My aunt sent me a picture of my baby cousin, Luke, making his favorite gingerbread cookies. I thought it was so neat that at a young age he was learning some healthy baking tips! I decided to make that recipe my own by using fresh lemon, vanilla, and maple syrup to refresh the traditional gingerbread cookies we all love during the holidays!

Makes 20 to 25 cookies


1/4 cup butter, softened

3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup dark molasses

2 tablespoons lemon zest

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


1 cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoons 100% pure maple syrup


In a large mixing bowl, beat butter, sugar, and applesauce until smooth. Add egg, vanilla, molasses, and lemon zest mix well.

In separate large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, ginger, and cinnamon. Add to molasses mixture, stirring well.

Divide dough into two equal portions; cover with plastic wrap, and chill for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Roll out dough to 1/4 or 1/8-inch thickness. Cut cookies with a 2-inch round cookie cutter. Place 1 to 2 inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool, and drizzle with frosting.


Mix all ingredients until smooth.

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