I made gluten free gingerbread
men people this year based on Gluten Free Girl’s recipe, with a few tweaks of my own, and they turned out great – so spicy and crispy, just how I like them! I’m sure these would have been yummy with the usual pre-ground spices, but I decided to grind the fresh spices myself for a stronger flavour, and it made them soooo good!
I know this recipe seems like a lot of bother, but it really is worth it. You don’t have to do it all in one day – you can make the flour mix and dough one day, make the cookies another day, and ice them another day if you like. And don’t feel like this is just a Christmas recipe – use different shapes of cookie cutters and make them all year long!
Below is the gluten free flour mix I’ve developed (with a bit of inspiration from Gluten Free Girl) – it makes great biscuits and cakes! (Makes 1kg of baking mix.) If you don’t have the time or the ingredients to make the mix, go ahead and use a bought pre-mix, it should work fine. They can also be made with spelt or wheat flour – you may just need to adjust the amount of flour to make the dough the right texture for rolling out.
- 200g raw brown rice
- 50g dry buckwheat (or dry chick peas)
- 50g chia seeds
- 150g sorghum flour (also called 'Jowar Attah' in Indian stores)
- 150g potato starch or mung bean starch
- 250g sweet rice flour (also called glutinous rice flour)
- 200g arrowroot flour (or tapioca or corn starch)
- Grind raw brown rice, dry buckwheat, chia seeds in Thermomix on speed 9 for 1 1/2 minutes.
- Add sorghum flour, potato starch, sweet rice flour, arrowroot flour and mix on speed 6 until well combined, using TM spatula to help it along.
- Pour into a storage container.
- You can grind up the glutinous rice/dried arrowroot/tapioca/sorghum yourself - just make sure it's really fine, and grind in 250g batches for 1-2 mins/sp 9.
- 1 whole nutmeg
- 3 cloves
- 4 black peppercorns
- 1 vanilla bean, chopped in bits
- 1 cinnamon stick (or more if you like)
- a pinch of cardamom seeds
- 40g roasted almonds, unsalted (can leave out - just add 40g more flour mix)
- 170g Rapadura or coconut sugar
- zest of 1 or 2 oranges (preferably organic)
- 1 inch of fresh ginger (peeled and cut in quarters)
- 560g Gluten Free Flour Mix
- 1 1/2 tsp xanthum gum (or 2 Tbspns ground chia seeds)
- 2 tsp ground ginger powder (if you like it really gingery!)
- 3/4 tsp fine sea salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 230g unsalted butter or ghee or coconut oil
- 220g molasses
- 1 large egg
- Grind the dry, whole spices and roasted almonds first, on speed 9 for 1 minute, until finely ground.
- Add Rapadura or coconut sugar, zest of 1 or 2 oranges, fresh ginger and grind on speed 9, scraping down now and then until everything is finely ground.
- Add Gluten Free Flour Mix, xanthum gum, ginger powder, sea salt, baking soda and mix on speed 6 for 15 seconds using spatula to help combine mixture. Pour mixture into a bowl and set aside.
- Place unsalted butter, molasses, egg in Thermomix bowl and mix on speed 5-6 for 10 seconds.
- Scrape down sides, then with blades still running on speed 5, slowly add dry mixture through the hole in the lid, mixing until well combined. Towards the end you'll need to use the spatula to help it along.
- Divide the dough into four pieces, wrapping each one in a piece of plastic wrap, flatten to a disc shape, and refrigerate. Leave them in the fridge for a few hours, or up to three days - this makes the flavours stronger.
- Now for the tricky bit: cutting out the cookies and getting them onto the baking trays without mangling them! I found the easiest way to do this is to roll out one disc of well-chilled dough on a silicon mat, with a piece of baking paper on top of the dough so it doesn't stick to the rolling pin. Roll it to about 5mm thick, or thicker if you like thick cookies.
- Bake the cookies in a pre-heated 180 degree oven, until the centres are firm to the touch. Be careful not to burn them - if they're thin they cook in 10 minutes or less. Cool on racks before icing.
I just keep gathering the bits of dough together in balls, chilling them, and re-rolling and cutting them – they all seem to taste the same and not get too tough, probably because you don’t need any flour to roll them out with, if you use the baking paper.
Now for the icing! I didn’t want to use refined white sugar, so I decided to use xylitol so I’d still get white icing, instead of Rapadura, which I usually use. It worked great! This icing hardens as it dries.
- 100g xylitol
- 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
- 2 tblspns cornflour
- 1 egg white
- Grind xylitol, cream of tartar, cornflour on speed 9, scraping down now and then, until very fine.
- Insert butterfly and add egg white, mixing on speed 4 for about 4 or 5 minutes, until thick.
- Sit a zip-loc sandwich bag in a glass and drape the edges over the sides. Pour the icing into the bag, squeeze the air out, and seal. Snip a TINY hole in one corner of the bag.
We made gingerbread stars too…
As you can see, my kids wanted to add some dark chocolate chips and craisins to theirs…
…and one of them made a skeleton gingerbread man!