Gender-Neutral Gluten Free Gingerbread People Cookies (and a gluten alternative!)

I learned recently that my mother and her friends get together during the day for the holidays, drink a bottle of wine and make ‘Lewd, Nude Gingerbread People’ complete with all their ‘bits and pieces’ if you know what I mean.  I personally prefer the gender ambiguity of traditional ginger-people.  I just really don’t need to know that much about them.

As part of our countdown to Christmas I wanted to make a batch of gender-neutral Gingerbread People (in fact ‘personality-neutral’ as I’m not big on the icing) to accompany a homemade batch of Eggnog Ice Cream.  Truth be told I had decided to try some new gluten free recipes for this blog post and they failed.  I was now like a heat seeking missile and was not to be detoured from my goal.
I am not a recipe innovator.  I’m a ‘tweaker’ but not truly a ‘whip-it-up-from-scratch’ kinda gal on a large scale.  However in this time-limited moment with steadfast commitment to creating my gingey-folk, I was overwhelmed by a gust of courage crossed with wreckless abandon.  I decided I would create my own gluten free gingerbread cookie recipe, gosh darn it.
Modifying regular baking recipes to be gluten free is not overly complicated.  What I know is that no one gluten-free flour has the structure of wheat flour so it’s best to use combinations of them which can be purchased pre-blended or you can blend them yourself.
Secondly gluten is a binder so you need a substitute in baking:  Xanthan Gum.  This adds in the binding power wheat flour would provide naturally.
I have a flour mixture I use for everything.  It comes from the cookbook Gluten Free Baking Classics by Annalise Roberts.  I will be discussing the cookbook in depth at another time but I will say this flour has allowed creation of a myriad of gluten free baked goods rivaling their gluten-filled cousins and delighting even gluten diners in the process.  I like the flavor of this blend as well.  Many recipes use Gar-Fava flour which is made from Garbanzo bean flour and Fava bean flour.  It tastes very green and beany to me leaving a bit of a twang on my palette.
I whipped up these cookies based on a number of recipes I’ve seen or tried, fingers crossed, breath held and I will say they are fabulous!  Flavorful without being overwhelming in taste, good structure without being dry and most importantly a perfect partner to our Eggnog Ice Cream!
Wing-and-a-Prayer Gluten Free Gingerbread People Cookies
Yield: about 24 (2 dozen) 3 inch sized cookies
·         ½ cup softened unsalted butter
·         ½ cup sugar (I use organic)
·         ¼ cup molasses
·         1 egg yolk
·         2 cups sifted gluten free flour (see below for my preferred blend used for this recipe)
·         ½ teaspoon baking soda
·         ½ teaspoon baking powder
·         ½ teaspoon salt
·         ½ teaspoon xanthan gum
·         ½ teaspoon cinnamon
·         1 teaspoon ground cloves
·         1 teaspoon ground ginger
·         ½ teaspoon nutmeg
Gluten Substitution:  Though anyone would like these cookies and probably not be able to discern that they are gluten-free, if you are a gluten baker and don’t want to mix the alternative flour I would just substitute 2 cups of the flour of your choice AND remove the xanthan gum from the recipe.
Annalise Roberts Food Philosopher Gluten Free Brown Rice Flour mixture:
Brown Rice flour (extra finely ground):            2 parts    (2 cups)
Potato Stratch (NOT Potato Flour):                 2/3 part  (2/3 cups)
Tapioca Flour:                                                 1/3 part  (1/3 cups)
1.      In the bowl of a mixer cream together the softened butter and sugar until creamy.  Add molasses and egg yolk and beat until combined.
2.      In a separate bowl sift together flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, xanthan gum and the four spices.  Add to butter/sugar/molasses mixture blending until combined.  Cover and refridgerate at least one hour (because of my last minute scramble I left the dough in the fridge overnight; it seemed stiff but as soon as I began to roll it out it was fine).
3.      Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to a thickness of a ¼ inch.  I rolled mine out on a Roul’pat and did not have any sticking issues.  You can also use a lightly floured surface or between two sheets of waxed paper.  If the dough stays cold it should not stick.

