This post is part of the 2019 Homeschooling Through the Holidays series and was written by Heather from Fearless Faithful Mom.
“Ohana means family. Family means nobody gets left behind.” Lilo and stitch is an amazing movie. It’s a beautiful picture of what family really is, and this line from Lilo sums it up perfectly. Family means that we do what’s needed to include each other, even when it means changing plans a bit. Christmas includes baking and decorating Christmas cookies for most families. This gluten-free gingerbread men recipe has no dairy, eggs, or soy, so nobody in your family needs to be left behind!
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Rice-Free Flour Mix
I developed these cookies using my own rice-free flour mix. Don’t be intimidated by making your own flour mix. It’s easy to do with a simple kitchen scale and flours you can find on Amazon (and in many grocery stores).
All you’ll need for the mix is:
- A kitchen scale (to weigh your flours)
- Mixing bowl (medium to large)
- Sorghum flour, millet flour, cornstarch, tapioca starch, and potato starch
Weigh out your flours and starches and whisk them together. You need equal amounts, by weight, of each flour/starch. So, if you want 500 grams of mix, just use 100 grams of each. It’s that simple!
Why Use a Rice-Free Mix?
Using a rice-free mix offers several advantages.
- It doesn’t rely on white rice flour (like most GF mixes do), so it’s much healthier for you.
- You’ll get a better variety in your diet if you alternate which grains you use.
- Many people have issues with rice and rice flour (like my daughter). This mix gives them a great alternative.
[Tweet “Use this #glutenfree #vegan #gingerbreadmen #recipe for your #holidaybaking”]
Vegan Cookie Tips
Making vegan cookies is entirely doable. You just need to know a bit of kitchen chemistry. The key is to replace the chemical properties of dairy and eggs in addition to their flavor. This is the perfect homeschool science lesson for the holiday season!
Use the Right Margarine
Not all margarine is created equally. Margarine that is in a tub is great for using on toast, but not for baking. The moisture content is much higher in tubs, which is what makes it easily spread on your bagel. That moisture can make cookies to soft, causing them to spread during baking. Buy margarine that comes in a stick rather than a tub. You also want to make sure that what you’re using matches your dietary needs. Some margarine has dairy. Many brands contain soy. Always check ingredient labels to make sure it’s a good fit for you.
Use Some Shortening
Margarine as a whole has a higher water-to-fat ratio than butter. That means using margarine exclusively can cause your dough to be too loose. Loose dough can quickly turn into a a blobby mess. You want your gluten-free gingerbread men to look like men, not like melted snowmen!
The solution to this is to bake with a mix of margarine and shortening. The margarine offers you better flavor than shortening. Shortening helps you to have a better dough texture. Using a blend gives you the best of both worlds. For best results, use 25-50% shortening, and use margarine for the rest.
Use a Blend of Sugars
There are 3 main types of sugar used in baking. Granulated (white) sugar, brown (light/golden and dark) sugar , and powdered (confectioner’s) sugar. Each serves a different purpose. Using a combination is the key to getting your cookies to turn out right.
- Granulated sugar is what is most often used in baking. It has a sweet, fairly neutral flavor. It also helps cookies crisp up, so it will help give that crunch that gingerbread men are known for.
- Brown sugar has a richer molasses flavor. It also helps to prevent cookies from spreading. This means that they help your gluten-free gingerbread men continue to look like gingerbread men!
- Powdered sugar is most commonly used for making frosting. It also comes in handy for making vegan cookies because it helps to bind them together (a job that eggs would normally do).
Gingerbread Flavor Tips
Gingerbread men should pack a punch of flavor. There are a few things you can do to bring those warm holiday flavors out.
- Add molasses. Molasses is part of the ‘zing’ in gingerbread men. You don’t want to add too much and make your dough to wet, but a touch will enhance any gingerbread flavor.
- Use several forms of ginger. Fresh ginger offers the most depth of flavor, but loses some potency with cooking. Ground ginger gives you a more stable heat throughout the cooking process. Crystallized (candied) ginger will add both warmth and sweetness.
- Use other spices to complement the ginger flavor. Cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice help to balance out the flavor of your cookies.
Go Bake Some Gluten-Free Gingerbread Men!
You now have all the tips and tricks you need to make awesome allergy-friendly cookies. It’s time to gather your supplies and make memories with the gluten-free gingerbread men recipe below. Remember, family means that everyone gets included in your traditions. Nobody gets left behind!
Gluten-Free Gingerbread Recipe:
- 350g GF Flour Mix
- 1 tbsp powdered sugar
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tbsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- 100g vegan margarine
- 40g palm shortening
- 75g dark bown sugar
- 25g superfine baker’s sugar (caster sugar)
- 1/2 tbsp finely minced crystallized ginger
- 1/2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
- 3 tbsp molasses
- 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
- Sift your flour mix, powdered sugar, baking soda, and spices (except crystallized ginger and fresh ginger) into a bowl and set aside.
- In the bowl of your mixer, cream your margarine, shortening, brown sugar, and superfine/caster sugar on medium speed. Add your fresh and crystallized ginger, molasses, and vanilla and mix until combined.
- Add in your dry ingredients and mix on low speed until flour is mostly incorporated, then turn speed up to medium until dough comes together. Split dough into two pieces, wrap them in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 2-4 hours.
- Preheat oven to 325*F on a convection oven or 350*F on a standard oven. Convection is the best choice, but standard will work.
- Roll each section of dough to about 1/8 inch thick, then cut out with your desired cutter. Place cut cookie dough pieces on a parchment-lined baking sheet and chill in the freezer for 15 minutes.
- Place trays in preheated oven and bake for 11-13 minutes (depending on if you want soft cookies or crispy ones). Let the cookies cool on the tray for a full 5 minutes, then carefully transfer to a wire cooling rack. Frost and decorate as you like after the cookies are completely cool.
Heather is a Christian, wife, and mom to 5 beautiful children. She blogs at Fearless Faithful Mom about conquering the fear of failing as a mom and embracing the adventures God sets before us. She has been homeschooling for 6 years and now has ‘students’ ranging from kindergarten to 6th grade.
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