, 56, pp.158-166.

[8] Butt, M.S. and Sultan, M.T., 2011. Ginger and its health claims: molecular aspects. Critical reviews in food science and nutrition, 51(5), pp.383-393.

[9] Mashhadi, N.S., Ghiasvand, R., Askari, G., Hariri, M., Darvishi, L. and Mofid, M.R., 2013. Anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory effects of ginger in health and physical activity: review of current evidence. International journal of preventive medicine, 4(Suppl 1), p.S36.

[10] Singletary, K., 2010. Ginger: an overview of health benefits. Nutrition Today, 45(4), pp.171-183.