Here we are, two weeks until Christmas Day and the excitement around our home cannot be contained. Christmas lists have been made and letters to Santa have been sent. Now, it's time to do some holiday baking.
While my daughter has been asking for days to make cookies, my son really could not care less. He's been more focused on his holiday shopping budget (as a 6 year old, I'm not quite sure what shopping he has to do) rather than baking Christmas cookies. Looking for any opportunity to earn extra cash for Christmas gifts, he mastered loading the dishwasher for 50 cents and recently set his sights on our backyard. Inspired by one of his favorite shows, Discovery's "Gold Rush", he spent the early part of this afternoon digging a hole, hoping to hit the mother lode in our backyard. While he was outside digging for treasure, my daughter and I decided to create our own holiday treasure indoors - a sparkly, decorated gingerbread house. Sure, you can go out and buy the $9.99 ready-made gingerbread kit to decorate, but that spoils all the fun of making it truly unique, let alone gluten and dairy free.
We checked out some plans online and decided to follow Martha Stewart's Swedish Gingerbread house plans. It seemed easy enough, but well, you see the end result does not quite look like Martha's. Somewhere along the way between rolling out the gingerbread dough, printing the gingerbread house plans, getting dinner ready, and listening to my son's story of how he thinks he struck bedrock, I forgot to make a roof. That's going to pose a problem when trying to assemble a house. So, we just rolled with it. We piled the frosting on thick and used a variety of gluten free and dairy free treats to adorn what walls we could get to stand up, ranging from mini-marshmallows to coconut flakes and Skittles. Someone got hungry during the process and decided to take a bite out of one side. Oh well. This gingerbread house certainly won't win any beauty contests and is a far, far cry from Martha Stewart's creation, but it sure tastes good!
The recipe below is adapted from one of Betty Crocker's gingerbread recipes that I modified to be gluten free and dairy free. You can use whatever gluten and dairy free decorations that you want, but here are some suggestions of what we used:
McCormick's Cinnamon sticks (we attempted to make the cinnamon-stick woodpile ala Martha)
Angel Flaked coconut (snow)
My-Del gluten free gingerbread men cookies
Ghirardelli chocolate chips
Bob's Candy canes
Brach's Star Brites Peppermint Starlight Mints
Glutino Pretzel Sticks
Pamela's Gluten Free/Dairy Free Vanilla Frosting/Pillsbury Vanilla Frosting
2 1/2 cups gluten free flour mix (1 cup millet, 1 cup brown rice flour, 1/2 cup sorghum flour)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup Earth Balance vegan shortening
1/2 cup molasses
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Beat shortening in a mixer until fluffy (30 seconds). Add sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and spices, beating until combined. Add the molasses, egg, and vinegar and beat again. In a separate bowl, combine gluten free flour mix and xanthan gum. Slowly add to wet mixture, beating until all is combined. Cover dough and chill at least 2 hours.
On a clean surface dusted with rice flour, roll out chilled dough to desired thickness (1/4 - 1/8 inch thick). Using a pizza cutter, cut into desired shapes for the gingerbread house. We followed Martha Stewart's Swedish cottage house plan. Place onto greased cookie sheet. Bake 5 to 6 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool. Assemble, using powdered sugar icing as the mortar, and let your creativity run wild!
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Tags: Angel Flaked coconut, Bob's Candy Canes, Christmas, dairy free, dairy free gingerbread, Discovery Channel, Ghirardelli chocolate chips, gingerbread, gingerbread house, gladly gluten free, gluten free, gluten free gingerbread, Glutino Pretzel Sticks, Gold Rush Alaska, holiday baking, Jet-Puffed Marshmallows, Martha Stewart, McCormick's Cinnamon sticks, My-Del gluten free gingerbread men cookies, Pamela's Gluten Free Frosting, Pillsbury Vanilla Frosting, Rice Chex, skittles