Paleo Christmas Cookies






Every little girl and boy deserves to leave cookies for Santa. And Santa will love these slightly spicy, peppermint-frosted sugar cookies that are gluten-free, grain-free and vegan. In fact, you may have to make several batches so that there are some leftovers for Santa!

Persian Chickpea Cookies

This recipe is based on a Persian recipe for Chickpea Cookies (Nan-e nokhodchi). Naturally gluten-free, these cardamom spiced cookies are one of seven sweets traditionally served at Nowruz, the ancient Persian festival that marks the spring equinox and the New Year.

According to legend, this was the day that King Jamshid appeared in the heavens, flying on a jeweled throne. Among his many gifts to civilization was Jamshid’s introduction of sugar cane.

I couldn’t help but notice the similarities between the Persian Jamshid and Santa, so I modified the recipe a little bit and added a peppermint touch to make this recipe suitable for Christmas and New Year celebrations in America.

Be careful not to bake these cookies too long or they will lose moisture. Also, it’s important with gluten-free baking that the oven is pre-heated to the exact temperature or the dough won’t rise. You can easily freeze batches of unfrosted cookies for later and refrigerate the frosting between batches. Use the cookie cutter that appeals to you. Serve with a tall glass of light coconut milk.


Christmas Cookies with Peppermint Frosting

Makes approximately two dozen cookies


  • 1/2 cup Earth Balance Organic Coconut Spread
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon cardamom
  • 2 cups Bob’s Red Mill chickpea/fava bean flour
  • 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill tapioca flour
  • 2 teaspoons xanthan gum
  • 1 teaspoon salt


1) Combine the chickpea, coconut, and tapioca flours in a medium bowl with the xanthan gum and salt. Mix well.

2) In a separate mixing bowl, combine the coconut spread, olive oil, maple syrup, and cardamom with a hand mixer until creamy.

3) Gradually add the flour mixture to the wet mixture with the hand-mixer until well-blended and sticky.

4) Knead the dough into a ball and place the dough between two sheets of parchment paper. Roll the dough out to a 1/2-inch thickness and then chill dough for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

5) Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Cut the dough with cookie cutters and place the cutout dough on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Place cookie sheet in the center of the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until slightly golden.

6) Allow cookies to cool completely before frosting.

Peppermint Frosting

For 2-3 batches of cookies


  • 3 cups Spectrum Naturals Organic All Vegetable Shortening or Coconut Oil
  • 1 1/2 cups agave nectar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint oil/extract


1) Combine ingredients in a large mixing bowl and cream with a hand-mixer. The coconut oil and vegetable shortening harden at room temperature, so don’t be afraid to soften them a bit in the microwave before blending with other ingredients.

2) Add food coloring and other creative touches to taste.

Janelle Holden is president and founder of The Gluten Free Life Coach, a company dedicated to helping people with celiac disease and food allergies love their lives and discover their new favorite foods. To connect with Janelle, find her on facebook, or contact her to schedule a complimentary “A-Ha Moment” session.


About Janelle

Janelle Holden has spent hundreds of hours coaching people world-wide with celiac disease and food sensitivities how to transition to a gluten-free diet, stop struggling with food, travel with food sensitivities, and do more of the things they love. She is the author of, "Six steps to grab control of your diet and love what you eat" and an award-winning journalist, international coach, and speaker.

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