Nothing says Happy Holidays like gingerbread cookies. Whether you are baking cookies or making a gingerbread house, I suggest baking the cookies on one day, and icing and decorating the next day; with the benefit of time, and plenty of bubbly.
Putting together a gingerbread house is more of a design and construction project versus baking. You should draw your pattern and select your color scheme and candy long before you start baking. I am no gingerbread house expert, which is why it took me almost four hours to complete one. Before you commit, review the royal icing recipe provided and think the practicing with a piping bag. If you are short of time, just make gingerbread men, stars and candy canes brushed with sugar icing and dotted in colorful sprinkles!
Built if you go ahead with making the gingerbread house, be sure to make two holes at the top of the roof pieces and tie them together to prevent the roof from sliding down the sides. I learned this the hard way!
For the Cookies
½ cup butter, softened
⅓ cup maple syrup
3 tbsp blackstrap molasses
2½ cups Redmill gluten-free flour
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
⅛ tsp cloves
dash of salt
For the Icing
3 large egg whites
4 3⁄4 cups powdered sugar
1⁄2 teaspoon cream of tartar
To Make the Icing
In a large clean bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar with electric mixer at medium speed.
Add powdered sugar in small amounts, mixing well on high speed after each addition.
Beat on high speed 4-5 minutes or until mixture thickens.
To Make the Cookies
Preheat oven to 350F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Place butter in a large mixing bowl and whip it with a mixer until it’s creamy. Add sweetener and molasses, vanilla, spices and salt and mix once again to combine.
Add in flour and use a wooden spoon to mix. Then get in there with your hands and mix everything together by working the dough until you can shape it into a ball. Shape the dough into 2 balls and then flatten each into a disk.
Roll out one of the dough balls between two sheets of parchment paper to ¼” thickness. Use a cookie cutter to cut out the cookies. Carefully transfer to a prepared cookie sheets, spacing them ½” apart. Gather up any dough scraps and repeat until all dough is used up. Repeat the process with the second dough ball.
Bake in a pre-heated oven for approximately 11-12 minutes, until the edges just begin to darken. Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack. Allow the cookies to cool for 10 minutes and decorate!