My oldest went gluten free about two months ago and it's been a mostly positive experience. It sucks that she can't eat her regular corn dogs and chicken strips at her favorite restaurants, but she has been requesting to take salads in her lunch. I'll call it like I see it and say that's a win. I've been gluten free since 2002, grain free/paleo since 2011, so this wasn't the hardest transition in the book. We had to buy things like GF oreos and cornflakes (Kellogg's is not GF), and we had to learn to like things like corn tortillas and settle for Fritos at snack shack. All in all it's been a great experience.
Until her second grade class decided to make gingerbread houses for the Christmas party. Making a need for things like gingerbread cookies (scary) and GF graham crackers (remotely scary).
I knew there were GF graham crackers available, I found mine at Whole Foods. They are about four dollars a box, but that is totally worth it so I don't have to make them from scratch. I found mine at Whole Foods, you can also get them on Amazon, here. They are good and Caitlin loved them. So the GF graham crackers were bought, but then what about actual ginger bread cookies?
Pinterest to the rescue. I have a GF board, and I pin all kinds of goodies and real food to it when I'm in the neighborhood. I just did a search for GF gingerbread and found this easy recipe from Nicole Ritchie. Yes, Nicole Ritchie. Is it bad that I thought, "Well hell, if Nicole can make them so can I"?. The recipe is super simple, even the boiling of the molasses and the butter on the stove. I promise, if I can do it, so can you. And the boiling part took less time than the cooling to room temp part.
Once the dough was chilled and ready to roll it was sturdy, much sturdier than any gluten free sugar cookie I've made. The dough held well and was easy to cut out, and they are a quick bake. Eight minutes tops. I chilled my dough overnight because I mixed it so late on Tuesday, that a two hour chill was putting us close to bath time. If you decide to chill overnight, please, let your dough sit on the counter for a good twenty minutes before you try to roll it out. You will break a nail, if not your hand. It hardens up real good. Almost too good.
Nicole Richie’s Gluten-Free Gingerbread Cookies
2½ cups gluten-free baking flour ( I used Pamela's)
1½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup molasses (it's by the pancake syrup)
½ cup solid shortening (I used butter because I didn't have shortening, it was fine.)
1. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, ginger and cinnamon. Set aside.
2. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine molasses and shortening and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
3. Stir the dry ingredients into the cooled molasses/shortening mixture until a thick dough forms. Cover and refrigerate until completely chilled, at least 2 hours. **I chilled overnight.
4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Turn out dough onto a well-floured surface, roll to about ¼-inch thick and cut out shapes using cookie cutters. Place on cookie sheet and bake for about 8 minutes, or slightly less if you like your gingerbread soft.
**Notes from me: if you have dairy issues, try Earth Balance shortening. It works really well in GF baking.
See, gluten free gingerbread is not scary. I totally thought it was scary before I tried to do it. It just seems like one of those kinds of things that require days and hours in the kitchen. Nope, just some molasses, butter, and a rolling pin. I promise, If I can do this, SO CAN YOU. It's not scary, it's delicious.
Enjoy, and happy GF eating.