I think it’s about time that I throw a party for the gingerbread cookie here at Free Eats. No more second-class citizen for this crisp, spicy, little number. Nope, I’m going all the way and giving these gingerbread cookies the treatment they deserve. Frosting, sugar crystals, and darling shapes aplenty.
Perhaps I’m overcompensating, but I carry around some serious guilt about how many half-eaten gingerbread cookies I’ve tossed in the trash over the years. I just didn’t get them. When I was younger I found the excitement of decorating gingerbread men or darling gingerbread houses irresistible, but when it came to the eating, I was not impressed.
So when I recently stepped into my kitchen to create this recipe I knew that I wanted a cookie that tasted great. Having the right balance of spices, deep molasses flavor and just a bit of crispness was essential. I wanted a cookie that I could decorate with my kids that they would actually want to eat when they were done.
These cookies definitely fit the bill. In fact, I can barely stop my kids from sneaking them off the cooling rack. Plus, I’m relieved that I no longer have to think about those sad, little gingerbread people being tossed in the trash or getting pecked to death by our fat chickens when they end up in their scrap bowl.
Notes: If you’ve ever had trouble transferring cut-out cookies onto a sheet pan without them breaking into a million little pieces, you aren’t alone! I had you in mind when I made the photo tutorial below. Although this gingerbread dough was easy to work with, I still like to use this technique. I’ve dealt with my share of delicate, frustrating doughs and this method is foolproof. If things get really sticky at any point in the process, you can always slide the plastic wrap onto a sheet pan and chill for 5-10 minutes. Then you’re good to go!
- • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour mix (for best results, click here to see the mix I use)
- • 3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (I use a corn-free variety from Authentic Foods)
- • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
- • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
- • 1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
- • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil (or you can use non-hydrogenated shortening, Earth Balance, or butter if you aren’t vegan/dairy free)*
- • 2-4 tablespoons milk substitute ( or milk if you aren’t vegan/dairy-free)
- • 1 cup sifted powdered sugar (I use a corn-free version)
- • 2-3 tablespoons milk substitute (or milk if you aren’t vegan/dairy-free)
- • Squeeze of lemon
- *This recipe works best with an oil/fat that is solid at cool room temperature. That way the dough will firm up when you chill it, making it easier to work with. Cookies made with the non-hydrogenated shortening will be quite crunchy, while the coconut oil and margarine yield a slightly crunchy cookie. Increasing or decreasing baking time will also allow you to create your ideal level of crunch.
- 1. Place the first eight dry ingredients (flour through brown sugar) in the bowl of your electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Pulse briefly to combine.
- 2. Add the molasses and oil and mix on medium-low until you have a damp, sandy mixture. This may take about 60 seconds.
- 3. Starting with 2 tablespoons, add the milk substitute and mix on low speed until a dough forms. If the dough doesn't come together use the remaining 2 tablespoons of milk.
- 4. Wrap the dough with plastic wrap and press into a disk shape. Place in refrigerator for 1 hour or overnight.
- 5. Working with small portions (keep the unused dough wrapped and chilled), roll out the dough between two sheets of plastic wrap to 1/8" thickness.
- 6. Cut out desired shapes and carefully transfer by using a very thin spatula dipped in a bit of gluten-free flour or using the technique that I show in the photo tutorial above.
- 7. Place cookies on parchment or silpat lined cookie sheet and bake in the center of a preheated 350 degree F oven for 8-10 minutes depending on the size and thickness of your cookies.
- 8. Cool on sheet pan for about five minutes and then transfer to a wire rack.
- 9. Frost (see icing instructions below) and serve. (These cookies store very well if tightly wrapped and placed in the freezer before frosting. Remove as needed, thaw and frost for last minute guests!)
- 1. In a small bowl, mix the powdered sugar, milk and lemon juice until smooth. Adjust to your desired consistency by adding additional milk or a bit more powdered sugar.