Saturday, December 13, 2014

Gluten-free gingersnaps

cookie photo is from Pixabay
 It can be a real challenge to bake gluten-free Christmas cookies.  I try to avoid wheat -- and, though I have found I can eat it occasionally with no problem, I'm not likely to ever go back to just eating wheat whenever I want.  As I've mentioned before, going wheat-free not only helped some digestive issues I was having, but -- after a couple of months -- my hip pain went away completely and has never returned.  I was able to stop taking glucosamine which I'd been taking to help battle the joint pain.  This was pain that kept me from sleeping and would occasionally bring me to tears.  So, since I have a simple way to keep pain-free, I will continue consuming very little wheat.

All that to say, we love Christmas cookies in this house and bake most of them with regular flour.  I do like to make a few kinds that I can eat.  A couple of years ago, I found a gluten-free gingersnap recipe that we really like.  It is also relatively low in fat and contains no eggs.  Here is the recipe:

1/4 cup butter or margarine, room temperature
3 Tblsp. molasses
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup potato starch
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1 tsp. xanthan gum
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1-1/2 tsp. ginger
1-1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cloves
2 Tblsp. water, if necessary
White or colored sugar for dipping -- we use red and green at Christmas

In a large bowl, beat butter, molasses, brown sugar and vanilla until well blended.
Sift together all of the remaining ingredients except for the water and the sugar for dipping.
Stir the sifted dry ingredients into the butter mixture, adding water if necessary to form a dough that can be shaped.  Cover and refrigerate for an hour or so.

Preheat oven to 325º.  Line a cookie sheet or two with parchment paper.  Form dough into 1-inch balls (recipe says 16; we got about 24).  Dip each ball in white or colored sugar and arrange them sugar-side up on the parchment-lined cookie sheet.  Flatten them slightly if you like with the bottom of a glass dipped in sugar, but Mr. T forgot that step and they came out just fine.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or just until the undersides of the cookies start to brown.  Let cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.  Store cooled cookies in an airtight container.

This is adapted from Wheat-Free Recipes & Menus, by Carol Fenster.

For more wonderful gluten-free baking recipes, check out The Baking Beauties.  Jeanine has loads of great ideas, including an entire e-book of Christmas cookies.  Her gluten-free whipped shortbread is fabulous!

Another quick thought for baking gluten-free is that Bob's Red Mill has come out with a 1-to-1 baking flour that may be used cup for cup instead of regular flour.  The xanthan gum is included in the blend.  In other words, you may take your old favorite Christmas cookie recipes and just substitute Bob's Red Mill 1-to-1 for the all-purpose flour.  Sounds too good to be true!  But we did buy some and I am going to try it!

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