If Christmas cookies had a mascot, it would be a cut-out gingerbread man cookie. What screams Christmas more than a cute little cut-out cookie dressed up with royal icing and jimmies? My gluten free gingerbread cookies are so easy to prepare and fun to decorate with little ones! You’ll cut out about four dozen of these to last you throughout the holiday season.
The blessing and curse of cut-out cookies
Needless to say, I bake a lot. But cookie baking is still not my strong suit. There are so many factors involved with working with cookie dough. The oven temperature, the oven racks, the cookie sheets, the cookie sheet liners- the list goes on. Cookies only need an average of nine minutes to bake. The less amount of bake time, the more margin there is for error. However, cut-out cookies are a little more reliable.
I compare cut-out cookie textures to pie crust. You go through a similar prep process- chilling the dough, then rolling it out. Unless you’re working with really warm dough, I can guarantee your cut-out cookies will bake just like mine. The only drawback is that rolling out dough and cutting out cookies is time consuming. Plus, then you have an entire afternoon of cookie decorating ahead of you! I suppose once a year, I can try to slow down my speed in the kitchen and relax with a pastry bag.
The easiest royal icing
There are many methods out there for royal icing. For me, I never have meringue powder on hand when I’m ready to whip up some royal icing. So, I’ve been mixing pasteurized egg whites and vanilla extract into confectioners sugar until I have a vert thick texture, and viola! This all comes down to personal choice. If you prefer playing it completely safe with meringue powder, you can’t go wrong with Sally’s Baking Addiction’s royal icing.
How to create pretty pastel colors for royal icing
We’ve all been there. You have this huge bowl of white icing in front of you, and then with two drops of food coloring, the color is way too dark. Now what do you do? If you want to create a light pastel icing color, use my fingertip method. Place a drop of food coloring on your finger, then let the excess drip onto a paper towel. Now, dab the tip of your finger into the icing. Mix it up completely before assessing how much more color you want. Sure, you’ll have some food dye on your fingertips for a couple of hours. But this is the best way to control how much coloring goes into your icing.
DIY Colored Sprinkles
Another creative tip is you can dye any fine-grain sprinkles you have on hand! The sprinkles you see here used to be hot pink. With some blue food coloring, viola! Don’t have sprinkles? Use plain old granulated sugar! Simple place a tablespoon in a small Tupperware container, add tiny drops of food coloring, and shake it up. Sprinkle colors just became endless!
Gluten Free Gingerbread CookiesPrint Recipe
- For the gingerbread cookies:
- 3 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour, like mine!
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 1/2 cup molasses
- For the royal icing:
- 3 cups confectioners sugar
- 2 pasteurized egg whites
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Food coloring of your choice
- Extra sprinkles for decorating
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, spices, salt, and baking soda.
In a separate large bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar on medium speed for two to three minutes until smooth and creamy. Beat in the egg on low speed for another minute. Beat in the molasses on low speed for another minute.
Beat half of the flour mixture into the wet ingredients until combined, then beat in the remaining half until well combined.
Divide the dough into two equal-sized balls, and press down on each of them to form a 6-inch disc. Wrap them tightly with plastic wrap and let them chill in the refrigerator for at least two hours or overnight. (If chilling overnight, remove them from the refrigerator ten minutes before you're ready to cut out the cookies.
When you're ready to roll and cut out the cookies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Take one disc out at a time, and place it on a piece of parchment paper. Roll out the dough until it is about 1/4 inch thick. If it helps, you can layer a second piece of parchment paper on top of the dough while rolling. Now, cut out as many cookies as you can with your cookie cutters and transfer to the lined baking sheet.
Re-roll the dough as needed until you cut out as many cookies as possible. (I cut out about 18 with each half of the dough.)
Bake the cookies for 10 minutes, rotating the trays on the oven racks halfway through.
Transfer the trays to cooling racks and let them cool for 10 minutes on the trays before transferring the cookies to the cooling racks to cool the rest of the way.
Next, prepare your royal icing by whisking the confectioners sugar, pasteurized egg whites, and vanilla together in a medium bowl until smooth and silky. Divvy out the icing into smaller bowls, depending on how many icing colors you want to create. Whisk in your food coloring of choice- remember, less is more! Start with the smallest possible amount and layer onto that as desired.
Transfer the icing to piping bags and decorate the cookies to your taste. Top with sprinkles and jimmies, and let the icing set for 15 minutes before serving. These cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to five days, or frozen for up to two months.