Cookie of the Day: Gluten-Free Gingerbread, 3 Ways

Baking, Cook, Cookie of the Day, Gluten-Free, Holidays

This post comes courtesy of Tara Barker, blogger behind A Baking Life.

 

The holiday season this year is different and more hectic for our family than it’s ever been. With our oldest son in school, there are a host of new activities and obligations added to the usual Christmas busy-ness. Field trips to see the Nutcracker, Secret Santa assignments (a week’s worth of handmade gifts need to be crafted), holiday concerts, a much-anticipated Finger Food Festival, and toy and food drive organizing have all been added to our already-packed schedule. Counter-intuitively, perhaps, I absolutely love this. If I’m going to be ridiculously busy, constantly juggling obligations, I can think of no better time than now, when all those obligations bring with them lots of good cheer and opportunities to get out and be social.

 

However, it does require extra mindfulness on my part, to ensure that all the joy doesn’t get drowned out by stress and guilt. I want to embrace all the festiveness around me, while maintaining traditions begun years ago, when life was slower.

 

Case in point: gingerbread cookies. For me, it’s just not Christmas without gingerbread cookies. Yet my recipe makes a lot of cookies, all of which need to be rolled, cut, baked, and decorated; in short, they require a lot of time, something that is quite the precious commodity this year. My solution? I took my basic dough, rolled a third of it into traditional cut-out cookies for my boys to decorate, and used the remaining dough to make two new cookies, both time-savers. The Currant-Spice Drop Cookies are the quickest and easiest to make, but the slice-and-bake Chocolate-Dipped Gingerbread Coins are a close second. And they’re all delicious.

 

One dough, three ways. It’s the perfect way to keep my gingerbread tradition alive, introduce some new cookies to the holiday mix, and maintain my sanity. Happy holidays, indeed.

 

Soft Gluten-Free Gingerbread Cookies

 

If you don’t need to eat gluten-free, simply replace both flours with all-purpose flour and leave out the xanthan gum and psyllium husk powder.

 

4 Tbs. unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup molasses

1/4 cup mild honey

1 large egg

3 cups Tara’s gluten-free all-purpose flour mix

1/4 cup teff flour

1 tsp. xanthan gum

1 tsp. psyllium husk powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger

1/2 tsp. fine sea salt

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground cloves

1/4 tsp. ground allspice

1/8 tsp. finely ground black pepper

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup dried currants, for the drop cookies

5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped, for the dipped coins (I especially like dark chocolate for this, such as Valrhona Abinao 85% or Scharffen Berger 82% Extra Dark)

 

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl with a hand-held electric mixer), cream the butter and sugar. Mix in the molasses and honey. Add the egg, mixing until combined. (Don’t worry if the mixture looks curdled.)

 

In a medium bowl, sift together the flours, xanthan gum, psyllium husk powder, baking soda, spices, salt, and pepper. Add half of the flour mixture to the sugar mixture, mixing on low speed until just combined, scraping down the paddle and sides of the bowl as needed. Pour in the water, and mix to combine. Add the remaining flour and mix until fully combined.

 

Divide the dough into three pieces (it’s going to be very sticky), wrap each in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours, or overnight.

 

For Rolled Gingerbread Cookies: 

 

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Have ready two baking sheets lined with parchment or silicone baking mats.

 

On a well floured board, roll out one piece of cookie dough to about 1/8 inch thick. As long as you work quickly and keep the dough dusted with flour, it shouldn’t be at all hard to work with. If the dough gets too warm it will become too sticky; pop it back in the fridge to cool a bit. Using cookie cutters, cut out cookies into desired shapes and place on prepared baking sheets. Scraps may be rerolled and cut, up to two more times.

 

Bake cookies for 8 to 10 minutes, or until their surface is dry and they indent slightly when you gently touch them, but are not yet beginning to get noticeably darker. (Unless, of course, you want a crispy gingerbread cookie. In that case just bake them longer and you’ll end up with cookies strong enough to use for gingerbread houses!) Cool completely on a wire rack, then decorate as desired. (I generally use royal icing and a plethora of sprinkles and fancy sugars.) Cookies keep, wrapped airtight and at room temperature, for up to one week. Makes 12 to 18 Rolled Gingerbread Cookies (depending on the size of your cutters.

 

For Currant-Spice Drop Cookies:

 

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Have ready two baking sheets lined with parchment or silicone baking mats.

 

Remove one piece of cookie dough from the refrigerator and place it in a mixing bowl. Using a wooden spoon, stir in ¼ cup of dried currants until they are evenly distributed in the dough. Scoop the dough by tablespoon-sized portions (I use a portion scoop to keep them uniform) and place on prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until cookies are firm and dry, and the edges are just beginning to brown. Cool completely on a wire rack, then drizzle each cookie with a simple confectioners’ sugar glaze, if desired. Cookies keep, wrapped airtight and at room temperature, for up to one week. Makes 20 Currant-Spice Drop Cookies.

 

For Chocolate-Dipped Gingerbread Coins:

 

Remove one piece of cookie dough from the refrigerator. Unwrap it, place it on a gluten-free-floured board, and lightly dust it with gluten-free flour. Roll the dough into a log about an inch and a half in diameter. Wrap log in plastic wrap, and freeze until stiff, at least 2 hours.

 

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Have ready two baking sheets lined with parchment or silicone baking mats.

 

Remove the log of dough from the freezer, and slice it into 30 discs. Place cold discs on the prepared baking sheets and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until cookies are firm and surface is dry. Cool completely on a wire rack.

 

Line a baking sheet with wax paper. In a metal bowl set over a pot of just-simmering water, melt 5 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate. (Alternately, you can melt the chocolate in 10-second intervals in the microwaving, stirring frequently.)

 

Dip each gingerbread coin halfway into the melted chocolate, allowing the excess to drip back into the bowl. Place cookies on the prepared baking sheet. When all the coins have been dipped, refrigerate until the chocolate has firmed up.

 

Transfer gingerbread coins to an airtight container (or put them on a serving plate and wrap with plastic wrap). Cookies keep, refrigerated, for up to one week. Bring to room temperature before serving. Makes 30 Chocolate-Dipped Gingerbread Coins.

 

About the author: Tara is the author, recipe developer, and photographer behind the gluten-free baking blog, A Baking Life. She is also the pastry chef at 40 Paper, her husband’s Italian bistro, where she has developed an acclaimed — and entirely gluten-free — dessert menu. She lives in a small town on the coast of Maine with her husband Josh, their two sons Kalen and Wylie, and their black Lab, Sage.

One comment about “Cookie of the Day: Gluten-Free Gingerbread, 3 Ways

  1. A Gnome and a Pixie: A Holiday Story | Gluten Free Canteen

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *