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Gluten Free Gingerbread cookies

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These gluten free gingerbread cookies are so delicious with just the perfect amount of ginger “kick” to them. 

gluten-free gingerbread cookies in a bowl

There is nothing better than decorating cookies with your kids and their friends during the Christmas season, and there is no reason that gluten-free kids should miss out! That’s the real reason why I’ve made these cookies, as well as gluten-free soft sugar cookies so many times. My kids love making gluten free gingerbread men, and getting icing and sprinkles everywhere. Making messes makes the best memories. 

Just because these are gluten free doesn’t mean you should be intimidated. They’re incredibly easy. In fact, they’re just as easy as the traditional variety. The main difference is, of course, the flour you use.

What Kind of gluten-free flour to use in this recipe 

For gluten free cookies, you’ll use a gluten-free flour mix, rather than wheat flour. If you’re experienced with gluten-free baking, you may already know exactly what kinds of flours and binders make the best cookies that don’t fall apart. 

For the rest of us, here’s a quick flours 101:

In general, you’ll want a blend of about 2/3 and 1/3 starch. 

Aside from that, you’ll need to use a binder such as xanthan gum, or guar gum to make up for the stickiness that gluten-free fours lack. Usually these are used at a rate of about a teaspoon per cup of flour. 

a stack of gingerbread cookies on a table

Here’s a big caveat: Most commercial flour blends you buy in the grocery store already contain xanthan, or guar gum, or another equivalent. So if you’re using one, you don’t need to worry about it. 

I have tested this recipe with King Arthur’s Gluten-Free all purpose baking mix which worked wonderfully. 

If you’re using your own custom blend, here’s my recommendation, and what I’ve used with good results in this recipe: 

One thing I would not use is coconut or almond flour. These are two flours that act completely differently from grain-based flours.

Ingredients for gluten-free gingerbread cookies

Once you’ve chosen your gluten-free flour blend, you need to gather your remaining ingredients. These are probably all things you already have in your pantry, and if not, should be easily available at your local grocery store. 

  • Butter
  • Brown sugar
  • Blackstrap molasses
  • Eggs
  • Vanilla extract
  • Ground ginger
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Baking soda
  • Salt
  • Icing (optional)

If you don’t already have blackstrap molasses, I’ve found it at grocery stores like HEB, Albertsons, and Walmart, so I assume larger chains in other areas would also have it. If not, you can order blackstrap from amazon. 

ingredients for making gluten free gingerbread cookies

Recipe substitutions

There honestly aren’t a lot of substations to be made in gluten-free gingerbread cookies. The biggest thing would be subbing different flours, which we already discussed above. 

The second thing would be the molasses. 

Third, you can change up the spices by adding ground cloves, nutmeg, etc.

Can you use regular molasses instead of blackstrap? 

Yes. Some people prefer it as it has a more mild flavor. I’ve used sorghum molasses in place of blackstrap countless times with great success. (my family used to grow sorghum cane commercially, so we always had a large supply of sorghum handy!).

You may need to change the quantity of flour slightly if you change molasses types, as some tend to be thicker than blackstrap. I would say measure your flour out as called for in the recipe, and then remove 2 tablespoons and set aside. You can add it back in if needed, but that way you don’t start off with dough that’s too thick. 

Can this recipe be made vegan? 

In my opinion, you’d be better off finding a specially vegan recipe like this one. I say this mostly because though I’m a big fan of homemade flax egg replacer, I haven’t tested egg substitutions in this particular recipe. 

Vegan or dairy-free butter on the other hand is easy – there are a number of good substitutes such as Earth Balance, Smart Balance, and Country Crock. 

Pro-tip: Whether you use dairy, or vegan butter, be sure to bring it to room temperature before starting your recipe. This is vital for beating it and the sugar together effectively.

