I love gingerbread cookies on a cold day with tea. To me, it says Christmas. If you are planning on making a gingerbread house, structure, or iced cookies, I suggest doing the baking on one day and the icing and decorating the next day, with plenty of time–and champagne.
Putting together a gingerbread house is more of a construction and design project versus baking. You should draw your pattern and select your candy and color scheme long before you start baking. I am no gingerbread expert, which is why it took me almost four hours to complete one. Before you commit, review a royal icing recipe (not vegan!) and think about filling the piping bag and the mess. My only secret tip for building the house is to make two holes at the top of the roof pieces, tie them together, and ice over them to prevent the roof from sliding down the sides. Or, you can save yourself the hassle and make gingerbread men, Christmas trees, and reindeer!
2 cups Redmill gluten-free flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon
3 tsp. vanilla extract
1 flax egg (3 tbsp. water mixed with 1 tbsp. flax meal)
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup coconut sugar, (or your vegan sweetener of choice)
2 tablespoons organic black-strap molasses
Combine gluten-free flour, baking powder, salt, ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon in a small bowl. Mix gently until combined.
Combine molasses, coconut sugar or sweetener of choice, coconut oil, flax egg, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl, preferably the bowl of a standing mixer. Mix together until fully combined. Add the flour mixture in about 1/3 at a time, until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined. Your dough will be sticky–do not add more flour! Scrape the dough from the bowl and roll into a ball on a floured surface, then wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. On a floured surface, roll out the dough to about 1/4″ thickness, then cut into shapes with cookie cutters. (Keep the dough a little thicker if you like softer cookies.) Re-roll your scraps and repeat until all the dough has been used, refrigerating in between if the dough becomes too warm. Bake cookies until they no longer seem “wet” and their edges are golden brown, about 8-10 minutes. Leave in the oven for an additional 2-4 minutes past this point if you like a crispier cookie which you will need for a gingerbread house or structure.
Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack. Allow the cookies to cool completely before decorating with Vegan Royal Icing. They will stay fresh in an airtight container for up to 3 days.