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Gluten-Free Gingersnaps Recipe

Gluten free gingersnaps from Karina, Gluten-Free Goddess
Gluten-free gingersnaps- a classic holiday cookie.

This time of year simply begs for gingersnaps- the classic and humble cookie that tastes old fashioned and elegant and post new wave all at once. A subtle, spicy, gingery bite that snaps with a crunch to awaken satiated taste buds soaked in a holiday sea of egg nog, cheese logs and peanut butter balls. Fancy cookies, these are not. Slathered with green icing and star sprinkles? Not exactly. Though, you could, I suppose. Slather these. And sprinkle with abandon. If you're of a mindset that more is more, and nurture not the minimalist mantra of Less.

The choice is yours.

Go old fashioned and let the gingersnap goodness tingle on its own.

Or go wild.

And get your frosting on.

It's your party.


Gluten free ginger cookies cooling on a wire rack
Cooling on the rack- ginger spiced vegan cookies in cut out shapes.

Karina's Gluten-Free Gingersnaps Recipe


Originally published December 2010.

The dough for these gluten-free gingersnaps lends itself beautifully to rolling out and cutting into shapes. Usually vegan gluten-free dough is finicky. But I found it surprisingly easy to roll out- with a simple technique we use for making crackers. The cut-outs were tricky to move, though. But don't fret. I have a method to bypass that horror (cookie shapes breaking into sad little twisted lumps).

Ingredients:

1 cup sorghum flour (also called jowar flour)
1 cup tapioca starch/flour
1/2 cup hazelnut flour or almond flour
1 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1/4 teaspoons xanthan gum
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup Spectrum Organic Shortening or vegan margarine
1/4 cup unsulphured molasses
4 tablespoons coconut milk (or non-dairy milk)

Supplies you'll need:

A large baking sheet. An Exopat or Silpat. Plastic wrap. A rolling pin. Cookie cutters.

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

Use a whisk attachment or pastry cutter to cut in the shortening and molasses. The mixture will be sandy and crumbly.

Add the coconut milk one tablespoon at a time.

Mix after each spoonful to keep a close eye on the consistency. You don't want the dough too sticky. It should still appear somewhat crumbly- but- when you pinch the dough it should stick together and feel like cookie dough. I used four tablespoons of So Delicious coconut milk to get to this consistency.

Divide the dough in half. Wrap one half in plastic wrap and pop it in the fridge to chill while you work with the other half.

Note: If the dough seems too soft and warm- chill all of it for an hour to improve the rolling out process.

Split the half dough ball in two.

Place the Exopat liner on the counter. Put the dough in the center, and using your palms, lightly press the dough into a flattish round shape.

How does the dough feel? If it's warm or very soft you may need to chill it before working with it. If it feels sturdy and pliable, proceed.

Cut a swath of plastic wrap the size of the Exopat and lay it on top of the dough. Use a rolling pin to roll out the cookie dough evenly. The plastic wrap makes this super easy. When the dough is evenly 1/4 inch thick, pull off the plastic and save it for the next batch.

Use cookie cutters or juice glasses to cut shapes into the dough- not too close together. Do not move the shapes you cut. You are just cutting the dough.

Carefully pull away the pieces of dough surrounding the cookie shapes, leaving the cookie shape itself on the Exopat (I used a butter knife to help me do this).

When you're done you'll have a sheet of shapes ready to bake!

Roll up the excess dough to reuse.

Place the baking sheet next to the Exopat liner and gently move the liner with cookies onto the baking sheet.

Bake in the center of a preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes.

Note: Use this first sheet as a trial run to see your best baking time. The thinner the cookie the faster it will bake. Mine were ready at 8 minutes.

These gingersnaps crisp as they cool. So if you like a chewy, tender ginger cookie, bake for less time, say 7 to 8 minutes. If you prefer them crunchy gingersnap style, bake them at least 8 minutes, up to 9 minutes- if they aren't rolled very thin. Remember the thinner they are the faster the bake. For thicker cookies, bake up to 10 minutes- but remember, these really do crisp as they cool to room temperature, so experiment with timing.

When the cookies have firmed up and are cooled enough to handle, remove them to a wire rack to continue to cool and crisp up.

Repeat the process for the remaining cookie dough.

Note: If you bake two sheets at a time, your baking time may vary from mine. I baked one sheet in the center. Rotate the pans to help with even baking.

When the cookies are cool, divide them up and store them in sandwich bags, inside a large freezer bag. Freeze for maximum taste and texture preservation.

Makes 3 to 4 dozen cookies, depending upon the size of the cut-outs.



