These cookies are a healthier, vegan twist on traditional German cookies, lebkuchen or pfefferkuchen, which are sort of like gingerbread. They’re soft spiced cookies that are made at Christmas time. If you’ve been to Germany and saw those awful heart cookies that are sold at markets decorated with colourful icing, that’s a harder type of lebkuchen (and they’re disgusting, don’t buy them).
I think the main difference between these vegan lebkuchen and gingerbread is that these don’t include molasses, which I hate, so that might be their best quality. This version is dairy and egg free, much lower in sugar and fat than normal, and perfectly spicy. They have a nice crispy edge and chewy centre, and even though I think they’re just right with a little chocolate, it’s not necessary if you don’t want to add it.
If you’re not following a plant based diet, you can use an egg in these cookies in place of the arrowroot powder. If you don’t have arrowroot, don’t just leave it out! It adds chewiness to the cookies, which the egg will also do if you use it.
Here’s a good vegan gingerbread recipe if you are deeply disappointed by the lack of molasses in these lebkuchen. I won’t judge.
This post is the first of several cookie recipes I’ll be sharing this week. I know I’ve been a little less present lately – I’ve been working a lot, but wanted to get some holiday themed posts out there before the holidays are over and there are no cookies! Graham, who is a total cookie monster, is thrilled.
More great Christmas cookie recipes:
Vegan Spice Sugar Cookies
Almond Rye Chocolate Chip Cookies
Spiced Orange Shortbread
Honey and Oat Cookies
Chocolate Orange Macaroons
Chocolate Snowball Cookies
Or take a look at this collection of healthy Christmas cookies for it all in one place!
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- 150 grams light spelt flour
- 50 grams hazelnut meal
- 100 grams coconut sugar
- 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder*
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg**
- 1 cardamom pod crushed
- Pinch salt
- 60 ml olive oil***
- 2 tablespoons oat or nut milk
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
- 50 grams dark chocolate, melted, for topping
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, stir together the flour, hazelnut meal, sugar, arrowroot, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, and salt.
- In a smaller bowl, whisk the oil, milk, and maple syrup. Whisk in the egg as well if you’re substituting it for the arrowroot.
- Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and stir until everything is combined. Take about two tablespoons of dough and and use your hands roll it into a ball, repeating until the dough is used. Place them 6 cm (2 inches) apart on the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until golden. Let the cookies cool on the pan for ten minutes before removing to cool completely on a rack.
- Once the cookies are cool, use a spoon dipped in the melted chocolate to drizzle lines over them. Cool them in the fridge after adding the chocolate before packing them up in a sealed container. The cookies will keep for about 5 days on the counter, and freeze well.
** If you use pre-ground nutmeg and cardamom, use 1/2 teaspoon and 1/4 teaspoon respectively.
*** Other oils can be used in place of olive oil. I’ve used grapeseed and melted coconut oil with good results. Using coconut oil will result in a denser cookie once it cools.