Tasty and mostly simple food for the whole family.

Tasty, healthy, simple, verstile, practical, seasonal, fun food for all to enjoy. I will endeavour to make things gluten-free, dairy-free (cow's milk only here, I'm not super-human), and low sugar as able. I hope others feel motivated to add their recipes to this collection so we can all try them. Thank you!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Gingerbread Cut-outs (Wheat-free/Dairy-Free)

Gingerbread cookies are my absolute favorite.  I have never made them before this year because I am almost blinded with resentment of the refrigeration step.  This process is so ridiculous, so heinous, that I simply have never made them.  There is just something about thinking "mmm, I'm going to make some cookies" and "Oh, wait, let's not even think about eating them until tomorrow" that is ... well, you get it.  Anyway, this year I have had an attitude adjustment called 'raising a toddler'.  In this complicated step of life, one reevaluates what one defines as fun and thinks "hey, that might be fun to make them at night and then we can cut them out tomorrow!" in addition to many other redefining moments, of course.  Plus, I clearly under use my Kitchen Aid mixer, as this machine basically makes cookies on its own with a bit of coaching.  All of these years.  Anyway, I was right.  It was totally fun to cut them out and play with Mia doing the cookies once I got through the rolling out process which nearly broke me- but only because I skipped that silly step of rolling it out before refrigerating it.  Incidentally, I don't recommend you skip that step.

So this recipe was adapted from a recipe in The Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook (yes, I adapted a perfectly good GF recipe and added gluten), so you could easily replace the spelt flours with your favorite GF flour and 1tsp xanthan gum if you like.  These cookies have great flavor, are super soft with a just-right chew and were exactly what I wanted, especially since this was  my first foray into baking with spelt.  Good stuff.  Low sugar, much lower in fat than typical cookies and great ingredients with the whole grain flour and molasses make them right good mama/toddler snacks.

Spelt Gingerbread Cut-out Cookies
  • 3-3/4c Spelt flour (I used 2c reg and 1.75c white spelt)
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbls ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tbls ground ginger
  • 1 Tbls ground cloves
  • 1/2 c vegetable shortening, cut into about 8 pieces
  • 1/2 unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 light agave nectar
  • 1/4c plus 2Tbls molasses
1.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the flour mix, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves.  Mix on low speed until combined, about 30 sec.  Stop the mixer and add the bits of shortening and the applesauce, then mix on low speed for about 1-1/2 minutes or until consistency of fine meal.

2.  With the mixer still running, add the agave and molasses, mixing until thoroughly combined, about 20 more seconds.  (if you use a food processor instead, add ingredients in order mentioned, process for about 10 seconds per step)

3.  Lay out two large sheets of parchment paper on your work surface.  Using spatula, divide the dough evenly between the two sheets.  Cover each with another large parchment sheet and roll out with rolling pin until ~1/4" thick.
4.  Wrap in plastic and transfer the dough in the parchment paper to the fridge until completely chilled, preferably overnight or at least a few hours. 

5.  Preheat oven to 350.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

6.  Remove one dough from the fridge and peel back one sheet of parchment paper, then replace it and flip the dough over.   Remove the new top sheet of parchment paper and start cutting shapes!

7.  Transfer cut shapes onto baking sheet about 1" apart and bake on center rack for ~10 minutes.  If you like, you can use raisins and such before baking to decorate.

8.  Save all scraps around your cut-outs and re-roll for more cookies as many times as you like.

9.  Let cookies cool completely if you plan to decorate with your favorite frosting.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies of mixed sizes.  A pretty big batch if you ask me.

This video was made while making some GF snickerdoodles to post another time, but is clearly an excellent alternative mixing method.

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