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!