Welcome to my blog, through which I hope to be able to share my experiences of gluten free cooking, baking, experimenting and eating.
When my daughter was diagnosed (age 6) with Coeliac Disease, our world of eating changed overnight. From breads, pastry and pasta to cakes, biscuits and puddings.......... suddenly most of what we knew was 'off the menu'. I think I must have tested every available gluten free product on the market, seeking out replacements to try and keep things as normal as possible. I was disappointed to find that what was available was often dry, crumbly and flavourless.
Not one to shy away from a challenge, I decided to turn my kitchen into a laboratory, turn all I knew about cooking on its head and start creating!

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Gingerbread stars and people - gluten free of course

I have had an unusual craving for ginger this week. I have no idea whether that means anything, but if anyone has any thoughts, let me know....... Either way, to help satisfy my craving, I drank lots of herbal ginger tea, and made some gingerbread biscuits. Quick and easy yes, but they smell so good and everyone in our house loves them, especially my daughter.



These biscuits are absolutely delicious. They are not too sweet and have a slightly soft middle which melts in the mouth, accompanied by that tingly warm hit of ginger.

For an extra bit of zing, I topped my stars with a tangy raspberry drizzled icing, made with freeze-dried raspberry (available from Waitrose, although I buy mine in larger quantity from a company called Healthy Supplies). The fruity sharpness off-sets the rich, sweet ginger spice, and adds another dimension that somehow just works! The colour is also fantastic, making the biscuits look rich, vibrant and attractive. I love the colour of raspberries.............

Just after I had made them, I packed a few stars into a tub and popped them in the car for the school run. Seeing them in the car, my daughter eagerly asked, 'can I have one?' As she opened the tub, she announced with glee 'oooooh these smell delicious. It's a good job I can have one, because if I was only allowed to smell them, I might just have to be naughty and eat one anyway......' Then she wolfed down several in a row, so I guess they must be okay......

The recipe that I have used here has been adapted from 'Artisanal Gluten-Free Cupcakes' (Kelli & Peter Bronski (2011)). I have taken out the allspice and cloves as I find they distract from the rich taste of the ginger and added extra ginger instead (because for us, they weren't gingery enough). I have also changed the ratio of brown sugar to molasses, using a greater amount of brown sugar, because I find the heavier weight of molasses can give a bitter taste.


Ingredients

180g unsalted butter (room temperature)
80g soft brown sugar
60g molasses sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
210g gluten free plain flour (I used the alchemist mix A from this post)
1 ½ teaspoons xanthan gum
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
sugar sprinkles as desired

Raspberry Icing                                         

Approximately 6 teaspoons icing sugar

3 teaspoons freeze-dried raspberries (ground into powder)

Boiled water added a little at a time to drizzling consistency




Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 190 C / 375 F / Gas 4-5.
  2. Cream together the butter, brown sugar and molasses using an electric whisk until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat to incorporate. 
  4. Thoroughly stir in the flour, xanthan gum, bicarbonate of soda, ginger, cinnamon and salt, until fully incorporated and smooth in texture. 
  5. Divide the mixture in half and wrap each in cling-film. refrigerate for about 30 minutes to allow the dough to firm up.
  6. Remove from the fridge and roll out the first half on a sheet of baking paper sprinkled with cornflour to prevent sticking, using a rolling pin (dusted with cornflour) to a thickness of about ¼ inch.
  7. Using a cookie cutter, cut shapes into the whole dough sheet, but do not remove the shapes.  
  8. Slide the baking paper and dough sheet onto a baking tray to keep flat and place in the freezer for about 5 minutes to harden. This will enable the cookie shapes to be more easily removed.
  9. Place the cookie shapes onto a baking sheet.
  10. Repeat steps 6-9 for the second piece of dough.
  11. Any remaining dough can be briefly kneaded to bring together and steps 6-9 followed again.
  12. Decorate with sprinkles as desired.
  13. Bake for 6 to 10 minutes (dependent on the size of the cookies) until the edges are slightly brown and set and the cookies are firm but still chewy. You may have to bake in several batches dependent on how many cookies you have made.
  14. Leave the hot cookies for about 5 minutes on the baking tray, before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. 
  15. If you are making raspberry icing, mix the icing sugar and raspberry powder together in a small bowl. When you are ready to use, add hot water a little at a time, stirring into a smooth paste until the desired consistency is reached.   
  16. Drizzle over the biscuits using a decorating bottle or careful teaspoon.
  17. Leave at room temperature until the icing is fully set.
  18. Store in an airtight container.




















Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013 unless otherwise indicated.

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