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Vegan gluten free gingersnaps in a stack with a glass of cold coconut milk
Gingersnaps and cold coconut milk- vegan bliss.

I made half the batch as classic gingersnaps- small round snaps of gingery goodness. Perfect for dunking in ice cold coconut milk. I rolled the dough out slightly thicker and used an espresso cup, and have a delightfully tender, chewy center.

I bagged and froze extras for easy take-along treats. I tuck them in my purse. They're fabulous with a soy chai latte. Just sayin'.


Vegan and wheat free ginger cookies is moon and star shapes for Christmas
Vegan gingersnap moons and stars for the holidays.

Recipe Notes:

Use fresh spices. Not last year's. These cookies shine with spicy flavor, so don't use stale spices you've had kicking around since Santa Clause was a kid.
For those of you avoiding nut flours, I suggest trying your favorite medium weight gluten-free flour as a substitute for the hazelnut flour. The hazelnut flour is slightly sweet and nutty. So you'll want to replace it with a good tasting flour- not a bean flour.

For subbing the coconut milk, any non-dairy milk will work- but again, choose a good tasting sub. I think any nut milk or rice milk should work. Choose a vanilla milk for added flavor.

For subbing the organic shortening, I find oil sometimes problematic in cookie recipes, so I'm not sure I'd recommend using oil. Perhaps a solid coconut oil or vegan stick margarine. If you are not vegan, and use butter, that will work.
Why I use an Exopat or Silpat- a silicone liner for the baking sheet- I find that gluten-free cookies will too often spread, and brown too much if baked directly on a baking sheet. Unless you use a sheet with "cushioned air"- those really slow down the baking time.
These are a pleasantly crisp gingersnap-style cookie. If you frost them with icing, it will soften the cookie. So if you prefer a softer cookie- ice these.


Gluten free vegan gingersnap cookies in star cut out shapes on a plate
Perfect for tea. Or a bedtime snack. Gotta love gingersnaps.


Enjoy sugary treats in moderation. Gluten-Free Goddess 
advises consuming no more than 2 tablespoons of sugar a day. 



75 comments:

  1. Gorgeous, gorgeous! I'd love to nibble on these right now! I really like the textures showing through, icing would hide and spoil that and I'm sure they scrumptious enough just as!

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  2. Hi Karina I am not able to print the first page of the 'printer-friendly' version of the recipe. Is anyone else having problems with it?

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  3. Anonymous17:44

    I think you read my mind! I have been thinking about gingersnaps and gingerbread men for days! Thank you for solving my problem of finding a good recipe, as this is my first gluten free holiday season. You really are a blessing!

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  4. Hi Karina...can we use this recipe for gingerbread men/women. Are gingersnaps essentially the same dough?

    shell :)

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  5. What exactly IS tapioca?

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  6. Thanks, Bron! xox

    Fran- I just tweaked it- try again.

    Anon- Thank you!

    Shelley, These are crisp- though I did use a gingerbread man cut out to see if they'd turn out and they were tasty- but crisper rather than cakey. Not as soft as the standard gingerman.

    xox Karina

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  7. Tapioca starch is flour made from the root called manioc or cassava. It is a grain-free flour, very light.

    Karina

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  8. Karina, when I read your posts, I just smile. As one writer to another, your wordplay is splendid as these cookies probably are also.~~Dee

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  9. Can't wait to make these!

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  10. Karina:
    honestly I don't want to buy any more flour than I have. I have all-purpose, almond, and arrowroot starch. I know that sounds weird & cheap that I don't want to buy more, but do you think I could use either of those/them together to make these? I dont know much about GF flours I just use them when a recipe calls for them. thanks! <3

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  11. Thanks, Dee! Appreciated. xox

    Hi Rach! xox

    Missmarc- Almond flour will definitely work as a sub for the hazelnut flour. An all-purpose flour can be used instead of the sorghum- but- if it has starch in it, it's going to tilt the flour to starch ratio. And if it's rice flour...it may end up with gummy or ricey texture. Arrowroot starch- can be subbed if you like the taste, I suppose.

    Gluten-free baking is tricky and sometimes changing the flours works- and sometimes it doesn't.

    xox Karina

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  12. thanks so much for the advice; I think Ill just buy the flour to have on hand. thanks again!

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  13. Karina, these look amazing. I have been on the search form many years now to create a "crispy cookie" Is this one of them???I find it so hard! Every cookie I make is soft. Good but soft. I want CRISP! Any suggestions? Thanks so much, Ina
    p.s. love, love, your site!

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  14. OooOooohh! I've gotta try this recipe!!! Only thing, we are nut free. :-( Is there a good sub for these nut flours?

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  15. yummy, i hope i will get to make some this season!

