Gluten-Free Gingerbread Cookies

Ask any gluten-free chef or home cook about baking and the response is unanimous: Creating delicious treats without gluten is tricky.

The "stretch" in wheat gluten is what gives most baked goods the qualities we love -- tenderness, chewiness, elasticity and rise. When you work without it, cookies, cakes, muffins and more often lose those cherished characteristics.

That's especially tough at this time of year, when homes, schools and offices are brimming with baked treats of all kinds. Happily, this gingerbread recipe is not only free of gluten, it's also devoid of three additional common food allergens: eggs, soy and dairy.

The best part? You can’t tell the difference. In fact, after testing the recipe, I swore I would never make gingerbread any other way. Yes, these gingerbread gems are that good. Try them and let me know if you agree.

Gluten-Free Gingerbread Cookies

Note: If you don't have cookie cutters to make shapes, you can roll the chilled dough into balls and press onto a parchment-lined baking sheet (press into 1/4-inch thick rounds).

4 cups (21 ounces) gluten-free, dairy-free shortbread cookie mix (such as Bob's Red Mill)

1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1¾ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup molasses
6 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 cup water
Decorations (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, combine the cookie mix, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, ginger, and nutmeg. Mix with a fork to combine.

3. Add the molasses and oil and mix with a fork until the mixture is blended and crumbly.

4. Add the water and mix until the mixture comes together to form a dough.

5. Place the dough between two sheets of parchment paper and roll out 1/4-inch thick. Refrigerate 10 minutes, until firm.

6. Using cookie cutters, cut out desired shapes (gingerbread men, stars, circles, etc.).

7. Transfer the cookies to parchment-lined baking sheets and bake for 8 to 12 minutes (8 minutes for chewy cookies, 10 minutes for slightly chewy cookies, 12 minutes for crisper cookies).

8. While the cookies bake, re-roll the scraps, chill until firm, and then cut out more cookies.

9. Let baked cookies cool, then decorate if desired.

Makes about 36 cookies, depending on the size of the cookie cutters
Nutrition Info Per Serving
Calories: 95
Total Fat: 1.6 grams
Saturated Fat: 0 grams
Total Carbohydrate: 18 grams
Sugars: 8 grams
Protein: 1 gram
Sodium: 109 milligrams
Cholesterol: 0 milligrams
Fiber: <1 gram
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