Gingerbread Christmas Cookies
These are my favourite festive time treats wrapped in childhood memories and anticipation of a Christmas night miracle. Cookies spiced with cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and black pepper are a perfectly sweet addition to coffee, tea or mulled wine.
This is an alternative to the classical Christmas cookie recipe with gluten-free and refined sugar-free ingredients.
There are a few added health benefits from spices like cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and pepper as well as molasses used in this recipe. Still, this recipe contains a fair amount of sugar. Treat yourself within sensible limits, and share with friends and family.
Makes about 40-60 cookies depending on the size and shape of cutters.
4 cups (480g) of all-purpose gluten-free flour (I used Dove freee self-rising flour)
1 ½ teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it, like Dove self-rising flour)
8 tablespoons (70g) cornstarch
1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
3 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ (50g) cup brown sugar
⅔ (150g) cup soft dark brown sugar
6 (130g) tablespoons unsulphured molasses
4 (85g) tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (I used Biovegan ground bourbon vanilla)
10 tablespoons (140g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 medium or large eggs at room temperature, beaten
Royal icing, for decorating (optional)
Preheat your oven to 180 C (325 F). Line baking trays with unbleached parchment paper and set them aside.
In a large bowl, place the flour blend, xanthan gum, cornstarch, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, pepper, salt and brown sugar, and whisk to combine well. Add the soft dark brown sugar, and whisk once more to combine, working out any lumps in the brown sugar.
Create a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, and add the molasses, honey, vanilla, butter and beaten eggs, mixing to combine after each addition. The dough will be thick and smooth, and somewhat sticky to the touch.
Place the dough into the fridge for 30 minutes or 15 minutes in the freezer. It will allow it to firm up and be less sticky.
Transfer ¼ of the dough to a large sheet of unbleached parchment paper, cover it with another sheet of parchment and roll into a rectangle about 0.5 – 1 cm tick (about ¼ -½ inch). Dip a gingerbread man cutter and your hands in all-purpose gluten-free flour or cornstarch, and use it to cut out shapes from the cookie dough. With each cut, jiggle the cutter back and forth to create a neat shape. Peel back the rest of the dough from around the cut-outs, carefully peel off the men and place them, about 1 cm ( ½ inches) apart, on the prepared baking sheets. Gather and reroll scraps, and repeat the process until you have used all the dough.
Optionally, place the cut-outs on the baking sheets in the refrigerator or freezer until firm (about 20 minutes in the refrigerator, or just 5 minutes in the freezer).
Place the baking tray in the centre of the preheated oven and bake until dry to the touch (about 15 minutes). Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on the baking sheets. They will crisp as they cool.
Store cookies in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks if they last for so long.
If the dough is somehow still sticky and hard to handle after the fridge, use a bit of flour on the parchment paper and sprinkle a bit on the dough before rolling it out.
You can make the dough the night before and store it in the fridge (maximum 24h) to bake cookies the next day.
Also, you can make the dough in advance and keep it in the freezer for up to 2 weeks to bake on Christmas Day with your family and friends.
This recipe works with plain wheat flour if gluten isn’t an issue. Omit xanthan gum from this recipe if made with wheat flour.
Take a tea break and savour the quite moment appreciating sweetness of these cookies and count all the blessings you have had this year. Take deep breathes and let go of all the things you don’t want and need to carry with you to the next year.
Have a wonderful festive season!
Sending you love and to your dear ones,