Cookies: Featuring a Wonderful Gluten-Free Gingerbread House
holidays would not be the same without delicious Christmas cookies
and wonderful holiday treats. Baking gluten-free during the holidays
can sometimes pose some difficult challenges. We are here to tell
you that it is possible to make delicious gluten-free cookies
even Santa will love!
the Perfect Baking Flour
first challenge is choosing the appropriate gf flours. We have
found that instead of donning your food chemist coat and mixing
various gf flours (Tapioca, Rice, Potato, etc.), and adding your
own stablizers (xanthan gum and/or guar gum) and producing marginal
results, you may find it easier to use a prepackaged gf flour
mix. The Gluten-Free
Pantry, makes a wonderful mix called "Country
French Bread Mix". The mix has all the flours already mixed
together and it requires the "baker" to add the fats,
sugar, eggs, etc. So, in an effort to make your life easier this
holiday season, try the Gluten-Free Pantry flour as a substitute.
Our suggestion is to try this flour mix as a substitute for regular
flour in nearly all of your baking. We are confident you will
find this to be a must-have in your pantry.
flour can make a huge difference in your baking results. Carefully
measuring out your ingredients, both dry and wet, can make a difference
in not only taste but texture as well. When measuring out gf flour,
first fluff it with a fork, then spoon it into a dry measuring
cup. Level the top with a knife to ensure an even cups worth.
It is not always necessary to sift your dry ingredients together.
The job can be done sufficiently by mixing the dry ingredients
with a whisk or a fork.
measuring your liquid ingredients be sure to use a glass measuring
cup (to ensure proper level of fullness) and place the cup on
a level counter. If using a recipe calling for oils and thick,
"syrupy" ingredients, measure out the oil first, followed
by the thick, sticky ingredients. This will eliminate the sweeteners
from sticking to the sides of the cup.
in Butters or Fats
your recipe calls for cutting in fats (butter or shortening) into
dry ingredients, it is important to use chilled butter to eliminate
the possibility of it melting during the mixing process. You will
find the best results using a pastry blender (a device that looks
like a "U" with a handle at the top, with the U being
made up of a series of rigid wires). If a pastry blender is unavailable
you can also use 2 knives, crisscrossing them like open scissors
and cutting through the butter to blend into flour. The end result
should be flour particles coated with butter, resembling small
peas or coarse meal. The purpose of this procedure is to allow
the butter to melt during the baking. The moisture contained in
it produces steam, thereby giving the pastry a flaky, tender texture.
out gf Dough
you may find a little tricky when using gf doughs. The key is
"patience", perseverance and a small bag of tricks
compliments of Glutenfreeda. Depending on the dough you are working
with you may need to adopt a few strategies to eliminate the headache
of ripped, misshapen cookie tragedies.
cookies are quite simple, like the Maple
Spice Cookies. Simply mix together your wet and
dry ingredients in separate bowls, then
Poppy Stars & Moons
combine until the batter is mixed thoroughly. Drop your cookies
on a cookie sheet and bake!
cookies, like the Stained
Glass Cookies, Lemon
Poppy Stars & Moons, and the Gingerbread
the batter to be chilled before rolling out or shaping into cookies.
We have found that these cookies tend to have a truer consistency
and better taste than those that arent chilled first. For
these cookies, make sure that your dough has been chilled for
the appropriate time. This will allow the dough to "rest"
and also allow the fats (butter or shortening) to harden enough
to facilitate the process of rolling out the dough.
on the type of cookie you make you need to be careful on the method
you choose to roll out your dough. If the dough has a larger than
normal butter content and is wetter than your traditional dough
(a good example of this is the Gingerbread
Cookie recipe) you will need to roll the dough
out on a gf floured surface. However, most cookie recipes that
require you to roll out the dough, you will get the best results
from rolling it out between two sheets of parchment or wax paper.
