Christmas baking – delicious gluten free gingerbread cookies


Yesterday morning as I drove home on the back roads after dropping my youngest at his school, I paused to wait while four deer crossed the road just feet in front of me. I always wonder if I will ever cease to find such encounters special. I truly hope not.

I did harbour doubts about Christmas baking this year, it being our first after giving up gluten last March, but it turns out that it’s also something that retains its specialness, even as it changes. It definitely helped to get the better part of a year of mastering gluten-free baking under my belt before embarking on Christmas treats. I also had a little help in the form of a cookbook given to us by a neighbour shortly after she heard about our transition. While I love to dig up great recipes online, I’m still deeply attached to books, and flipping through a cookbook at my leisure is truly a pleasant task. On Sunday it led to me baking four different treats in one evening, surely a new record for me.

In the oven on Sunday evening were:
– gingerbread men and other cut-out biscuits
– walnut/coconut/banana bars
– peppermint brownies
– vanilla drop cookies

In spite of a late start, I agreed to my youngest helping me to cut out the first batch of gingerbread and decorate the items that needed embellishment, including frosting the vanilla drop cookies and adding sprinkles to the brownies and the cookies.

Boy decorating Christmas cookies

The remaining batches of gingerbread biscuits were rolled, cut out and baked yesterday after school; we made a lot of these for a cookie decorating get together that we’re having here with friends tomorrow.

Gluten free gingerbread cookies

I had the highest hopes for the gingerbread, as it’s a traditional staple that comes with the freight of high expectations for us. I spent quite a bit of time reviewing recipes before deciding on one from The Baking Beauties, and we’re really pleased with the results. I made some modifications to the flour blend to work with what I had on hand, and note these below in my version of the recipe.

Gluten free baking on a rack

Gluten free Christmas baking

Tonight I prepared a quick batch of mint chocolate fudge, pictured at the top of this post, which is a no-brainer for gluten free baking, and tomorrow we’ll also make popcorn balls with melted marshmallows.

Gluten Free Gingerbread Cookies, adapted from The Baking Beauties


1 1/4 cup brown rice flour
3/4 cup almond meal / flour
1/4 cup potato flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup Fancy Molasses
1 large egg
2 tablespoons lemon juice


Step 1 – In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, xanthan gum, baking soda, salt, and spices.
Step 2 – In a separate bowl beat the butter and sugar together until creamy. Beat in the molasses and egg, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Add the lemon juice.
Step 3 – Gradually add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture. Mix until the dry ingredients have been fully incorporated.
Step 4 – Divide the dough in two, placing each piece of dough on a sheet of plastic wrap. Pat the dough into a disk, wrap tightly, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Step 5 – Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line your baking sheets with parchment paper.
Step 6 – Lightly flour the counter with sweet rice flour or place a sheet of parchment paper down on your work surface. Roll the dough out to about 1/4-inch thick. Use your favourite cookie cutters. Although the cookies hold their shape pretty well, don’t use anything too detailed, since they do grow a bit.
Step 7 – Place cut out cookies on prepared baking pan, leaving an inch or two between cookies.
Step 8 – Bake in preheated oven for 8-10 minutes. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 3-5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack. Cool completely before using a simple frosting of confectioners’ (icing) sugar and milk.
Step 9 – Repeat until all the dough has been formed. Off-cuts can be re-rolled and used again.

My older boy is promising to make his delicious gluten-free cinnamon buns before Christmas arrives, and I plan to post the recipe here.

15 thoughts on “Christmas baking – delicious gluten free gingerbread cookies

  1. I really do give you GF bakers a lot of credit. Just a few years ago, recipes for good GF baked goods were rare. Now, perhaps because of social media, there are more recipes than ever and many bakers have been emboldened to create their own. That’s fantastic!

    1. Thank you John, on behalf of GF bakers everywhere! I love your choice of ’emboldened’, as that’s exactly how I feel now. In the beginning I couldn’t imagine ever achieving the confidence to switch things up and experiment as I’ve always done in conventional baking, but it actually happened quickly, and only gets better. Social media has indeed been a great help in this!

