Think you need to skip the Christmas cookies if you’re sticking to a raw diet? Think again! We’re always inspired by the way that chefs and chefs-in-training at Matthew Kenney’s raw food school can recreate the textures and flavors of some of our favorite foods. These rich and spiced gingerbread men are yet another example of raw food at it’s surprising best.

We love taking a peek at each new class of students studying at Matthew Kenney’s raw school. Classes invariably include students from around the world, many of them with passionately original ideas about food, just like the chefs they’ve come to learn from. We caught this class whipping up batches of these holiday cookies and asked them about some of their favorite raw foods to keep us all inspired to eat well during the holidays. Below are a few healthy thoughts and ideas from the class along with the recipe for these adorable gingerbread men in the raw!

Maria, raw gourmet apprentice, Sweden:
With fresh juice, a whole luncheon worth of nutrition can fit in a nice wine or champagne glass – massive with vitamins in a luxury package and it wont weigh you down a bit. My favorite is a fresh green juice from spinach, apples, lemon and ginger. When you balance them right you get a feeling that you are drinking really fresh green winter apples.

Two sweet items that are great for holiday are raw strawberry bars – something the kids would swap their candy for in a heartbeat – and a recipe I make for simple Roman Chocolate Fudge Cake: raw chocolate brownie fudge cake in three layers with cacao nibs, orange zest and a citrus surprise in the middle to lift the flavors and make you want just one more bite…dangerous!

Rani, urban planner, UK:
At home I love to feed friends new fruits they’ve never tried. We slice the fruits and talk about the multitude of flavors and textures, likes and dislikes. Persimmons? Yes. Dragon fruit? Yes. Blood oranges, fresh figs, and dates? Yes, yes, and yes. No fancy preparation, just ripe fruits, organic when possible, and whatever looks amazing.

I like to lay out a spread of prepared nut cheeses and paper-thin slices of beets for get-togethers, along with wine. Sage-chocolate truffles and espresso-cacao ice cream, both preciously made, always go over well. There is a misconception that raw food, or vegan food for that matter, is time consuming and tedious. It can be, just like anything else. But it can also be quite simple and equally divine.

April, yogi, New York:
I try to limit my sugar this time of year. I make a sugar-free raw ice cream that is just dreamy, but my latest kick is a sugar-free chocolate pudding made with coconut oil and topped with a cashew sugar-free whipped cream.  It’s decadent and leaves you feeling great.

My go to snacks are smoothies packed with super foods or some amazing local apples. I use a hemp milk base, add a few ice cubes and mix in maca, vanilla, stevia, cacao and scoops of almond butter – sugar free and delicious.

  • Gingerbread Men In The Raw

  • Ingredients:
    • 2 cups pecans, soaked and dehydrated
    • 3/4 cup coconut flour
    • 3 tablespoons flax, ground
    • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons maple sugar
    • 1 tablespoon ginger powder
    • 1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon
    • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg (freshly grated)
    • pinch clove
    • pinch salt
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1 ½ teaspoon molasses
    • 2 tablespoons honey
    • 3 tablespoons water as needed (if dry)
  • Instructions:
    • Roll out dough and cut into shapes using a cookie cutter.
    • Dehydrate 24 hours on non-stick sheet.
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