Gingerbread Men are a very popular biscuit for children any time of the year. But if you think about all things winter, Christmas in particular, gingerbread has to be right near the top of your list along with snow days, hot chocolate and candy canes.
Being gluten and dairy free needn’t mean you have to miss out either. This recipe has been in the making for a couple of years now but I think I finally perfected it! These gingerbread men are everything you want them to be, crunchy, packed with flavour and not as dry and grainy as many gluten free products tend to be. They are also firm enough to withstand small children decorating them(this has been put to the test by my three year old).
They do go soft within 48 hours, but lets be honest that is actually quite good for gluten and dairy free cookies which usually need eating within 24 hours!
175g plain gluten free flour (I use Doves)
25g besan/chickpea flour
25g arrowroot/tapioca starch
1 tsp xantham gum
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
1 1/2 tspn ground ginger
3/4 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
60g granulated sugar
60g soft light brown sugar
3 tbls golden syrup
20g vitalite (or your preferred margarine)
50g Trex (vegetable shortening)
Preheat your oven to gasmark 4/180°C/350°F.
cut some non stick baking parchment to the size of your baking trays
1. Add all of the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl (flours, arrowroot, xantham gum, bicarb, spices, salt and sugars). Stir together to ensure it’s all mixed evenly.
2. Make a well in the centre of the flour mix and add the wet ingredients (syrup, fats and egg).
3. using an electric whisk beat all of the ingredients together until fully combined. Your mix should feel soft, shiny and a bit sticky.
4. Lay your pre-cut parchment down on your surface and place some of your dough in the centre. sprinkle with some flour and place another sheet of parchment or some cling film over the top.
5. Roll your dough so it fills the parchment and is about 1/4 an inch (approx 5mm) thick.
6. Dip your cutter into flour and cut your shapes into the dough about 2″ apart as you want them on your baking tray. Give your cutter a bit of a jiggle to make sure the dough is fully separated.
7. Remove all the excess dough around your cut out cookie shapes.
8. Cook for 15 – 20 minutes, or until golden brown, you may need to turn your trays around half way through cooking for an even bake.
9. When cooked remove from the oven and leave to cool on the tray for 5 minutes.
10. gently move the gingerbread men from the tray to a cooling rack with a spatula and leave to fully cool.
11. When cooled, put them back on the baking tray and bake for a further 10 minutes. Twice baking ensures a firm crisp cookie.
Repeat steps 9 & 10
leave to cool fully before decorating.
Hints and Tips
Besan flour has quite a strong, nutty taste. Don’t panic if you taste the dough raw, it mellows when cooked and goes well with the spices.
If you find your dough breaks while rolling out try pushing flat with your fingers first, patching up any tears and then using the rolling pin just to give it a smooth, flat surface.
This dough freezes really well. Because the baked biscuits don’t keep as long as a gluten based biscuit you might be best freezing into smaller batches. Once it’s defrosted give a good kneading before rolling out.
Let me know if you give these gluten and dairy free gingerbread men a go, I’d really love to hear how you get on. I’d also love to see your creations, you can send me a picture to my Facebook page, or tag me on Instagram (@mami2fiveblog) and Twitter (@mami2fiveblog).