Monday, December 8, 2008

Gingerbread Boys and Girls (Gluten Free)

You're probably wondering why I haven't posted a recipe for gingerbread cookies before. You'd think I would like them for more than obvious reasons...

Well, I do! And somehow in the hustle and bustle of last year, I didn't get a chance to try them.

But this year, I received a request from one of my favorite gluten free bloggers, Tenille of Gluten Free Frugal.

Tenille needed a gluten free gingerbread cookie cut-out recipe for her daughter to take to school with her this week. I grew excited just reading her email! I recently purchased a copy of this month's Good Housekeeping, which featured a Gingerbread Boy and Girl recipe from none other than Paula Deen, the queen of southern cooking and baking.

I converted the recipe to be gluten free and casein free one evening last week and the next night I made the dough. I knew just by handling the dough that these cookies would turn out wonderful. The dough is remarkably easy to handle and roll out and the crisp ginger aroma is heavenly!

My newest trick in rolling out cookies and pie crusts is to tape down plastic wrap on my old kitchen table. Next, I lightly sprinkle sweet rice flour on the plastic wrap and then place my chilled dough on the dusted surface. Then I take one last peice of plastic wrap and place it on top of the dough before rolling it out. This works like a charm! Especially with this easy-to-handle dough!

These cookies were so easy and so delicious that I'm planning to make 5-6 batches to give as gifts this year.

We truly enjoyed these wonderful gluten free cookies! I hope you will give them a try this beautiful Christmas season!

Gingerbread Boys and Girls

*Adapted to be gluten free and casein free from Paula Deen's recipe in Good Housekeeping, Dec. 2008 pg. 208
Printer-Friendly Recipe

Dry Ingredients
1 cup brown rice flour
1 1/4 cups sorghum flour
1 1/4 cups tapioca starch/flour -or- arrowroot starch
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (or ground)
1/8 teaspoon salt

Wet Ingredients
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup Crisco -or- butter
2 large eggs
1/4 cup molasses


1. In a medium sized bowl whisk together all dry ingredients. Set aside.

2. In stand mixer (or by hand) beat brown sugar and crisco together until well combined (or creamed.) This may take about 3 minutes with the stand mixer, 5-8 minutes by hand. If using stand mixer, scrap bowl occasionally with a rubber spatula.

3. Add eggs and molasses to sugar/crisco mixture. Beat until combined in mixer. With a spoon stir in flour mixture a little at a time until well blended. (I definitely recommend adding the flour by hand with a wooden spoon, you get a good "feel" for how well the mixture is combining as a dough.)

4. Divide dough into 3 balls. Flatten each ball into a disk and cover with plastic wrap. Refridgerate at least one hour or until firm enough to roll out. (I kept mine in the fridge for about 2 hours.)

5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silpat mat.

6. Place two sheets of plastic wrap on a flat surface. Tape the plastic wrap to the surface so they will not move while you are rolling out the cookies. Sprinkle sweet rice flour lightly over the plastic wrap. Place the disk of dough on the lightly dusted surface and sprinkle additonal sweet rice flour over the top of the disk. Place another sheet of plastic wrap on top of the dough and roll out to 1/8" thickness. Cut out 4-5" gingerbread boys and girls.

7. Place cookies 1" apart on lined cookie sheets. Bake cookies 6-8 minutes (NO LONGER!) until edges are just slightly brown. You can EASILY overbake these cookies!! Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

8. Decorate with icing: Mix together 3 cups confectioners sugar with 3-4 tablespoons milk. Add food coloring as desired. I decorate by adding icing to cheap plastic ziplock bags. Cut one corner off the plastic bag and decorate!!

Makes about 30 4-5" cookies.

(Printer-friendly version)

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  1. Your gingerbread people look awesome! I've been itching to make these gluten-free for a while. Thanks for the recipe:)

  2. Travis -- unfortunately that isn't my picture! lol... I didn't have my digital camera handy when I made my first batch, but I'll replace the picture with my own as soon as I bake some more cookies! They looked JUST as good as those cookies did though! (Although my decorating job probably won't!!!) haha!

  3. I wish I'd seen this a few hours ago! I just tried making an (unsuccessful) batch of gingerbread men. I'll be giving this recipe a try! Thanks!