you are using cookie cutters (as in the Christmas
Cookies), and are
having difficulty with the cutter not releasing the dough, try
placing a small amount of gf flour on a plate or on your pastry
board. Move the cutter back and forth, coating the blades with
the flour. This will help eliminate any stubborn cookies from
a Gluten-Free Gingerbread House
year, we wanted to try a traditional Gingerbread House for all
of those gluten-intolerant children to enjoy! Making a gingerbread
house is a fun and exciting activity for kids to do during the
the Gingerbread Dough:
make the mixing of the dough easier, especially with gf flour,
make two batches separately.
cups gf flour (we used The Gluten-Free Pantrys Country
French Bread mix)
- 1/2 teaspoon
- 1/4 teaspoon
ground cloves or allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon
- 6 Tablespoons
unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 cup
- 1/2 cup
together dry ingredients (gf flour through salt). In a separate
bowl, beatthe butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer until
fluffy. Beat in egg, molasses and water. Beat half of the dry
ingredients into the molasses mixture until well blended. Stir
in the remaining dry ingredients with a wooden spoon, then knead
the mixture with your hands until well blended. Place dough on
a sheet of wax paper, mold into a ball or disc shape and refrigerate
for 30 minutes.
your pattern pieces out of a sturdy material, like heavy graph
paper or a manila folder. Cut out and label the following pieces:
the oven to 350°F. Cut dough in half. Working with
one half at a time,roll out the dough between two sheets
of parchment or wax paper to the thickness of 1/4-1/8-inch.
to keep the thickness as uniform as possible. This will
allow the dough to bake evenly and help with the construction
of the house. Lightly rub rolled out dough with gf flour.
as many pattern pieces on top that will fit and cut out
the pieces. (Cut out the door and reserve.) Carefully transfer
pieces to cookie sheets. Group larger pieces together to
ensure even cooking. If desired, texture the roof, sides
and front by lightly cutting shapes or using the tip of
the gingerbread pieces until the pieces are lightly browned
and the edges begin to darken, about 6-8 minutes. Remove
the cookie sheets from the oven and let cool on racks (leave
the gingerbread on the cookie sheet during this time) until
the pieces are cool and firm, about 15 minutes. Once cool,
carefully transfer the cookies to racks to cool completely.
(You can make the gingerbread pieces several days in advance
to constructing your house.)
the Caramel "glue"
- 4 cups
- 1/2 cup
teaspoon cream of tartar
sugar, water, and cream of tartar in a large pan (big enough to
accommodate the width and length of your gingerbread pieces
you will be dipping your edges into this caramel). Increase the
heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil. Place a warmed
candy thermometer in the pan and cook, without stirring, until
it reaches the light caramel stage, 320°F.
on a large wax paper or parchment sheet, start by putting the
house front, sides and back together. Working quickly with the
caramel, dip the end of one side piece in the caramel, gently
press it onto the back piece. Hold for about 2 minutes. Repeat
with other side piece.
After both side pieces are "glued" to the back, invert
so the exposed ends of the side pieces are facing down. Carefully,
dip them into the caramel. Place on the back of the front piece.
Hold in place until set.
For the roof, with a warm spoon, carefully spoon the caramel onto
the edges ofthe house top. Gently lay one side on the roof and
hold in place for 1 minute. Repeat with remaining roof top. For
the chimney, glue the four pieces together, then glue onto the
decorate your house you will need icing and assorted candies.
There are many gf candies available on the market that work wonderfully.
We used, Lifesavers, Skittles, and Peppermint candies and Candy
Canes. (As always, we advise you to check with manufacturers to
make sure that they are indeed gluten-free.)
powdered sugar, plus more for stiffening
powdered sugar and egg whites in a grease free bowl. Beat the
whites on low speed. After 30 seconds, scrape down the bowl with
a rubber spatula and gradually increase the speed to medium-high.
Beat until the icing is glossy and stiff peaks form, about 7 minutes.
Add about 1 tablespoon of powdered sugar at a time and mix with
a spatula until the icing is fairly stiff. Spoon into a pastry
your imagination when decorating your house. You may want to pipe
icing around the edges of the roof and chimney to give the appearance
of snow. To apply the candy, just pipe a little amount of icing
and stick the candy on.
hope you and your family enjoy a wonderful holiday season!