Gingerbread, for so many of us, is synonymous with the Christmas holidays. There are certainly many different types of recipes available, but this particular one is one of our family’s favorites, and has been converted into gluten free, using Oma’s special recipe. Gingerbread was Oma’s specialty around Christmas and I have many fond memories of her in her tiny kitchen, lovingly preparing this delicacy, made just once a year. If she invited one of us to help her, that was truly special. It is not a ginger cake, but a true traditional German-style gingerbread. While baking, it will fill your house with the beautiful scent of its combination of spices – ginger, anise, cloves and cinnamon. In the olden days, this type of gingerbread was made using peculiar ingredients, such as “Hirschhornsalz,” “potash” and “natron.” Some of these ingredients supposedly provided softness to the dough, and, no doubt, insured greater longevity of the end product. After researching these ingredients, that makes sense, especially considering the Ancient Egyptians used some of them for embalming purposes. Sounds appetizing, doesn’t it?!? Naturally, we would never use any of these more questionable ingredients in our recipes. If you insist on their inclusion, you may do so at your own risk. However, they are simply unnecessary, and we don’t know why anyone would even want to. Continue reading
In the spirit of sharing, here is one of our family’s easy gluten free holiday cookie recipes. They are always fun to make, especially with children who never cease to enjoy the endless possibilities for creative decorations.
- 2-1/2 sticks (250g) softened butter
- 1 cup (200g) sucanat
- 3 eggs
- Pinch of salt
- Grated rind of one organic lemon
- 3-3/4 cups (500g) gluten free flour consisting of: 3/4 cup (100g) brown rice flour, 1-1/2 cups (200g) sorghum flour, 1-1/2 cups (200g) tapioca flour, and 1-1/2 tsp. guar gum
- 2 cups (250g) powdered sugar
- 2-3 Tbsp. lemon juice
- Gluten free colored sprinkles, gluten free chocolate, or carob frosting of your choice.
Using a food processor, or standard hand mixer, whip the softened butter, sucanat and eggs to a creamy consistency. Add the salt and lemon rind and mix again. Slowly add the flour, a tablespoon at a time; the dough should be smooth and pliable. Remove from the food processor, or the mixing bowl, wrap in foil and place in the refrigerator for about one hour. Preheat the oven to 350°F/180° C.
Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and divide into five equal portions. Choose five different cookie cutter shapes of your choice. Roll out the dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut out with cookie cutters and place each one on the lined cookie sheets, at least 1/2-inch apart to allow for spreading.
Bake the cookies on the middle rack of the oven, for about 10 minutes, or until golden in color. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for about five minutes before removing to a cooling rack. Let the cookies cool completely before decorating.
White Frosting: To 2 cups (250g) powdered sugar add 2-3 Tbsp. lemon juice and mix well. With a pastry brush, spread the frosting evenly on the cookies and let dry.
Chocolate Frosting: In a double boiler, melt any favorite gluten free chocolate bar of your choice over low heat. Using a pastry brush, spread the melted chocolate on the cookies. You can also place the melted chocolate in a pastry bag outfitted with a fine tip, and decorate each cookie with designs of your choice.
Colored sprinkles: Spread a very thin layer of white, or chocolate frosting on the cookies, and add the colored sprinkles on top of the frosting.
Happy Holidays from our home to yours.