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  16. I love ginger. I am having a tough time with my cookie and gingerbread baking this year as we have had unprecedented rain and humidity. I'm holding off the big stuff like gingerbread houses until the last minute.

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  17. Oh I hope my DD likes these. She's loves Gingerbread cookies and since finding out about her gluten intolerance she misses all the typical cookies.

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  18. Those cookies are just perfect. So lovely and brown and I'm imagining the ginger taste. You really are the baking goddess!

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  19. So pretty! I love your photography.

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  20. Karina, these look so perfect they would make gorgeous ornaments--not that they would stay on the tree for any considerable length time. The almond meal must give them a lovely texture.

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  21. Gingersnaps = YUM> That still is one GF cookie that I have not made in ages...I better get to it :)

    ~Lori

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  22. They look delicious ! I think I will try them this winter :-)

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  23. Yum! Great recipe for the coming Christmas holidays! I'll probably make these for yummy family treats!
    Have you thought about a recipe for Shortbread cookies? I would love to find a good gluten free recipe for those!

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  24. Nothing says winter more than ginger snaps -- I love the way the house smells as they're baking. (And, PS, love your new blog design, too!) xo

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  25. Anonymous17:58

    My 5.5 year old has been begging to make gingerbread men. Thanks for the recipe Karina, they are always delicious!

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  26. Aw. Sweet. For gingerbread men, I might add a little (1-2 tablespoons) coconut milk (or other non-dairy liquid) to make a slightly softer dough. You'll need to experiment if you want something different than a crisp cookie. xox Karina

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  27. Thanks again, everyone. You rock. xox

    Ina- these are crisp. Promise!

    xox Karina

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  28. I LOVE the new look of your blog, and especially your photo up in the header! It looks great!

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  29. Kalyn- Thank you, so much! I felt like sprucing things up for Winter. xox Karina

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  30. Thanks for these Karina. I used a mix of rice flour and buckwheat since I can't get sorghum. My child is allergic to ginger so I omitted it. I used olive oil and they turned out great. They had so much fun cutting out the shapes. You rock!

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  31. Love them Karina! I've just linked them up in the Top Ten Favorites for Christmas Gifting!

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  32. I cannot wait to bake these. I am craving gingerbread cookies, and even more, to create a gluten free, and dairy free, gingerbread house with my three wee ones. Thanks, again, for your recipes. I would be lost without your guidance!

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  33. Hi Karina,

    I just wanted to say that the photo of the stacked stars is absolutely wonderful. One of the best food blog photos I've ever seen. I loved it! And the cookies sound delicious, too. And, like Kalyn, I appreciate the new look of your blog, and it's so nice that it includes your picture, too.

    warm and wild winter, Solstice and season's greetings to you!

    xo

    moonwatcher

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  34. I am going to have to try these as soon as I get my hands on some almond flour. I love the sound of the addition of coconut milk. The photos are fantastic.

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  35. Sunna- So happy to know that buckwheat and rice flour worked in this recipe for you. Glad you got do cut-out cookies with the kids!

    Thanks, Jas!

    Bendy Tree- A gingerbread house- now that is a challenge! Good luck and let us know how you do it.

    Moonwatcher- How lovely to see you! Thank you for stopping by. I'm glad you like the new *look*. And Happy Winter Solstice to you and your family!

    Faythe- Thank you so much!

    You all rock! xox

    Karina

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  36. AJK- For a nut flour sub- I'd use a medium weight flour to sub nut flour in this recipe- sorghum, brown rice flour, light buckwheat, millet will work.

    xox

    Karina

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  37. Karina -- I've been ogling these cookies and felt compelled to give them a shout-out on my site. They are lovely! Thanks for being an inspiration!

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  38. Karina,

    I just baked these and they are SO good. They didn't keep their shape more while baking though...they definitely don't look as pretty as yours; maybe too much liquid?
    They taste lovely all the same!

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  39. Thank you, Beth! xox

    Krystle- Did you use an Exopat/Silpat? Or parchment paper? I find gluten-free cookies often spread too much when baked directly on the baking sheet. xox

    Karina

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  40. Krystal- Also- perhaps dough was too warm if they spread that much? Try chilling the dough next time- and make sure the oven temp is correct- bake in the middle of the oven, not too near the bottom or the top.

    Karina

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  41. Do you think i could use oil instead of shortening?

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  42. Mary- Using oil in roll out cookies can be tricky. Do you have experience with this? Is it an oil that solidifies when chilled- such as coconut oil or olive oil (this would be beneficial)? If you experiment with oil, I'd use a bit less, I think (you don't want the gingersnaps to have an oily mouth feel). And I would thoroughly chill the dough.

