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Gingerbread for Diabetics

Updated on January 8, 2015
I added nuts as decoration to my finished product to replace icing, but plan to investigate methods of making icing without sugar.
I added nuts as decoration to my finished product to replace icing, but plan to investigate methods of making icing without sugar.

Inspiration for this recipe

In a previous recipe hub for chocolate and orange cookies I mentioned how a roll-out dough is notably missing from diabetic recipe collections. After inventing the dough for my previous recipe using favourite flavours of my Dad's I wondered if it would be possible to create a version of my original roll-out dough inspiration, gingerbread. Creating gingerbread shapes, decorations, and characters is a great family activity and I find it sad that our diabetic relatives are a little left out in all this, for example when great gingerbread baking days are popular for Christmas (for a lovely example, see My recipe captures some of the Christmassy spiciness that is normally associated with gingerbread as well as the crispness and ability to cut into shapes. It tends to be more crumbly than gingerbread containing more sugar, and also as a product of reduced sugars may be less long-lasting. However I hope that it will at least give a few people's diabetic relatives the chance to join in creation and enjoyment of gingerbread-men, for example, through use of their own special dough.

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A roll-out dough is much easier to customise for an occasion by making the biscuit shapes relate to family interests or the theme of a party.
A roll-out dough is much easier to customise for an occasion by making the biscuit shapes relate to family interests or the theme of a party.

Specifics and benefits of the recipe

Dough that can be cut with custom cutters into shapes that relate to a person's interests, and the icing that is often used to draw on it, is something which I've found to be missing from the many available diabetic cook books. The icing issue is one I have still not solved, but recently I managed to put together some more acceptable ingredients to make something with a similar role and taste to gingerbread. This is for lovers of spice, and the spices and tang of orange juice can convince the tongue that the biscuits are sweeter than they are. An extra helping of cinnamon assists with lowering GI (Khan, Safdar, Khan, Khattak, & Anderson, 2003), as does ground walnuts (Ma et al., 2010), oat bran (Tapola, Karvonen, Niskanen, Mikola, & Sarkkinen, 2005) and a squeeze of acidic citrus juice. I cut these biscuits into leaf shapes appropriate for a spring celebration, Autumn-themed wedding tea or gardener's special occasion, to demonstrate the contribution special cookie-cutters can make. There are a lot of craftspeople out there making specialised cutters who will even happily make custom ones (just search Etsy), so a personalised gift is only a mixing bowl away.

Approximate cook time

Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 15 min
Ready in: 30 min
Yields: 12 large cookies
Adding spices and making colourful swirls of ginger scent
Adding spices and making colourful swirls of ginger scent


  • 3 tblsp margarine
  • 2 tsp canola oil
  • 2 tblsp raw honey
  • ¾ cup oat bran
  • 2/3 cup ground walnuts
  • 1 tblsp orange juice
  • 2 tblsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tblsp mixed spice
  • 3 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tblsp ground ginger
  • 1 cup wholemeal plain flour


  1. Cream honey, margarine and oil together
  2. Add spices and mix well
  3. Add orange juice, oat bran and walnuts and mix until combined
  4. Add flour and mix into a stiff dough
  5. Roll out onto a floured surface and cut into desired shapes
  6. Bake on baking paper-covered trays at 180 degrees Celcius until edges are golden
  7. Allow to cool until crisp, then store in an airtight container
Ready for the oven
Ready for the oven

What is your favourite thing about gingerbread?

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Finished product
Finished product


Khan, lam, Safdar, Mahpara , Khan, Mohammad Muzaffar Ali , Khattak, Khan Nawaz , & Anderson, Richard A. . (2003). Cinnamon Improves Glucose and Lipids of People With Type 2 Diabetes. Diabetes Care, 26, 3215-3218.

Ma, Yingying, Njike, Valentine Yanchou, Millet, John , Dutta, Suparna , Doughty, Kim , Treu, Judith A., & Katz, David L. . (2010). Effects of Walnut Consumption on Endothelial Function in Type 2 Diabetic Subjects. Diabetes Care, 33, 227-232.

Tapola, N., Karvonen, H., Niskanen, L., Mikola, M., & Sarkkinen, E. (2005). Glycemic responses of oat bran products in type 2 diabetic patients. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis, 15(4), 255-261. doi: 10.1016/j.numecd.2004.09.003


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