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These Gluten Free Gingerbread Cookies are golden, crispy treats made with festive and seasonal warm spices. It’s so fun and easy to decorate gingerbread men with your favorite icing and holiday candies.
If your holiday checklist includes baking trays of sugar cookies, gingersnaps, and peppermint meringues, don’t leave out the cutest cookie around: gingerbread men! These adorable treats are a must-have for the holidays, and now you can make them 100% gluten free! This recipe uses real spices, molasses and pure maple syrup for a strong gingerbread flavor and a crisp, crunchy texture.
Decorate your gingerbread cut-out cookies with royal icing dyed your favorite colors. If you have kids at home, they’ll have a blast coloring in miniature vests, buttons, and bow-ties on their hand-made teats. I hope you enjoy making, decorating and eating these cookies as much as my family does!
What You’ll Need
The ingredients for these cookies are full of rich, caramel flavors and warming spices. Here’s what you need to make gluten free gingerbread:
- Gluten-free 1:1 all-purpose flour
- Tapioca flour. This is a popular gluten-free flour alternative that’s great for thickening.
- Cocoa powder. Just a bit to deepen the flavor, not really make it super chocolaty.
- Baking soda. Make sure it’s gluten free!
- Powdered sugar
- Ground ginger
- Butter. Use unsalted, softenened butter.
- Brown sugar
- Egg and egg yolk – save your white to make that royal icing.
- Molasses. This sweetener adds extra caramelized flavor.
- Maple syrup. Use real maple syrup, not pancake syrup.
How to Make Gluten Free Gingerbread Men
Making these cookies is a fun and easy project. It’s also a great way to get kids active in the kitchen. Follow these steps to make the best gingerbread cookies:
Sift together the dry ingredients: Whisk or sift together the gluten-free flour, tapioca flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, cinnamon, powdered sugar, nutmeg, ginger, and salt. Set the bowl aside.
Combine the wet ingredients: In a bowl use an electric mixer or stand mixer to cream together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, vanilla extract, maple syrup and molasses and beat until combined.
Add the dry ingredients: Add the dry ingredients. Mix until fully combined. Let the dough sit for 10 minutes.
Shape and chill the dough: Shape the dough into a ball and place it on wax paper. Flatten the dough and roll into a rectangle 1/4 inch thick. Chill the dough for 30 minutes in the fridge. This makes it easier to cut the cookies.
Cut the cookies: Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375°F. After chilling, remove the dough from the fridge and cut it into shapes with cookie cutters. Re-roll the scraps and make more cookies. Place the shaped cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Bake, cool, and decorate: Bake the cookies for 10-14 minutes. You want them set but not too firm or hard. They will continue to cook a bit on the baking sheet. Remove them from the oven and let them cool on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes until they can be moved easily without breaking. Transfer to a cooling rack and make sure they are cooled fully before decorating.
Tips for Success
Gluten free baking can be fun and easy, but here are a few tips to keep in mind to make sure your cookies hold their shape and come out well:
- Using softened butter makes your dough come together smooth and fluffy. Cold butter may not distribute evenly into the cookie dough.
- Chilling the dough before you cut the cookies makes them easier to cut so they don’t fall apart. If the dough gets too warm as you work with it, you can always chill it again.
- Because there’s no gluten in the dough, you don’t have to worry about overworking the dough. Go ahead and re-roll the dough to make the most of it.
- If your gluten free flour blend doesn’t have xanthan gum, add 1 teaspoon to the dry ingredients.
- Make sure your cookies are fully cool before you start decorating them. Otherwise, your icing may melt.
The fun part comes when your cookies are fully cool and you can make your own little gingerbread family. I like to make a quick batch of Royal Icing for these cookies. It’s made with egg whites so it stays in place and dries nice and shiny. Grab some food coloring and have fun drawing little faces, Christmas sweaters, and snowsuits on your gingerbread people.
For details, you can add texture and some glamour with pearly and sparkling sprinkles. Candies like Red Hots and Sno Caps also make fun cookie decorations.
Store leftover cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to five days. This is a great make-ahead holiday dessert!
Yes! Freeze fully cooled gluten free gingerbread cookies in an airtight container for up to three months. When you’re ready to serve, thaw the cookies on the counter for a few hours and serve at room temperature.
- 2 1/2 cups 1:1 gluten-free flour
- 1 cup tapioca flour
- 3 Tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1 Tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon gluten-free baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 whole egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1/3 cup molasses
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- Royal icing to decorate
- In a large bowl, sift or whisk together the gluten free flour, tapioca flour, cocoa powder, powdered sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Set aside.
- Using the paddle attachment of a stand mixer or a hand mixer, in a large bowl, beat together the butter and brown sugar until well incorporated.
- Add the egg, egg yolk, maple syrup, molasses, and vanilla extract. Mix until combined.
- Add the dry ingredients and mix until fully combined. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
- Dust a sheet of wax paper with gluten free flour. Form the dough in a ball and place the dough on the floured wax paper. Flatten the ball and use a floured rolling pin to roll out the dough until it is about 1/4 inch thick.
- Transfer the rolled out dough on the wax paper onto a sheet pan and place the pan in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. This will stiffen the dough a bit and will be easier to cut out the cookies.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Take the dough out of the refrigerator and use cookie cutters to cut into the desired shapes. Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheet. Reroll the scraps and cut more cookies.
- Bake for 10-14 minutes until set but not hard. Keep eye on your cookies as each oven is different. If they are thinner, they will bake much quicker. Let the cookies cool on the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a rack.
- Allow the cookies to completely cool before decorating with royal icing.