With this gluten-free gingerbread recipe, I think a new family tradition has been born.
I always do some baking at Christmas, but not always cookie decorating. When Timothy was just over one-year old, his second Christmas, I bought a gingerbread cookie mix from the grocery store and did some feeble decorating. Timothy loved the cookies and ended up having them for dinner on Christmas Eve. I was too busy to do anything last year with being back to work full-time and George having surgery to remove a mass on his bladder. Thankfully it wasn’t cancer but we have been to the veterinarian’s many, many times with that boy over this past year.
This year, since I am a stay at home mom again, I have time to whip up some Christmas cookies between library playgroups and George’s vet appointments. A big change from the last time I made gingerbread cookies is that I need a good gluten-free recipe so everyone in my household can enjoy them. I looked around the interwebs a little bit but nothing jumped out as good enough. I even saw one gingerbread recipe that made 10 cookies and used corn syrup with no molasses or even cinnamon. Bleh.
I used my old friend, Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour, plus a little Xanthan gum, and the rest I stuck with traditional ingredients. Lots of spices, a good amount of molasses for depth and of course, butter. The dough turned out great and was very easy to roll out. It handled well and didn’t fall apart at all when rolling. This recipe makes about 3-4 dozen cookies, depending on the size of the cookie cutters you use.
As for decorating, well you had best look elsewhere for advice on that. I’m amateur at best. I have none of the patience or artistic talent needed. I just piped a border on the cookies, let that dry and then made up some flood icing. With some nice nonpareils, sprinkles and decorator (sparkly) sugar, I was able to get the cookies to look half decent.
Timothy had two of his little friends over and they took a much more adventurous and artistic approach to decorating their cookies. I made some white and green flood icing and piped borders on a bunch of the cookies to help keep the icing ooze from going everywhere. There was quite a bit of straight-up sprinkle eating and a ‘decorate and then eat it’ policy was pretty common around the table. Timothy was often intent on keeping his icing spoon clean. Tim’s friends, Tai and Amelia, did manage to take a few cookies home, or should I say, their mothers were able to stop them from eating all their cookies and get them into a bag to get them home.
I still need to vacuum and mop the floor. They had a great time and Timothy keeps talking about it, so the mess is completely worth it. I may have to do another batch of these cookies so that Tim can decorate some more with his Nana and Poppa. There is nothing my dad loves more than sticky kid hands, right Dad? LOL
Sorry to send you off my site for icing and decorating instructions, but I’m a total hack at the decorating. It is best to learn how to do it properly and then cut corners from there, rather than have me tell you how to do it lazily.
Links to sites with Royal Icing recipes and ideas:
For a royal icing recipe and great practical decorating tips: http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2010/12/decorated-christmas-cookies/
A comprehensive cookie decorating site and a printable royal icing recipe infographic: http://sweetopia.net/2012/01/royal-icing-recipe-free-illustrated-recipe/
Crisp, flavourful gingerbread cookies with lots of Christmas spice! Decorate simply with icing and sprinkles - a great Christmas tradition
11 minCook Time
11 minTotal Time
- 3 1/2 cups gluten free all purpose flour (such as Bob's Red Mill)
- 3 tsp ginger
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp Xanthan gum
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup organic brown sugar
- 1/2 cup molasses
- Sift the gluten free flour, Xanthan, baking soda, salt and spices together and set aside.
- Beat together the butter and brown sugar using the paddle attachment of a stand mixer or a hand mixer. Add the eggs one at a time and mix them in well.
- Add the molasses and mix well.
- Slowly add the sifted flour mixture. If you are using a hand mixer, switch to a wooden spoon. Continue with the paddle attachment on a stand mixer.
- Once all the flour mixture has been added, turn the dough out onto a floured board and gather it into a ball, kneading slightly to do so.
- Divide the dough in half and flatten each half into a disc. Wrap each disc with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 2 hours. It will keep for up to 2 days in the fridge, well wrapped.
- When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Take one disc of dough out of the fridge. Let it sit out for a couple of minutes. Place a large piece of wax paper on a board or your counter and dust it with gluten free flour. Place the dough of the wax paper and dust the top of the dough with gluten free flour. Place another large piece of wax paper on top of the dough and begin rolling. Lift and turn the dough and dust with more gluten free flour on both sides when needed.
- When the dough is just over 1/4" thick cut out shapes with a variety of cookie cutters.
- Place the cut out cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 350 degrees F for 10-12 minutes or until the cookies are firm in the centre.
- Cool on a rack and decorate as desired with royal icing and sprinkles.
If you don't want to make royal icing, then add some milk or water slowing to a cup or more of icing sugar until you get the desired consistency and add food colouring. It won't work as well as royal icing but it is much simpler and no mixer is required. Just make as much or as little as you need.
Note: I’m entering this recipe in a contest with Food Bloggers of Canada and the fabulous online magazine EatinEatout.ca