How to Make This Gluten-Free Gingerbread Cookie Recipe

  1. In a medium bowl, combine flour blend, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt, and set that aside
    gluten free flours in a bowl with cinnamon and ginger
  2. In a large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and brown sugar together until fluffy
  3. Beat in blackstrap, egg, and vanilla
    butter, sugar, blackstrap, and egg in bowl
  4. Stir in dry ingredients until fully incorporated
    dry ingredients for gluten free gingerbread cookies
  5. Form dough into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for an hour
  6. Preheat oven to 350º
  7. Use a rolling pin to roll dough out on a floured surface (using gluten-free flour) to 1/4 inch thick
    gingerbread cookie dough
  8. Cut into shapes with cookie cutters, and arrange cut-out cookies on uncreased baking sheets with an inch between each for even heating and air flow
    gluten free ginger cookies with cookie cutters
  9. After cutting cookies out, gather dough scraps back up and knead into a ball, roll and cut out again until dough is used up
  10. Bake cookies in center of oven for 12 minutes until set
  11. Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes on pan before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely 
    gingerbread cookies gluten-free on a wire rack

Note: cookies can be fragile while still hot, so I don’t recommend removing them from the pan straight out of the oven

Next: ice as desired. 

Kids love to try their hand at making gingerbread men, or decorating start, circle shaped cookie “ornaments” etc. They’re such a fun family Christmas activity to bake and decorate together!

Tips for making the best gluten-free gingerbread cookies

  • Lightly flour your surface, but don’t over flour it. Not only will extra flour make your dough stiff and hard to roll out, it will also make it more breakable.
  • If your dough does get so stiff that you can no long roll it, knead in 2-3 drops of water.
  • By the same token, If, as your gluten free gingerbread cookie dough, it  gets too sticky to work with, pop it back in the refrigerator as needed to stiffen it up
  • Roll out cookie dough gently to keep it from cracking. I always tell my kids to lightly roll – don’t mash the dough. But don’t worry! You can always knead it back into a ball and try again

Tips for making gluten free gingerbread cookies in advance

gingerbread cookies on a cutting board

Since the holidays are hectic, you may be looking to get some baking done ahead of time. Or maybe you need to bring already-made cookies to a decorating party. 

In either case, I’ve got you! 

To make the dough ahead of time to bake later, simply follow the instructions in the recipe up until step 5, chilling the dough. 

Instead of leaving it in the bowl to chill, form the dough into a ball, wrap it tightly with 2-3 layers of plastic wrap, and place in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This dough will stay fresh in the fridge for up to a week. When you’re ready to bake, just remove it, unwrap, and continue with recipe instructions. 

If you’d like to make it further in advance, you can wrap the dough in plastic wrap, then tin foil, place it in the freezer, and freeze. I like to also put it in a plastic ziplock bag to make sure it’s airtight. 

When ready to use frozen dough, let thaw, still wrapped tight, in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours before continuing with the recipe. 

Pro-tip: keeping it wrapped as it thaws prevents condensation from making your dough sticky. 

Storing Baked Gluten Free Gingerbread Cookies

If you’d like to pre-bake the cookies ahead of time, follow the instructions through to baking and cooling. 

Seal the cookies in an airtight container and store them at room temperature for 2-3 days, or in the refrigeratory for 7-10 days. 

You can also freeze baked cookies by sealing them in a ziplock bag. These don’t take long to thaw. I recommend putting them in the refrigerator overnight, or you can put them directly on the counter top until thawed. 

Other recipes to try

If you’re in the mood for gluten free Christmas cookies, here are some other recipes to try!

Print

Gluten Free Gingerbread cookies

Simple, delicious cut out gluten-free gingerbread cookies. Perfect for the holidays!

  • Author: Elise New

Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 1/2 cups gluten-free flour blend
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teasopon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, room tempurature
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup blackstrap molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, combine flour blend, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt, and set that aside
  2. In a larger mixing bowl, cream butter and brown sugar together until fluffy
  3. Beat in molasses, egg, and vanilla
  4. Stir in dry ingredients until fully incorporated
  5. Form dough into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for an hour
  6. Preheat oven to 350º
  7. Roll dough out on a floured surface (using gluten-free flour) to 1/4 inch thick
  8. Cut into shapes, and arrange cut-out cookies on uncreased or parchment paper lined baking sheets with an inch between each for even heating and air flow
  9. After cutting cookies out, gather dough scraps back up and knead into a ball, roll and cut out again until dough is used up
  10. Bake cookies in center of oven for 12 minutes until set
  11. Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes on pan before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely 

 

 

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2 Comments

  1. Instead of leaving it in the bowl to chill, form the dough into a ball, wrap it tightly with 2-3 layers of plastic wrap, and place in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This dough will stay fresh in the fridge for up to a week. When you’re ready to bake, just remove it, unwrap, and continue with recipe instructions.

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