Although making a gingerbread house from a kit is fun, eating it never tastes that good. The gingerbread has been in the box for a while and lacks flavour. The icing is basically hard sugar. Sure, it looks pretty, but I don’t want to eat it.
So that being said, homemade gingerbread is a thousand times better. With gluten-free baking, the flour you use is sort of “make or break” for the recipe. Use all-purpose mixes unless you really know what you’re doing, and pick high quality ones. I’m used to using the Irresistables brand but this time I used a different one and I wasn’t as pleased with the result. The cookies still came out looking great, but I’d stick to a trusted brand.
This gingerbread recipe is just adapted from an old Crisco cut-out from a magazine, and the icing is a basic royal icing. You can colour it whichever way you want and it tastes super-sweet and delicious. If you want the icing to be pretty stiff, beat it for a long time and add a little extra confectioner’s sugar if necessary.
You can store the dough in the fridge overnight and make it the next day. I did this and it worked just as well as chilling it for a few hours. Also, if you happen to use a gluten-free flour mix which doesn’t meet your expectations and the cookies are a little grainy, be a little more generous when icing them. It helps a lot!
- 1 cup vegetable shortening
- 1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 3/4 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour mix
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 1/2 tsp. ginger
- 1 1/2 tsp. cloves
- Pinch of salt
- 1/6 tsp. cream of tartar (This doesn’t need to be exact, just more than a “pinch”)
- 2 egg whites
- 2 cups confectioner’s sugar
For the Gingerbread Cookies: With a sturdy wooden spoon, cream together shortening, brown sugar, molasses and water in a large bowl. In a seperate bowl mix together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt. Gradually add dry ingredients to the creamed mixture. Once all the dough is the same consistancy, cover and refridgerate for 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
On a floured surface, roll out the gingerbread dough to be about 1/4-inch thick. You will probably need to flour the rolling pin as well because gingerbread can stick easily. Cut the dough into shapes using cookie cutters, then place carefully on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper/with a silicon baking mat. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the edges are lightly browned. Allow them to fully cool before icing, or else it will melt off.
For the icing: In a large bowl, beat together cream of tartar and egg whites until frothy. Gradually mix in the confectioner’s sugar. Once it is all mixed, beat for 5 minutes so that the icing is no longer runny and stiff peaks form when the beaters are lifted.
If you’re putting sprinkles on your icing, do it directly after its been applied to the cookies. The icing will dry very quickly and the sprinkles won’t stick unless it is done right away.