Saturday, 9 January 2016

Ginger Cookies/Biscuits - gluten free (with optional dairy free)

These cookies are amazing. Quite possibly the best gluten free cookies I have made! Or are they the best biscuits? Depending on which part of the world you come from, they are one or the other... or maybe both.....

It's an interesting conundrum though..... I grew up with biscuits simply being...... well..... biscuits. Cookies only really entered my consciousness with the Cookie Monster appearing on Sesame Street in the UK when I was somewhere in primary school, or maybe later (it wasn't a programme I watched much). I think even then, I didn't actually make the semantic connection with the sweet, flat treats we continued to call biscuits.

So when did they, in the UK, start to morph into 'cookies'? I have no idea! But somewhere along the road of treat-eating life, the supermarket shelves became stocked with them...... and the term 'cookies' entered popular British language.

If I think more deeply about my own use of the word, biscuits are generally distinguished from cookies according to the crunchiness of the bake. Biscuits (in my head) are crisp with a good 'snap' and you hear them crunching loudly in your ears when you eat them. Cookies have a tendency to be soft and quite chewy as well as often spreading more when they bake so that they have a less defined shape.

Sadly for my waistline, I like both, and will choose 'biscuit' or 'cookie' according to my mood or what I am eating them with. Ice cream, mousses, brûlées and other soft desserts demand the crunch of a biscuit. Cookies can be eaten as pudding on their own and often seem sweeter, larger and more filling.

Whichever you prefer, this Ginger Cookie/Biscuit recipe can be either. They taste fantastic whether crunchy or softer and the only difference is 3 to 5 minutes extra bake-time for a snappier result.

A classically-flavoured ginger cookie, these are made with the rich, earthy depth of treacly molasses, a warming punch of ginger and a measured hit of cinnamon. The additional twinkle gained from rolling in sugar before baking adds both beauty and texture and makes them appear confidently professional.

They look as good as they taste.... there is no masquerade behind the sparkle..... but beware...... they are very very moreish and you may find the pile 'evaporates' as quick as it appeared. Perhaps they are magic too........?

I am sending a few of these yummy cookies over to a handful of linkies this month :

AlphaBakes with Ros over at The More Than Occasional Baker ( and Caroline Makes) - The random letter for January is G for Ginger.

Tea Time Treats with Janie at The Hedge Combers (and Lavender & Lovage) who have an open theme for the tea table this month.

Free From Fridays with Emma at the Free From Farmhouse.

Cook Blog Share with Kirsty at Hijacked By Twins.

Bake of the Week with Casa Costello.

Gluten Free Fridays with Vegetarian Mamma.

Ginger Cookies (makes about 40 biscuits)


60g white rice flour
60g brown rice flour
60g cornflour (cornstarch)
60g sweet rice flour (Mochiko)
60g tapioca flour
½ teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
¼ teaspoon GF baking powder
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
1¼ teaspoons ground ginger
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
170g unsalted butter (softened) or dairy free alternative
200g granulated sugar
45g molasses (black treacle)
45g golden syrup
1 large egg

granulated sugar for rolling


  1. In a bowl, weigh and combine the flours, xanthan gum, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, salt and spices and whisk lightly to thoroughly combine. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. 
  3. Add the molasses and golden syrup and beat, then add the egg and beat again to thoroughly combine.
  4. Add and fold in the dry ingredients until the mixture comes together as a sticky dough. Tip onto a sheet of baking paper or cling film, wrap and chill for about an hour to firm up.
  5. Pre-heat the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4. Line a couple of baking sheets with baking paper.
  6. Pour a little granulated sugar into a bowl ready for dipping the cookies.
  7. Take the chilled dough and roll small pieces into walnut-sized balls. 
  8. Roll each ball in the sugar and flatten with the palm of your hand to a disc about 5 cm/2 inches in diameter. Place on the baking sheets allowing a little room (a couple of cm either side) for spreading.
  9. Bake for about 15 minutes or until the cookies are firming up on the top. For a crunchier cookie, bake for an extra 3 to 5 minutes.
  10. Remove from the oven and leave on the trays to cool for about 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
      Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-16 unless otherwise indicated


  1. Mmm, yes please! These sound delicious with the ginger and cinnamon. I totally agree with your descriptive differences of biscuits and cookies. As children they were all biscuits too. When I first came across a 'cookie' in a shop man many years ago I thought to myself '...but isn't that a biscuit?'.
    Angela x

    1. Ha ha! Thanks Angela. The cookie-biscuit dilemma will run for a long time me thinks!

  2. I agree with your biscuits and cookies descriptions - for me because there is something very american about choc chip cookies - we occasionally had them from a packet as kids but my mother who baked a lot never had them in her repertoire. So they were a particular name just like we had ginger snaps and tim tams. But now cookie has crept into Australian language in a way that makes me sad sometimes. Your biscuits look beautiful and sound delicious

    1. Thanks Johanna..... I feel quite sad too that our beloved biscuits seem to have transmuted into 'cookies'...... seems like everything these days has become Americanised. I particularly notice it with the kids and the language they use.... I regularly try and 'correct' my daughter (to no avail)!

  3. Wow these are so pretty and beautifully uniform! It's biscuits all the way for me, all these 'Americanisms' grate on me!!

    1. Thanks Kat...... Yep! I agree...... the less 'Amercanisms' the better!

  4. I regularly bake gluten free cakes but I have not dared try gluten free biscuits yet. But after seeing these I must give it a go! Thank you for sharing with #CookBlogShare x

    1. Oooohhhh Kirsty..... you must try GF biscuits! They can be a little tricky to find a good texture, but you could do a lot worse than start with these!!

  5. DEEEEELICOUS! I LOVE these and the photos are STUNNING too! Thanks so much for entering them into Tea Time Treats! Karen xxx

  6. They are most definitely biscuits in our house! We are far too northern to call them cookies! They look amazing whatever they are called though. Thanks again for joining in with #Bakeoftheweek New Roundup now open x

    1. Good to hear that Helen! 'Biscuits' are good with me! Will check out the roundup! xx

  7. Mmm..they do look good! Love the addition of ginger, I am in love with this root at the moment, I have it every morning grated with lemon juice. I find it quite addictive.
    Nice photography x

  8. These look so pretty and tempting. Love the photos - very stylish! To me biscuits is the English term and cookies is the American term. I have to admit I do use them interchangeably. Thanks for entering AlphaBakes.


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