Tis the season for singing along to Bing Crosby’s White Christmas, trimming the Christmas tree, and sparkling lights on every house in the neighborhood. It’s the most wonderful time of the year because it’s the only time of year we can get away with binge-watching Hallmark Christmas movies, donning festive or ”ugly” sweaters for dinner with friends, and eating dozens of gingerbread cookies decked in royal icing and edible glitter.
If one could bake the holiday spirit into a cookie, it would have to be the Gingerbread cookie. The aroma of spiced molasses wafting from the oven is a magnificent reminder that Christmas is near. I’m convinced one taste of a soft gingerbread snowflake is enough to warm even Ebenezer Scrooge’s cold heart
Ingredients in Gingerbread Cookies
Crispy gingerbread cookies have their place in this world, but I prefer soft, chewy gingerbread cookies loaded with flavor from baking spices, dark brown sugar and molasses. I used to make this recipe with all-purpose flour, but I decided to experiment with a gluten-free-friendly recipe this year. I think I like them even more! There’s something about the texture of the gluten-free gingerbread cookie that’s so good.
Here are the ingredients to have on-hand for making gingerbread cookies gluten-free and non-dairy:
- King Arthur Gluten Free “Measure For Measure Flour” – This is not a sponsored post for King Arthur flour. I have found great success with their “Measure For Measure Flour” and use it any time I want to experiment making a recipe gluten free.
- Molasses – Full Flavor Molasses, Blackstrap Molasses, fresh Molasses straight from the source–whichever is your preference, just make sure it’s pure molasses!
- Dark Brown Sugar – Depth of flavor and color is enhanced with the richness of dark brown sugar. You can get away with using light brown sugar, but I like the extra molasses flavor from the darker version.
- Spices – Don’t be shy with spices! Generous amounts of Cinnamon, Ginger, Cloves, and a pinch of Nutmeg are what give this recipe the magnificent flavor (and aroma) of Christmas.
- Plant Butter – My trusty butter substitute when I need to make non-dairy cookies. Plant butter has been a true lifesaver! I prefer the flavor of Country Crock’s plant butter made with avocado oil (also not a sponsored post for Country Crock), but the olive oil version works well too.
- Egg – The one large egg is an essential adhesive for the cookie dough. When you have to roll and cut shapes out of cookie dough, eggs help the process by keeping the dough from crumbling apart. I like to use brown eggs for added depth of flavor, but white eggs are totally fine if that’s what you have in your fridge.
- Baking Soda – Thick, chewy gingerbread cookies would not be the same without the stellar combo of baking soda and molasses. Baking Soda reacts with the acids in molasses, producing CO2, which causes the cookies to rise.
- Salt – This may come without saying, but salt is the magic ingredient for rounding out the flavor profile of gingerbread cookies.
How to Make Gingerbread Cookies
This is one of the simplest cookie recipes in my collection, which makes it a wonderful recipe to have on-hand during the holidays. If you need to save some time, make the dough several days or weeks ahead of time and store in the freezer until you are ready to roll and cut out the cookies.
Start by combining the flour, sugar, spices, baking soda, and salt in a mixing bowl. Blend the dry ingredients together for about 30 seconds to make sure they’re all combined.
Cut the butter into ½-inch chunks and gradually add to dry ingredients. If you’re using a stand mixer, set it on low for about 2 minutes until the butter is evenly combined with the dry ingredients and the mixture looks sandy.
While the mixer is on low, add molasses and egg and mix until it forms a dough (about 30 seconds) and there isn’t any loose flour left at the bottom of the mixing bowl.
Cut a large piece of parchment and lay it flat on the countertop. Transfer the dough from the mixing bowl to the middle of the parchment paper. Gently fold the dough a few times before pressing into a square shape on the parchment.
Fold the edges of the parchment over the dough and press the dough down enough that the edges of the parchment overlap about a ¼-inch. Place the dough into a sealed plastic bag and chill in the freezer for 30-45 minutes (if you want the cookies fast) or in the refrigerator overnight.
When you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
To roll out the dough, place the chilled dough onto your work surface and unwrap the partially unwrap the parchment paper so the parchment is between the dough and countertop. This will keep the dough from sticking to your work surface.
Sprinkle a small amount of gluten-free flour over the dough before rolling to ¼-inch thickness. You may have to lift the dough and sprinkle a little flour between the dough and parchment to help it roll out better. Be careful not to use too much flour; otherwise, the cookies get dry and crumbly. This is why I use the parchment because it reduces the amount of flour needed to roll out the dough. Cut out cookies and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Chill the unbaked cookies in the freezer for 5 minutes before placing in the oven to bake. This step helps the cookies keep their shape when baking. Shape the scraps from the first round of cookie cutting into a ball and repeat the steps for rolling, cutting and chilling the cookie dough.
Bake the chilled cookie shapes for 6-8 minutes, or until the cookies have fully risen and are firm around the edges. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 8-10 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack. Allow the cookies to cool completely if you plan on decorating them.
How to Decorate Gingerbread Cookies
Now, it’s time to get fancy with the gingerbread!
These cookies are delicious on their own. But, if you feel like adding a little pizzazz to your gingerbread, I recommend mixing up a batch of royal icing while the cookies bake. Royal icing is dairy-free, gluten-free (with meringue powder specifically marked gluten-free), and super simple to make.
Here is a list of recommended tools/ingredients for decorating gingerbread cookies:
- Piping/pastry decorator bag(s) for icing
- Liquid food colorings (if you plan to color your icing)
- Piping tip(s)
- Coupler(s) for piping bag (great for switching out piping tips but not absolutely necessary)
- Candy for decorations
Now, decorate your cookies to your heart’s delight! Use your imagination or do a quick web search for inspiration. Decorating cookies is a fun project to do on your own; but, it’s also a fun, kid-friendly activity to do with family and friends. Set up a cookie decorating station at your holiday party and let your guests choose their cookie decorations.
If you enjoyed the recipe, let me know in the comments below! Also, share your fabulous decorations @theenchantedapron or #theenchantedapron on Instagram and Facebook.
- 3 1/2 cups "Measure for Measure" gluten-free flour
- 3/4 cup Dark Brown Sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground Cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons ground Ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground Cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon ground Nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 10 tablespoons Plant Butter made with Avocado Oil
- 3/4 cup Molasses
- 1 large Egg
- Mix together flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt.
- Gradually add butter and beat until the mixture resembles sand (about 2 minutes).
- Add molasses and egg and beat on low speed until a smooth dough forms (about 30 seconds).
- Transfer dough onto a large sheet of parchment paper. Fold sides of parchment over and press dough to flatten into a rectangle.
- Chill dough in the freezer for at least 30 minutes, or refrigerate for several hours before rolling out.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Roll dough to 1/4-inch thick on parchment paper or floured surface. Cut cookies and place on parchment-lined baking sheets. Chill raw cookies 5-8 minutes in the freezer before baking.
- Bake cookies at 350 degrees F for 6-8 minutes.
- Cool on baking sheets 8-10 minutes before transferring to wire cooling racks. Allow cookies to cool thoroughly before decorating and serving.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 24 cookies Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 123Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 143mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 0gSugar: 13gProtein: 1g