Baking

Gingerbread Houses – Done Gluten-Free Style


For the past few years we have made gingerbread houses during Christmas, but this year we weren’t sure. So I  began a hunt for gingerbread recipes and candy that we can use. Yes, even certain candies contain gluten. After doing lots of looking, I decided to try Children’s Gingerbread House submitted by Ruth on allrecipes.com.

I didn’t use the pattern that they suggested, as I should have, but the house still turned out and the kids still had fun.

Even though this recipe is not formulated for gluten-free baking, it can be adapted – especially if you have a really good gluten-free flour you like to use.  For this recipe we used  Wholesome Chows All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour, which already contains 1/2 tsp baking soda and 1/2 tsp salt per cup and xantham gum.  If you are using a different gluten-free all-purpose flour, please add a 1/2 tsp baking soda and a 1/2 tsp salt to the recipe. If the flour blend does not contain xantham gum, add it according to the directions on the package.

Here is the recipe, my changes are noted in italics:

Children’s Gingerbread House
allrecipe.com  * submitted by Ruth

Ingredients:

3/4c Butter – which is a stick and a half of butter
7/8c packed light brown sugar – I used whatever I had on hand
1 tsp lemon zest + 1 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice – approx 1/2 a lemon squeezed
1/2c Molasses*
2 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour – I used Wholesome Chow’s All Purpose Gluten-Free Flour
2tsp baking powder
1Tbs ground ginger – I added 1 1/2 Tbs for more taste
2Tsp ground allspice
1tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cap full of  vanilla

*If you don’t have Molasses you can substitute dark corn syrup cup for cup. To see more subtitution options, visit
Joy of Baking.

See the complete recipe at allrecipes.com for the cut out pattern of the house (step 1).

Directions
These directions have been modified to my baking style and to accommodate baking with gluten-free flour. To see the exact wording of each step please follow the link above.

1. Using a mixer, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.

2. While the butter and sugar are creaming, sift together flour, baking powder and spices.

3. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, and molasses to the butter/sugar mixture. Beat slowly to combine.

4. Gradually add one egg at a time, making sure the egg before has been fully incorporated.

5. Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet. Add a bit at a time until the mixture is a creamy texture. Since you are baking with gluten-free flour the texture will be smooth, but sticky. This is okay. 

6. Dump the dough out onto a piece of parchment paper – large enough to wrap the sticky mound in, and fold the edges of the parchment paper around the dough. Refridgerate for at least 1 hour. I let mine set for 2-3 hours until it was really firm.

7. Liberally flour a clean surface with rice flour – or the gluten free flour mix used. Turn the dough out onto the well floured surface. The dough will still be sticky. To help this, turn the mound over in the flour and slowly kneed a little bit of the flour on the table into and around the dough. Make sure you turn the dough as you go. Once the majority of the stickiness is gone – 3-4 turns/kneeds – shift some of the flour under the dough and prepare to roll it out. 

8. If there isn’t flour on top of the dough already, lightly sprinkle flour on top of the dough and on the rolling pin.

**IF you are using the template provided by Ruth on allrecipes.com, cut the dough into 6 portions, 2 slightly larger than the others. You will first roll out the smaller 4 pieces to the size of the side and end walls. Cut out the 2 of each. Roll out the remaining dough and cut into the roof pieces. Transfer the pieces to a greased baking tray.**

IF you are doing it freehand, like I did, divide the dough into two. Take one and roll it out into a long rectangle and cut out the sides and front of the house. Make sure to cut out the doors and windows ;). Using a spatula to help, gently move the pieces onto a parchment lined cooking sheet. Yes, you can cut the pieces out directly on the lined cookie sheet. I just couldn’t figure out how to roll it out. 🙂 If the dough is starting to stick, gently lift the sides of the dough and spread flour under it.

Repeat this process for the second mound of dough, cutting out the roof pieces and anything you couldn’t fit in the first half.

9. In a preheated 375* oven, bake the gingerbread for 10 minutes or until crispy and brown. Altitude does make a difference. If you are at 5,700 ft or more, start with 5-8 minutes. Remember, you can always add time!

Leave the gingerbread on the tray for a few moments to cool and harden, then transfer to a wire rack. Leave out overnight to harden. Unfortunately this is an important step. I waited for 2-3 hours, and while they were hard and “glued together”, they were fragile and some of the roof sagged and cracked overnight.

The recipe continues on to have you mix 2 egg whites (I used egg white substitute) and 5 cups of confectioners’ sugar until smooth and small peaks form. I used this recipes only for the glue to hold the house together. It worked amazingly fast! Let it set for 2-3 hours and then have fun!

For decoration I purchased Betty Crockers frosting and several gluten-free candies. The kids had a blast!  Because I was nervous about letting the kids eat the “glue” that held the house together, they ate all the candies off the house instead.

My girl was excited because she got to eat and taste everything! It was well worth the frustration of cracking bread 🙂

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