Gingerbread was hardly the first cookie I would reach toward as a kid- I think it was biting into a stale, cardboard-y gingerbread house that ruined me. Fast-forward to today, and I think I've found the perfect balance of spices now. This cookie also somehow stays chewy and soft even after sitting out with icing to dry for a whole day!
One of my friends recently asked me how I resist eating all my cookies that I've been baking lately, and honestly I'll usually just make a small taste-test cookie for myself, then I am not lured in by the rest- I think it's because I've been smelling them all throughout baking it, so I become a little desensitized.
Not. With. These. After I ate my taste test cookie, I immediately gift wrapped the rest of them so I wouldn't be able to go nosing for more and turn into an unstoppable cookie monster... Also, your house will smell like Christmas heaven while baking these!
Also, I made a non gluten-free version with regular all-purpose flour because my girl MC and I made our second ice cream together (check out our first one we made, Jeni's Roasted Pistachio). So, side note, both flours work great in equal quantities for this recipe.
MC started an Instagram, bettericecreamed for her creative ice cream flavors where she'll blend in baked goods (if you're ever in New York, she'll usually sell limited quantities of her latest flavors!). Naturally, we had to make a Christmas edition of her ice cream and my gingerbread cookies were the perfect thing to use for it. She even gave a pint to Monsieur Dominique Ansel, Cronut master, himself and got his Gingerbread Pinecone in return!
Okay, back to the original gluten-free gingerbread man cookies. I made these for my trainers potluck at my gym and they disappeared so fast, and no one even knew they were gluten-free until I told them afterward. My recipe for gluten-free all purpose flour for cookies really nailed it with these guys, thankfully!
I learned a lot through making a few batches of these- cutout cookies can definitely be a bit labor-intensive, so I've included all the tips I learned throughout the process in the recipe here. Let's get to the recipe, shall we?
Gluten-Free Gingerbread Man Cookies
*Recipe makes 3 dozen cookies- double for bigger batch of 6 dozen
*dough needs to chill for at least an hour, or up to 2 days in the fridge- plan accordingly!
2.5 Cups Gluten-Free All Purpose Blend for Cookies + ~1/2 cup for rolling out dough
1/4 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted grass-fed Butter, room temp, cubed
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1.5 tsp Ground Cinnamon (1/2 tbsp)
1.5 tsp Ground Ginger (1/2 tbsp)
1/2 tsp Ground Cloves
1/2 cup Molasses
1 large Egg
1. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt and stir well with a whisk. Set aside.
2. Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer (paddle attachment), beat the butter until creamy in a large mixing bowl. Add brown sugar, and all spices (cinnamon, ginger, cloves) and mix well until very creamy and fluffy. Add molasses, beat until incorporated, then add the egg and do the same. The mixture will be very creamy and goopy at this point.
3. Gently beat the flour mixture into the wet mixture with the mixer on the lowest speed until flour is relatively incorporated- you should see just a bit of flour still on the sides of the bowl. Stop the mixer, and finish mixing the dough with a spatula by hand. The dough should now be soft and pliable.
4. Divide the dough into 3 pieces (4 if doing a double batch). Flatten into a nearly pancake-thin disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill dough in the fridge for minimum an hour, or up to 2 days in an airtight container.
5. Preheat the oven to 350ºF and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
6. On a clean working surface (marble slab or any countertop is great), evenly sprinkle flour on surface and rolling pin. Place one of the disks of dough on the surface and sprinkle top with flour. Roll out dough to a little under 1/4 inch thick. Using a cookie cutter, cut out as many cookies as you can, then ball up scraps to make another dough disk to work with. Continue process until all cookies are cut out.
*Important Tips on Rolling w/Gluten-free Dough
Gluten-free flour can be a little tougher to roll out. With regular cookie dough, you want to ensure the dough stays cold throughout the rolling process, but don't worry about it so much here, because when the gluten-free dough is as cold as it should be with regular dough, it is very hard to roll out the dough without it cracking. Once it warms up a tiny bit for a few minutes out of the fridge, it's perfectly pliable.
My suggestion is to do all your cookie cutting, then place the whole baking sheet in the fridge to chill for about 5 minutes before popping it in the oven.
7. Place baking sheet in the oven for 8-10 minutes (mine were 9 minutes on the nose)- cookies will look a bit darker at the edges, middle puffed, and look solid when it is done. Remember, cookies continue baking when out of the oven so don't overbake!
8. Let the cookies cool for about 3-5 minutes on the baking sheet, then use a flat spatula to move them over to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Icing: If icing, wait until cookies are 100% cooled down.
Recipe for simple icing: 1 cup powdered sugar, 2.5-3tbsp of water or any type of milk. Whisk until smooth- you want it to be thick and just pourable enough. If too watery, add more sugar, if too thick, add a teeny bit of water.
I used a pastry bag to ice my cookies, but a squeeze bottle works too. Spread the cookies out on a tabletop and decorate the cookies any way you want. Let the icing dry for 8-10 hours, best left overnight. Once dry, the cookies can be gently stacked (use parchment paper to divide layers if you want to be extra careful) and put in an airtight container. Best to consume within a week.