Gluten-Free Gingerbread Cookies
Gluten-free dough can be soft and very delicate, which can make transferring cutouts from work surface to baking sheet challenging. Rolling the dough out between parchment and placing it in the freezer before cutting the cookies makes for the easiest and best results. They freeze beautifully once baked, and can be stored in plastic bags in the freezer for up to two months. If you don’t want to use fresh egg whites for food safety reasons, you can substitute a pasteurized powdered product by mixing 2 tsp. powdered egg whites with 2 tbsp. warm water. This recipe comes from Judy Haubert.
For the Cookies
- 1 3⁄4 cups white rice flour, plus more for rolling
- 3⁄4 cup potato starch
- 1⁄2 cup tapioca starch
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1⁄2 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 1⁄2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. ground ginger
- 1⁄8 tsp. nutmeg
- Pinch of cloves
- 3⁄4 cup shortening
- 3⁄4 cup sugar
- 3⁄4 cup molasses
- 1 egg
For the Icing
- 1 egg white, at room temperature
- Pinch of salt
- 2 cups confectioner’s sugar
- 2-3 tsp. fresh lime juice (from 1/2 lime)
- Whisk together dry ingredients and set aside. Beat shortening and sugar to combine, then beat in molasses and egg. Add flour mixture and stir until smooth. Divide dough in half, shape each half into a ball, flatten slightly and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Chill dough at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
- Preheat oven to 350° Coat one dough disc in rice flour and place between two sheets of parchment paper. Roll out dough into a ¼” thick round. Slide the disc onto a flat cookie sheet and place in the freezer for 15 minutes until firm. Remove top layer of parchment, cut out gingerbread people and place cookies 2-3 inches apart on parchment-lined tray. Bake 6-8 minutes until cookies are puffed and slightly cracked on top. Cool 3-5 minutes on tray to allow cookies to set before removing. Repeat with remaining dough, gathering scraps and re-rolling with additional rice flour as needed.
- Beat egg white and salt until frothy. Sift in confectioner’s sugar, beating to combine. Slowly add lime juice and beat mixture until very smooth and opaque, 2-3 minutes. At proper consistency, icing will form long strands between still beaters and mixture in bowl. Transfer icing to a pastry bag with a fine tip. Once cookies are completely cool, ice as desired.
A note from the author, gluten-free chef Judy Haubert: Successfully adapting ratios and measurements for gluten-free baked goods can be tricky and more than a little frustrating. If you’ve done any gluten-free baking, you’ve probably heard the heated debate between weighing vs. measuring GF flours. When testing my gluten-free recipes, I always do both, but I realize that not all home cooks have easy access to a scale. I’ve come up with a method that ensures that my measured ingredients consistently weigh the same for each recipe repetition. I call it “Scoop, Shake & Level,” referring to using your measuring cup to first scoop out the flour (versus spooning or even pouring it into the measuring cup), giving the cup a little shake to settle the ingredient slightly, then using a flat-edged instrument to level off the flour across the top of the measuring cup. I’ve done this countless times, with the weight always accurate down to several grams. I’m not sure how this method holds up with anyone else’s GF recipes, but I feel I can vouch for it for my own.