“And I had but one penny in the world. Thou should’st have it to buy gingerbread.”~William Shakespeare
What a wonderful way to share holiday joy! Gingerbread cookies are warm, aromatic, and delicious traditions guaranteed to add color, playfulness, and joy to your seasonal celebration. This year, I chose to focus on minis, and even found a gluten-free recipe so delicious that it tasted better (I kid you not) than any traditional gingerbread cookie recipe I could remember!
The details of my selections are below. Enjoy!!
I found the following perfect gluten-free gingerbread recipe at a wonderful blog called Only Sometimes Clever courtesy of Karen Joy. I have used this blog for other gluten-free recipes and have found it to be a true treasure trove of deliciousness!!
GFCF Gingerbread Cookies
Makes about 8 dozen medium-sized cutout cookies
- 1 cup amaranth flour
- 2 cups potato starch
- 3 cups sweet rice flour
- 3 cups brown rice flour
- 2 Tbsp xanthan gum
- 3 Tbsp baking powder
- 3 Tbsp potato flour (optional)
- 2 Tbsp ground ginger (or more, if you like ‘em really gingery)
- 1 Tbsp ground allspice
- 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 2 cups dark brown sugar
- 2 cups shortening
- 1 cup eggs (depending on size, 4-5 eggs. Measure into a glass measuring cup.)
- 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp dark molasses (OR 1/3 cup blackstrap molasses)
- 1 Tbsp salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a large bowl, with a whisk, mix together the flours, starch, xanthan gum, baking powder, and spices until well-combined. Set aside.
- In another large bowl, cream together the powdered and brown sugars, shortening, eggs, molasses and salt.
- To the sugar mixture, add flour mixture, about 2 cups at a time, stirring with a wooden spoon. Once the flour mixture is mostly incorporated, knead the dough in the bowl, slowly punching the dough down in the middle and folding the sides of the dough into the middle. Or, put the dough on a non-stick surface (like a silicone mat or a marble slab), and knead it on there. Incorporate all the flour mixture until you have a stiff dough.
- If the dough is too dry, and will not hold all of the flour, add a Tbsp of water at a time until it will gather into a ball. Resist adding water if at all possible. The dough works best if it is not very moist.
- If you refrigerate or freeze the dough, bring to room temp before rolling. For the most uniform cookies, and definitely for the large sections required for gingerbread houses, roll the dough right onto a large piece of foil or parchment, then pick up the sheet and transfer to the cookie sheet. Working with about 1/4 of the dough at a time, roll the dough 1/4″ thick. (Bob Vila’s gingerbread site had a great suggestion: Use 1/4″ round dowels as a guide for uniform thickness, as illustrated on the right.) From this dough, either cut sections for your gingerbread house from a template, or use cookie cutters.
- Greasing the pan is not necessary, but I favor using nonstick foil. For best results, use insulated pans. (Hint: for your own insulated pans, take two regular jelly roll pans, and between them, add a layer of heavy duty aluminum foil that has been wrinkled, then partially smoothed out. This will create an air gap between the two pans.)
- If you roll your cookies to 1/4″ thickness and bake on insulated pans as suggested, baking time is 19 minutes. If your cookies are thinner, and/or you’re using thinner pans, bake time will be shorter. When done, the corners of your cookies will just start to brown, and the middles will no longer feel spongy. Also, you can bake for 16-17 minutes to produce a softer, chewier cookie (this is not recommended for gingerbread houses, though).
My personal tips, tricks, and suggestions:
- I found my mini cookie cutter on Amazon in a mini set of six. Click here for the link. It was the perfect tiny size! Just what I was looking for!
- This dough did not spread much, as promised, so I was able to fit quite a few on each cookie sheet!
- I found wonderful triple decker cooling racks at my local Michaels craft store. They could be used individually, or in stacks of two or three. For any of you that find yourself as challenged as I do by lack of counter space, these racks rocked!
- I decorated using Royal Icing made from a local farm stand. Any royal icing recipe would do nicely though! Additional embellishments included ice cream toppings, colored sugar crystals, crushed candy, snipped gumdrops, and just about anything else I could think of!
- Allow yourself the gift of messiness! Even after laying out supplies and clearing work surfaces, a little mess is to be expected when craftily creating! Allow yourself this space :) and the time you need to truly realize your gingerbread visions!
- Give these as unique and delicious gifts! They certainly stand alone, or you could choose, as I did, to combine them with other homemade treats for one of a kind goodie tins!
- Last but not least, have a great time! The love you put into these cookies will shine through in both taste and appearance to those lucky friends and family members with whom you share them!
If you enjoyed this post and are looking for more gingerbread magic, click here to explore creating lovely mini gingerbread houses! Have fun!!