  2. While I do enjoy seeing deer in the wild, when they cross in front of me like that it makes me nervous. I’m always afraid there will be a straggler who will leap into the side of my truck as I drive by.

    The cookies look wonderful!

    1. I share your anxiety, Bill, while at the same time marveling whenever I see those lovely creatures. They can be counted on to do the unexpected, can’t they. Thanks for the nice feedback!

    1. Sadly, the Ironheart was not involved in this little bake-fest. The one thing about the woodstove and baking is that planning is required, and I seized a few hours unexpectedly from a crazy schedule and the Ironheart just wasn’t ready when I was!

      Great news that yours is in place and running. I’d love to see a picture of how you have it installed if you were game to share ( Enjoy!

  3. You have been on an absolute baking frenzy! I absolutely love that you’re having a cookie decorating get together. Looking forward to the photos. Petkid is deep in concentration on those cookies. They look delicious and it looks like you’ve truly mastered the GF thing. Wish I could offer my services as a taste tester!

    1. I’m definitely a moody baker and cook; I have to go for it when the mood strikes! The cookie decorating party is definitely something I’ve been looking forward to; it got me well into my baking groove, and it gives a nice focus to a get together with friends. Petkid did take his decorating duties very seriously and didn’t sneak too many bites on the side 🙂

  4. The products of your baking frenzy look scrumptious. I’ve only just begun to think about baking, having picked up some mincemeat at the bakery just now. Mince pies may be the only thing I manage, at the rate my time disappears. And did you say you dropped him off at school??

    1. Thank you!! Mince pies sound heavenly too me. I love them, but don’t tend to make them, which is kind of silly. What a good reminder for me. If you bake nothing else, I think you will have made an excellent choice!

      Oh yes, school! Late last spring we found out about an amazing small home-based school in the next small town over from where we live. There are only seven students, including Petkid, and the whole arrangement suits him perfectly. In addition to their main studies and projects they do a lot of talking every day about current events and philosophical issues, which is such a good fit for him and much nicer in a small group setting where there are multiple perspectives. Turns out last year was a great transition year for us and now he’s got the school he needs to be in for the foreseeable future! We still do science at home and our own reading and family projects / learning, but the balance has shifted (and I’m definitely getting more of my own paid work done!).

      1. Oh, that is good news. I’m so glad he’s in a learning situation that fits him – he’s so bright and articulate in print, that I’m sure he’s an interesting conversationalist and will benefit from group discussions in such an environment as you describe.

  5. Mmmm! Your cookies look so yummy, especially those gingerbread cookies. In our house, we’ve made the walls and roof to our gingerbread house. We hope to have it built by the end of Friday morning. After-which, we will work on gingerbread men and sugar cookies. May I suggest a wonderful gluten-free (and vegan) cookbook full of wonderful recipes? Check out Laurie Sadowski’s book – “The Allergy-Free Cook Bakes Cakes and Cookies”. She has another with bread recipes. You’ll love them!!

    1. Thank you Angela, we’re really pleased with how things turned out, especially our gingerbread cookies. We had a lot of fun decorating them today. Your gingerbread house sounds awesome (I think I remember you posting about the one you built last year – it was sweet!), hope you have lots of fun with it. Thanks so much for the cookbook suggestion, that sounds like exactly the book that I need!

  6. Dagne, this is perfect for our family! This weekend I was planning to do a gluten-free gingerbread house for my kids, yet really had no idea how to go about it. There are so many recipes, but of course, they all say different things, and I have no way to judge if they are “on” or not, as I’m not a big baker. But of course I trust yours! So we will try it. As always, my reflection upon reading your post is that you are such a great mom! Merry Christmas to you and your wonderful family.

    1. I’m so glad to hear this! I think this gingerbread recipe would work very well for a house build; I hope you have fun trying it out. You are a wonderful mother for tackling a gingerbread house when you’re not a big baker normally. I’d love to see how your house turns out 🙂 Merry Christmas to you and yours too!!

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