It’s mid-December, the Christmas tree is up and the early mornings are sparkling with frost. Cookie season is officially upon us! Time to pull every sweet spice out of your pantry and start baking. I recommend kicking off a season of festive baking with these gingerbread cookies. This recipe is everything I want it to be and nothing like the classic gingerbread biscuit, which let’s face it can sometimes resemble cardboard. These cookies are tender at the centre, with ridges of satisfying crunch and coated in a shimmer of caster sugar. Festive and gloriously spiced, these cookies make great gifts and are perfect with a hot drink by the fire.
For the cookies
115g vegan butter*
1.5 tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
⅛ tsp. ground nutmeg
100g light muscovado sugar
25g dark muscovado sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
180g plain gluten-free flour*
½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. xanthan gum*
¼ tsp. fine sea salt
25g caster sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
Line 1-2 baking trays with parchment paper and set to one side.
Add the vegan butter, ground ginger, nutmeg and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon to a small pot. Place the pot on the hob set at a gentle heat. Stir occasionally until the butter has melted.
Remove the pot from the heat and add in the dark and light muscovado sugar. Mix well until no sugar lumps remaining. Allow to cool slightly.
Into a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum and salt
Add the vanilla to the melted butter mix and then pour into the dry mix. Mix well with a wooden spoon until a dough forms.
Divide the dough into 10 and shape into balls. Place the dough onto the trays, evenly spaced apart, and place in the fridge for 1 hour or overnight.
When you’re to bake, preheat the oven to 180C and combine the caster sugar and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon in a small bowl.
Roll the balls of cookie dough in the spiced caster sugar to coat and return to the baking tray.
Bake the cookies for 20-25mins*. Allow the cookies to cool completely before removing from the tray.
Flour – I used the plain flour from Dove’s farm.
Butter – I used Naturli sold Vegan Block (if you’re in the US try Earth Balance) and I recommend trying to find some if you can (I purchased mine at Waitrose). The solid vegan butter makes this cookie crispier on the outside and softer on the inside. Vegan margarine will work but you won’t get the same level of textural variation.
Xanthan Gum – is a binder that helps gluten-free baked goods hold their shape and prevents them from excessively crumbling (especially useful in vegan baking in the absence of eggs). You can find xanthan gum in most supermarkets in the baking aisle. You can, of course, leave the xanthan gum out but I haven’t tested the recipe without xanthan so I can’t guarantee it’ll work.
Baking time – baking the cookies for a shorter time (20mins) will make them softer at the centre and a longer time (25mins) will make the cookies crunchier.
Wondering why I melt the butter?
I melt the butter with the spices in this recipe to ‘bloom’ the spices – a technique used to intensify the flavour of the spices.
Wondering why the cookies need to go in the fridge before baking?
Gluten-free cookies tend to spread excessively when baking, fridging them before baking prevents this from happening. Especially in this situation where we have melted the butter and have a warm dough.
Wondering why the cookies need to be cold before you remove them from the try?
Gluten-free cookies are a little more fragile than their gluten-containing counter parts. Allowing them to cool on the tray, allows them to fully set. If you skip this step you may find they completely crumble when moved.
Find more gluten-free vegan baking tips here.