Baking was my first love in the kitchen. Long before I started to learn how to cook, I was using a hand mixer and learning my way through over-beating cookie dough, making cakes, and generally getting covered in flour and butter.
Then Hashimoto's happened. And while I initially tried making my own gluten-free flour to continue baking, I just found it too labor intensive and I started viewing baking as too tedious to indulge in, time-wise. So that hand mixer of mine got relegated to collecting a bit of dust, especially given how crazy things have been lately.
When this holiday season rolled around and the Feedfeed holiday cookie swap party came up with Bob's Red Mill, I was so excited to discover that Bob's Red Mill has a 1-to-1 gluten-free baking flour. Now I could get right to baking the way I used to, rather than having to measure out individual rice flours, starches, and other messy ingredients!
Since I knew this was likely going to be my biggest holiday cookie baking session, I wanted to combine some of my favorite holiday flavors. To me, there's nothing better than the smell of gingerbread wafting out of the oven around the holidays-- but I wanted to make things a bit more special this go around than icing a bunch of classic gingerbread men. I decided to make some cranberry chia jam to create some festive gingerbread cookie sandwiches!
With these little cutouts and festive color, this is the perfect cookie to bring to any gathering. It's also vegan optional (the way I'm made it for the Feedfeed holiday cookie swap party!) and since it's gluten-free, it'll make those with eating restrictions very happy!
Big thank you to Bob's Red Mill + The Feedfeed for sponsoring this post. And thank you readers for supporting the brands that keep us up and running to create for you!
Gluten-Free Gingerbread Cookie Sandwiches with Cranberry Chia Jam
Makes 1-1.5 dozen cookie sandwiches, pending on size of cookie cutter used.
For Gingerbread Cookies:
2.5 Cups Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Gluten-Free Flour + ~1/2 cup for rolling out dough
1/4 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted Butter (sub dairy-free butter if dairy-free), room temp, cubed
1/2 cup Brown Sugar (use light or dark depending on desired color of cookies)
1.5 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1.5 tsp Ground Ginger
1/2 tsp Ground Cloves
1/2 cup Molasses
1 large egg (sub flax egg if vegan)
For Cranberry Chia Jam:
1 12-oz package of fresh or frozen Cranberries
1/3-1/2 cup Raw Coconut Sugar, to taste
1/2 cup Chia Seeds
1/2 cup Water
First prepare jam to allow to cool while baking the cookies:
1. Heat up water and cranberries in a medium saucepan over a stovetop on medium-high heat.
When cranberries begin to pop, reduce heat to medium and cover. Cook for about 5 minutes until all cranberries have popped, stirring occasionally.
2. Stir in coconut sugar until well dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool.
Pour mixture into a blender and blend for about 45 seconds-1 minute until smooth. (If you have an immersion blender, no need to wait until cool and you can do it straight in the pot)
3. Pour mixture back into the pot. Stir in chia seeds and cover for 2 minutes. The jam should now be of a consistency solid enough to spread on a cookie without dripping- if it is too runny still, add more chia seeds until it reaches proper consistency. If mixture is too dry, add splashes of water.
4. Once jam reaches desired consistency, remove from heat and let cool down completely. Transfer into an airtight glass jar.
For the Cookies:
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 slightly 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 thirds. 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, 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 into desired cookie sandwich shape.
7. Place baking sheet in the oven for 8-10 minutes- 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.
9. To assemble cookie sandwiches, spread chia jam on bottom solid halves of cookies, and then place top cutout cookies on top. Gently press together. Keep cookies in the refrigerator until ready to serve.