There are just some things that mean Christmas is only around the corner.
No I’m not talking about when all the shopping centres start playing Christmas carols or even when Santa appears in our malls.
It’s that moment, when the tree is up and decorated, when the Christmas carols are playing softly in the background and you smell this heavenly scent wafting from the kitchen. The smell of spices and warmth, ginger and goodness. That smell, in my mind, means it’s officially Christmas.
I have to admit, with all the craziness that’s been going on in our lives lately, I was a little unenthused about putting up my tree. We finally moved into the “dream house” just last week and everything is all chaos and packing boxes, dust and yellow sand and nowhere near enough coffee.
It took me a whole 3 days to finish it off decorating, which, if you know me, is pure freaking craziness! I love Christmas! And normally it only takes a mere hour or two to complete the job. Once it was done though it did start to feel a little more festive.
But something was still missing.
So I dove right into the kitchen. Knowing that, as usual, that would be where I would find my zen.
A couple hours later and the whole house was smelling of freshly baked gingerbread, shortbread and truffles. Throw in the obligatory carols and twinkling lights and I finally felt my Christmas cheer set in.
I so did not want to be the Grinch this year!
Ever since I went gluten free there are few things I miss more than baked Christmas goodies and that simply comes back to the fact that I’ve never been able to master them and get that true feeling of Christmas back (…you know, in my stomach!)
I just knew, once I perfected these gingerbread cookies that I would have to share them all with you, because I know so many of you are in the same position. After much tinkering and changing and many many batches of different flavours and mixture types I finally found a way to make gluten free gingerbread taste just like I remember.
That perfect mix of chewiness and softness, with a perfectly balanced zing of ginger.
So, if like me, you’ve been dying to get your hands on the perfect gingerbread cookie. Or maybe you just need a little extra injection of Christmas spirit. Either way these cookies are for you!
Deliciously Chewy Gluten Free Gingerbread Cookies
Makes: 15 cookies
Prep Time: 2 Hours (including chilling time)
Cook Time: 8-10 Minutes
100g Golden Syrup
100g Softly packed Brown Sugar
1 ½ Cups All Purpose Gluten Free Flour
½ tsp Ground Cinnamon
1 tsp Ground Ginger
2 tsp Bicarbonate Soda
25g Crystallized Ginger
In a large bowl place your flour, cinnamon, ginger and bicarbonate of soda and mix gently to combine. Set aside.
*A little note on flour choice*
I do highly recommend you use this gluten free flour blend, as I find the store-bought selection to just not offer the same complexness and ultimately it means overly gooey biscuits that spread when they cook. You can however make these with gluten flour and have the same great result.
In a small saucepan add your butter, golden syrup and brown sugar and place over a low heat. You won’t need to do too much to this other than let it melt gently away. Do keep an eye on it though, as you don’t want the mixture bubbling or boiling over.
Once all of your ingredients are melted together give them a good stir to ensure no lumps of brown sugar are left behind, then remove from the heat and let it sit so as to completely cool down.
You’ll know your syrupy goodness is ready when it starts to thicken and form a caramel type consistency and is cool enough to touch.
Pour this golden liquid into your flour and start mixing well. It will resemble crumbs for quite some time before it really starts to come together.
Now finely dice up the crystallized ginger and add half of it into your dough. Work it through with your hands to guarantee it’s evenly mixed through. Now add your water and mix with your hands until it forms a soft, sticky ball.
*Some bakers will argue the addition of water to the mixture and instead suggest you use milk or another similar liquid to bring it together. In this case, since we aren’t already using milk, oil or egg, I would definitely suggest you don’t add any of these. It will likely change the structure and texture of your cookie. I’ve also found the addition of more golden syrup and butter don’t help the situation! Weirdly enough, water gives me the perfect chewy gingerbread that I’ve been searching for!
Roll your ball of dough roughly together, wrap in cling wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to set.
Once chilled, your gingerbread dough will have firmed up somewhat and it will make rolling and cutting your cookies out so much easier.
On a large piece of baking paper roll out your dough with a well-floured rolling pin until it’s about 1/2cm thick. Then you can cut out your cookies using whatever shape you like! I like to do a mix of traditional gingerbread men and different Christmassy shapes. This year I used a plain circle cutter and used my stunning new Cookie Stamp Co stamp to press an imprint on top!
For a little bit of a different take on the classic gingerbread why not try using the base of a crystal decanter or scotch glass? They often have beautiful patterns in them and when floured and pressed hard into the cookie round can leave a lovely indent.
Once cut you can sprinkle your cookies with the leftover diced crystallized ginger. No need to press it into the dough, just leave it on top. This will give a nice little extra zing for those who like it!
Continue to cut and roll your cookies until you have used all of your mixture. Leave them on the tray where they are and place straight back into the fridge to set for 1 hour or so. (You could leave them longer if you like, but I get a bit impatient! I find leaving them longer doesn’t always help set them either.)
Pre-heat your oven to 180º Celsius and once hot, pop those trays of cookies straight from the fridge to the oven. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the outside edge and tops of the cookies are brown.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
There really is nothing better, in my mind, than a house full of love, family and the smell of gingerbread at this festive time of year!
What scents bring Christmas to life in your home?