The year Sam was born I started one of our own Christmas traditions, building an annual Gingerbread House! I used to buy one of the kits at the store and each year we had a lot of fun putting them together then taking pictures for our scrapbook. When I was the lone celiac in the house, (and we still had a dual gluten/gluten-free kitchen) it wasn’t a problem to still buy the kit. Mike and Sam built the gingerbread house and I took the pictures!
This is the first year that I cannot buy a pre-made kit (since Sam was diagnosed last December and we had already made our 2008 house). I refuse to let this special tradition we have built, and have such fond memories of, die out just because of a “little” thing called a dietary restriction!
So, what is a mom to do? Build her own!
I came across a recipe for Vegan GF gingerbread cookies from a super cool GF blog that I recently found, Cake and Commerce. The blog’s author, Linsey, said the dough can be used for building a gingerbread house too. I really like the more unique GF flours that are used in this recipe; (click on the links to read more on these GF powerhouses) like buckwheat, teff and millet. I do not use these flour often, but think I will start playing around with them a bit more…who says the GF diet can’t be uber nutritious?!
I will post Linsey’s recipe here as well so I can show the adjustments I made (in red):
Yield: approximately 29 oz (822g)
- 1/2 C (4 oz) Jungle (Palm) Shortening or other trans-fat free vegetable shortening (I used Crisco)
- 1/2 C Rapadura (I used 1/2 cup of firmly packed brown sugar)
- 1 T Maple Syrup (I omitted since I used brown sugar)
- 1/2 C Unsulphured Molasses
- 1/2 t Vanilla Extract
- 2-1/2 t Ground Ginger
- 1 t Cinnamon
- 1/2 t Fresh Ground Nutmeg
- 1/4 t Ground Cloves
- 1-1/4 t Baking Soda
- 1/2 t Sea Salt
- 1 t Agar Powder (I used 1 tsp. Xanthan Gum…but I have been wanting to try the agar since I first noticed it a year or so ago, maybe I will now!)
- 1/2 C Teff Flour
- 3/4 C Light Buckwheat Flour
- 1/2 C Brown Rice Flour
- 1/2 C Tapioca Flour
- 1/4 C Millet Flour
Preheat oven to 350 (or 325 in Convection oven).
Combine shortening, rapadura and maple (or in my case, brown sugar) in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix with a paddle until light and fluffy. Add in molasses and vanilla and continue to mix.
Separately, combine all dry ingredients together. Add to the wet mixture. The dough will be crumbly at first but will soon come together. It may take a few minutes. Finish kneading by hand.
The dough can be rolled out right away and cut into cookies or it may sit, wrapped in plastic, in the refrigerator overnight. It may be frozen and stored up to a month.
The dough should be very easy to roll out – it does not need to be rolled out between two sheets of parchment.
Bake on a parchment-lined sheet pan for 8-10 minutes, or until slightly risen with a touch of color at the edges. Cool. Store in a airtight container for up to a month.
These cookies are FABULOUS!!!! The boys really loved having their “men” (I made some cookies too) battle it out and each bite was a “battle wound.”
Next, I found some templates to use for cutting out my gingerbread house shapes on Bob Vila’s website! Who better to get a gingerbread house template from???
I am really surprised at how easy this was!! I really urge you to try it and have some good old fashioned fun! I got a warm and fuzzy feeling of what it must have been like being a mom in my grandma’s generation (she is almost 95)!! This experience made me feel really close to her…(I love you Grams!).
I will post our completed 2009 gingerbread house as soon as we get it decorated. I am so excited!
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