Healthy chocolate chip gingerbread spice bars

For as long as I can remember, my family always decorated gingerbread houses at Christmas time.

Whole wheat chocolate chip gingerbread spice bars. These make a great snack or healthy holiday dessert! Vegan and nut free.

Some years we even made the gingerbread house modeled after our own house! My mom and dad would use stencils to cut out the homemade gingerbread dough, then bake it and carefully assemble it with royal icing using soup cans to hold it up while it dried. This would be followed by a trip the Bulk Barn, where we would buy $80 worth of candy (I’m not joking) to decorate it with.

We’ve tried to keep the tradition alive in recent years, but we just don’t put in the same effort as we did when we were younger. The past few holiday seasons have seen half-decorated gingerbread house that no one has the energy to finish.

Whole wheat chocolate chip gingerbread spice bars. These make a great snack or healthy holiday dessert! Vegan and nut free.

So it’s with sadness that we bring this tradition to an end. Instead this year we will focus our efforts on baking all sorts of delicious holiday treats like my Nana’s shortbread cookies. To keep the gingerbread tradition alive though, I’ve developed these chocolate chip gingerbread spice bars. They’re healthy, but I swear you could fool your family with this recipe. These chocolate chip gingerbread spice bars are soft, moist, and the perfect level of sweetness. I think they’re perfect as is, but if you want to take it up a notch, you could top them with icing for a better-for-you Christmas dessert. Either way, I guarantee you’ll enjoy them!

Whole wheat chocolate chip gingerbread spice bars. These make a great snack or healthy holiday dessert! Vegan and nut free.

Healthy chocolate chip gingerbread spice bars
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Whole wheat chocolate chip gingerbread spice bars. These make a great snack or healthy holiday dessert! Vegan and nut free.
Yield: 16 squares
  • 1.5 cups (~195 g) whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1.5 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ⅛ tsp cloves
  • Scant ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp ground flax + 3 tbsp warm water
  • ⅓ cup canned pumpkin
  • ⅓ cup fancy molasses
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • ¼ cup melted coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp applesauce
  • ⅓ cup mini vegan chocolate chips
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the whole wheat pastry flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt.
  3. In a small ramekin combine the ground flax and water. Set aside for the time being.
  4. In a large bowl add the pumpkin, molasses, maple syrup, coconut oil, and applesauce. Note: it is best if all the ingredients are at room temperature so that they do not cause the coconut oil to harden when mixed together. If coconut oil hardens, simply pop the bowl in the microwave to melt it again.
  5. Add the ground flax and water to the liquid ingredients and stir. Then add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Mix until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips gently.
  6. Pour the mixture into an 8x8 square baking pan that has been sprayed and floured. Bake in the centre of the oven for 18-20 minutes, then remove and let cool.

Whole wheat chocolate chip gingerbread spice bars. These make a great snack or healthy holiday dessert! Vegan and nut free.

What are your Christmas traditions? Have any of them changed over the years?


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36 Responses to Healthy chocolate chip gingerbread spice bars

  1. These look delicious! I can’t wait to make them! My family has a tradition of getting together on Christmas eve. When we were younger, my cousins and I would stalk the NORAD Santa Tracker for updates on the big guy. Now that we’re older, that tradition has evolved to making & drinking expertly crafted pitchers of sangria instead….. not quite a lateral move, but just as exciting! lol.
    (PS, lovin’ the new header & menu!)

  2. I made gingerbread men last year, and I loved it! This sounds delicious!
    Steve and I have a graham cracker house competition every year, I love doing that!

  3. Love the new look! I have my own recipe for gingerbread bars and they are one of my favorite holiday treats! Plus they make the house smell AMAZING.

  4. Love Christmas traditions. I can imagine for a kid how awesome all of that candy would be. ;) Your new logo looks great too!

    • Chelsea

      Thanks Sharon!

      Yeah, I think we gave ourselves sugar comas from all that candy on more than one occasion. Probably a good thing we’re no longer doing it!

  5. want!! i’ve never had christmas traditions…. cuz, well, ya know… i’m jewish ;)

  6. yum! My family’s Christmas traditions include a holiday movie night (The Polar Express as my choice, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation as my dad’s choice, and whatever my brother and my mom want…I think that last year, my brother chose He-Man’s Christmas special…ya). and then my dad and I would always do a big bulk barn trip to stock the house with chocolate and nuts. I’m sad I’ll be missing out on those this year!

  7. These look so delicious! I’m a huge gingerbread fan :)

    our tradition is writing clues on all our presents!

  8. I’ve definitely noticed a slight decline in enthusiasm surrounding the holidays over the past couple of years, which makes me super sad because it’s one of my favourite times! We didn’t even make gingerbread houses last year, and I’m not sure we’re going to do it this year either. But at least we’re never short on holiday baking :) These sound delicious, girl!

  9. Wow these look yummy and I just love this ingredient list. Most certainly a great Christmas treat! How amazing those gingerbread houses sound though. I bet they were a site to see!

  10. I always wanted to make a gingerbread house and somehow it always get way laid. One of my favorite holiday traditions is decorating the tree. We make it an event every year.

    These look scrumptious; no extra icing needed.

  11. Yum!… My favorite thing about Christmas has to be decorating the tree and listening to the Christmas music. And, I love when friends and family come to together on Christmas Eve.

  12. We don’t celebrate Christmas here but I loved reading about your family’s tradition to build gingerbread house. More than the actual house, I love that you guys come together as a family and do an activity together :)!

    Although we don’t celebrate the holiday much, I do try and watch my share of Christmas movies to get in spirit to some extent. Santa Claus & Home Alone 1 & 2 are all on top of my list!

  13. $80 worth of CANDY? Oh my. I hope you ate the house post completion… or thrown it at someone for Halloween.

    I love how you said ‘fancy’ molasses. Did Iggy Azalea grace it first? This looks so good, it may sway my opinion on chocolate and gingerbread.

  14. Oh my, are my Christmas traditions ever changing. This is the first year in my ‘new’ life and if I’m being honest, not really in the Christmas spirit. Don’t get me wrong, I love the holidays, but it’s just different when you’re away from family & the old familiar ‘home’ traditions.

  15. Yum these look great!! I had a ton of traditions growing up with my family. Last year was the first year I spent Christmas away from them and with my husbands family. It was sad at first but I had a great holiday with my inlaws!

    • Jessica M

      This recipe looks amazing! Just wondering if you use ground ginger or fresh? I am assuming ground but just wanted to check. Thanks!

      • Chelsea

        Oops silly me for not being more specific! I used ground. :) I’ll change that in the recipe – thanks for pointing it out!

  16. Ah, I ONCE made a gingerbread house. I do love the aroma they give the house, but they’re so much effort. I’m sure I’ll get back to it with my niece one of these days, but until then, I’d much rather eat these bars! Love love love the applesauce in these ––I always enjoy the texture it gives. Gimme! And I’m very impressed that you guys modelled a gingerbread house after your house. Ha! That’s commitment.

  17. I have two major food traditions: shortbread and Ukrainian Mushroom Sauce (to serve over pirogies). As a matter of fact I made the shortbread yesterday and the mushroom sauce just now. I also tried making gingerbread men this year but I think I cooked the dough while making it and it turned into a brick!!

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