Dec 27, 2011

Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Ginger Cookies

Here's my favorite new cookie recipe to wish you belated happy holidays. I can't seem to stop making these. They are the perfect winter cookie spiced with warming ginger and cinnamon. They are tender, soft and cakey on the inside with the slightest snap of a crust on the outside.

The original (gluten) recipe comes from Chez Panisse. But I spotted Shauna's gluten-free version on her site, Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef and was inspired, as I am by so many of her posts and recipes, to try them. I love that they don't contain any xanthan or guar gums, commonly found in most gluten-free recipes, each of which have adverse effects on me.

I started with Shauna's version and then began experimenting. First, I traded the butter for coconut oil, and used mostly maple syrup with a little brown sugar instead of the white sugar. And I also tried it with brown rice flour and chia instead of the white rice flour.

These cookies are addictive and the perfect accompaniment for a cup of hot tea, eggnog or horchata. They also make a great whoopie pie, sandwich cookie or ice cream sandwich. I made a whoopie pie for the photo with an eggnog filling (1 1/2 cups powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons eggnog. If you're going dairy-free, try a nondairy eggnog or rice milk-based horchata). But I most like to eat them on their own. Straight, simple, comforting. And I must mention, if you have an unhappy tummy, the ginger in these will make you feel much better. Rx: cookie!

I've been making double batches of these and keeping the dough in the freezer. I bake up a cookie sheet full at a time for fresh hot cookies on demand. (I have to confess to eating the occasional dough ball straight from the freezer and in the heat of summer, I find them particularly refreshing that way.)

Plan ahead, these need to go into the freezer for several hours or overnight. But you can make them like I do and keep the dough in the freezer for cookies anytime. I use a #40 ice cream scoop from the restaurant supply shop to make even, perfectly round cookies. These scoops are inexpensive and seem to be more sturdy than most others that I've used.

Happy baking to all and to all a good night! And a big thank you to Shauna for turning me on to these incredible cookies!

Ginger Cookies

1 1/2 cups sorghum flour
1 1/2 cups brown rice flour
2 tablespoons ground chia seeds
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
3 teaspoons ground ginger

1 cup coconut oil, room temperature
3/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup molasses

Measure out the flours and combine them in a medium-sized bowl. Add the chia, soda, salt, ginger and cinnamon. Whisk together to combine well. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the coconut oil, maple syrup and brown sugar. With a mixer, (I used a hand mixer), cream together. Add the eggs, vanilla and molasses, and mix again until evenly incorporated.

Add the flour mixture, half at a time and mix until completely incorporated.

Transfer the dough to a covered container and put into the freezer overnight or for several hours.

Before baking, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove the dough from the freezer and using a #40 ice cream scoop, make as many dough balls as you want to bake. Place the dough balls on a silpat- or parchment-lined baking sheet and return the sheet to the freezer, while the oven warms up. When the oven is ready, move the cookie sheet from the freezer straight into the oven. Bake for 12 minutes. The cookies will look just slightly underdone when you remove them from the oven, but they will continue cooking on the sheet until they cool. Let cool completely on the sheet to firm up (or they'll stick and fall apart).

I think these have the best texture when eaten the same day or the next day after baking.

Note: once the dough has frozen, you can also scoop out your dough balls and freeze them in a covered container or ziptop bag for faster baking later on. Just remember to bake them straight from the freezer to hold their round shape.


Adapted from Chez Panisse and Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef.

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