  4. I LOVE gingerbread! I will draw this to Julie's attention when she gets home, maybe she will make some, or at least let me make some. Eric B

  5. Yay! I was googling gfcf gingerbread cookies when I decided to check my email and this recipe was there! My son's preschool is having the kids decorate gingerbread people so I needed a recipe to send a few in with him. Thanks!

  6. Your gingerbread are really cute! By the way, any idea about substituting for eggs? I have friends with very special kids - gf, cf, soy-free and egg-free. I'd love to be able to make gingerbread men.


  7. Hiya Carrie! :) So - I can't find tapioca starch - should I replace it with potato starch or some other type of flour? What say you? :) Thanks!!!

  8. Hiya Carrie! :) So... I can't find tapioca starch - should I replace that with potato starch or some other type of flour? What's the difference between a starch and a flour anyway? Thank you thank you!

  9. I made gingerbread at work yesterday. It was certainly not GF (esp with the 18 cups of flour I had to dig out of the bin. There was a tad bit of cocoa powder in it, to accentuate the color.

  10. Tenille -- Tapioca starch and tapioca flour are one in the same! Sorry for the confusion!! You did want to use a starch in this recipe because otherwise you might have some very dry and dense cookies! If you don't have tapioca starch/flour available you can use cornstarch, arrowroot starch, or potato starch all in the same quantity!

  11. Anonymous -- Yay!! I'm so glad you found my site through Google! (Thanks Google!!) I hope you will give these cookies a try! I think you will really enjoy them and I truly hope your son enjoys decorating them with his class!

    Eric -- I love gingerbread too! Hence the blog name! ;-) I'm hoping to actually post an actual "ginger-bread" cake recipe very soon! It's my favorite cake!!

    Jeanine -- If you try these cookies, please let me know how they turn out!!

  12. Karen -- Let me get back to you on an egg free/ soy free version of the cookies...I do think it is very possible!! Email me and I'll see what I can come up with!!

    Nikki -- thanks for the tip on the cocoa powder!! That's a great idea!! I think the molasses worked really well though! I love the flavor of molasses!

  13. Thank you so much for these fun recipes... they really help bridge the gap between me and the rest of my gluten-tollerant world- ESPECIALLY because they are SOOOO TASTY!!!

  14. These look so good, I can't wait to try them! That's a great tip on how to roll out the dough too!

  15. Okay, it's me again! :) I mixed up this dough last night and just wanted to mention that on the tapioca starch it says 1 1/4, but not whether that's cups or what. I used cups and my dough turned out great, though my poor little cheap handmixer got quite a workout mixing it up! LOL. It was great to be able to send this dough along with my little girl this morning!

  16. Tenille! -- Good grief!! I always forget pivitol information like that! lolol... Thanks for catching that!! YES, it's 1 1/4 cups of tapioca starch!! Oh I hope E LOVES those cookies! I hope she has a really fun day today!! Thanks

  17. I just love how chubby your gingerbread people are. Thanks for the recipe. I will try it!


  18. Thank you, Carrie. My son is allergic to wheat and eggs (and peanuts, nuts, legumes, bananas) so I am thrilled to see a recipe without both. And I have not had good luck with replacing wheat and egg in a cookie. Your "Preacher Cookies" and rice crispy treats are the things he can have.

    Two questions--Any good sub. for the cinammon? My son dislikes it so intensely that we had him tested for allergy which was negative. He seems to tolerate nutmeg well. Also, is there a sub for sorghum flour? I can't find it around here.

    Thank you, again.

  19. Thank you, Carrie, for an wheat-free, egg-free cookie. I haven't had good luck substituting both for my allergic son. So it looks good! :^)

    Questions: Any good sub for the cinammon? My son dislikes it so intensely that we had him allergy tested. He does tolerate nutmeg well. Also, any good sub for sorghum flour? I cannot find it in my area.

    Thanks, again. Rice Krispy Treats and "Eric's Preacher Cookies" are a staple in our home.

  20. I used energy egg replacer in this recipe, and it worked fine. Needed more water than the replacer calls for, just add it by teaspoons until you get to a workable consistency.

  21. This is a great recipe. I replaced the flours with Bob's Red Mill GF All-Purpose flour mix, and 3/4 tsp xanthan gum. The dough handled beautifully, better than some wheat flour recipes. I took them to a party and people had no idea they were GF. Thanks so much!