4.      Place cookies about 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet.  Bake for 8-10 minutes (they will begin to puff slightly but not to brown).  Remove cookies to a cooling rack until cool.  They certainly can be iced
I mentioned in a prior post I am endeavoring to make all the recipes in David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop (fabulous and innovate ice cream recipes and other frozen desserts).  Number 9 did not disappoint.  It made a very rich and creamy Eggnog Ice Cream with the tell tale bite of freshly ground nutmeg.  A perfect complement to the Ginger People Cookies!


  1. says

    Love your gender neutral gingerbread people! My father likes to cook up some particularly “lewd” people every christmas. We all smile and laugh – ahh parents!

    Real cool gluten free option. Thanks for including the flour ratio. Do you just mix up a batch and keep it on hand? And the ice cream looks awesome. I would love a scoop of that in my morning coffee!

    xoxo Megan

  2. says

    Hi Megan,

    It is funny when the parent-child relationship shifts isn't it?! I DO mix up the flour and keep a batch on hand. Here are the amounts for a larger quantity (I included the amount closest to what was needed for MY recipe….I really can say that it is mine (a first)). Brown rice flour: 6 cups, Potato Startch: 2 cups, Tapioca flour: 1 cup. I put it all in a mason jar and keep it in the fridge.

    Also Annalise Roberts really stresses the fine grind of the rice flour. Authentic Foods make a great one (different than their finely ground Sweet Rice flour). If you could not find it or don't want to orderit I'm sure you can use regular brown rice flour it will just be a bit grainier!

    I'm going to go put some Eggnog Ice Cream in my coffee now; thanks for that inspired suggestion!

  3. says

    Chow and Chatter-
    Shameless really isn't it? Secretly it seems very liberating to be at a time in your life that you would consider spending your day in that way without a care (perhaps other than the wine running out!)

  4. says

    I found your blog through Cardamom Hills…so glad I did. The ginger bread cookies look so cute, love the funny story as well.
    Cute, that they're “gender free” shaped!
    Following your blog, now!

  5. says

    This is great. I just baked a batch of regular gingerbread 'shapes' but need to make a gluten and sugar free one for me – I've got the gluten free bit now – just need to work out a substitute for the molasses.

  6. says

    Yay yay yay! I LOVE these. I made some gingerbread people last week and was trying to figure out how to decorate them gender neutrally. Luckily I both ate and shared them before taking pictures or blogging so I have to make them again 🙂 Yay for playing with gluten free!!

  7. says

    I'd need therapy after eating gender-specific gingerbread people. I'd be wondering the whole time what it says about me that I'm eating THIS first or THAT last. No thanks. Give me the ambiguity. I also stand with you on the icing. I prefer my gingerbread cookies sans decorations. Bravo on a fantastic gluten-free cookie!

  8. says

    I think that gingerbread people ought to be gender neutral! Who says we have to assign gender to everything anyways? The only category I was to slot my cookies into is “DELICIOUS”. 😉

  9. says

    I’ve been using a gluten-free flour mix for about three years now and haven’t found anything it doesn’t work well with. I found it early in my gluten-free journey on a website called The contributor there has several posts about how she feeds her gluten free family on the cheap. Her recipe is: 3 c. brown rice flour, 3 c. corn starch, 2 c. of either soy flour or sweet sorghum flour and 1 c. of masa flour. I keep a batch of it made up at all times. Works great! The author has several articles on

  10. says

    These cookies are freshly baked in my kitchen– they turned out really well. I needed a gluten free dessert to take to a Gingerbread party tomorrow night and this was perfect. They taste nearly the same as my regular version. I’m really looking forward to the GF gingerbread house too– thank you again for such a wonderful giveaway! Holly

    • says

      I’m so glad Holly! I haven’t made these in a year or so; always a good reminder to whip some up. I did get an email from the GF bakery saying your order is complete so hopefully it will arrive this week. Please ‘report back’ with your thoughts when you get the kit. I just discovered them so you are my test-reader!


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