    Using oil will change the way these cookies behave, I suspect.

    xox Karina

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  43. Heather Andrews22:08

    I am just waiting for my last batch in the oven. House smells yummy!

    I could not find Sorghum (jowar) flour in my grocery store, I used corn flour. I also did not have nutmeg.

    Anyways...my results:
    Tasty! very tasty.
    I made my first batch with a cutter just a little bit bigger than a shot glass width. They spread to be large wafer thin crisps. very unique.

    I do prefer a little bit thicker, so that they are not as thin when they spread out. (could just be that I used a different flour)

    I also prefer a smaller size. This is a RICH flavour, little cookies are just enough.


    Excellent cookie, thank you Gluten free Goddess!

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  44. I made these gingerbread cut-outs with my kids. They were great! And the dough was easier to work with than I expected. We were even able to transfer our cut-outs to a different cookie sheet before baking. Thanks!

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  45. trish11:23

    Just made these with my 4 year old to take to preschool tomorrow for their snack. I was hoping to find an allergy friendly holiday recipe that he could eat as well as his friends and that were also yummy. These are perfect! You can hardly tell they are gluten free!! We added some cane sugar to the tops and made several different holiday shapes to keep it fun! I'm almost hesitant to give them all away they are so yummy! I'm hoping I have time to make these again before christmas so we have a yummy treat to eat when tempted with all the holiday cookies that we can't eat. Thank you!

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  46. Heather, Paige and Trish- Yay. So glad you like these. I've been eating them all week. ;-) Thank you for stopping back to share your take on these. Much appreciated. Enjoy the holidays! xox Karina

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  47. Thank you thank you thank you thank you!!! I'm making these right now. The dough is delicious and they smell wonderful. Can't wait to try the cookies.

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  48. Thanks for sharing this recipe! I haven't had a gingersnap in 6 years! They're listed on my blog as one of the gluten-free treats that I’ve drooled over this Christmas season. http://www.glutenfreecat.com/?p=2403 I’ll be baking them soon! Hope your Christmas was merry! Thank you, thank you!!!

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  49. Another must bake recipe. Thank you!

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  50. Delicious! I brought these to my work Christmas party and everyone raved about how good they were... everyone was surprised to hear they were gluten-free and vegan :-)

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  51. Anonymous22:06

    YUMMY - My first GF recipe ever for my 5 year old. We made these for our Christmas (Santa) cookies. So glad they turned out as I love baking/cooking and have been very HO HUM about the GF thing. I rolled out on my dough board and baked on my Pampered Chef stoneware and they were PERFECT in every way. Thanks for sharing. I am now on your blog daily :-) Tanna

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  52. Long time reader, first time commenter. These cookies are too delightful not to comment. I don't know how you had any left to put in your freezer. I almost devoured the entire first batch out of the oven immediately.

    I'm trying to avoid sugar but molasses is okay. Do you know if I could sub more molasses for the brown sugar? I tried googling this but found little. Thanks!!

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  53. Just discovered your site. Great! Beautifully photographed and written.

    Can you share the purpose of xanthan gum in many of these recipes -- maybe on the FAQ page?

    Thanks. Keep 'em coming.

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  54. Just made these in star and unicorn shapes (yes, you read that correctly)! They are wonderful!


    (also: I un-veganed them by using an egg)

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  55. (Adoringly...) I loooove gingersnap cookies. Crisp, soft, warm, cold... big, small, stars, circles... aahhhh. Anyway, it's not Christmas time, but it might as well be in Eastern Oregon in the Spring. 43 degrees with another chance of snow through the night. So I'm dreaming of curling up on my oversized chair with a good novel (or cookbook, either will be inthralling), a thick quilt and a plate of freshly made gingersnap cookies.

    I am new to being GF and GF baking, but baking soda is baking soda and this is where my hangup is. I must be extra sensitive to the flavor of baking soda, because I feel it overpowers and ruins the bread/cookies or whatever it is I am creating. It is almost all I can taste. When I wasn't cooking GF I just replaced the amount called for with baking powder and never had a problem. Is this possible with baking GF and especially this recipe?

    I am so thrilled to have found this site! Thank you, thank you for your passion and for sharing it with us.

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  56. I'd love to spinkle a little sugar or make a frosting for them that wouldn't be objectionable to my vegan friend. Is it possible to do this? What kind of ingredients would be ok?

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  57. Hi Karina,

    Can I use coconut oil in this or butter? Thanks.

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  58. Yes, as I mention in the recipe- use butter or coconut oil if you prefer. Keep an eye on it as you mix the dough, you may need slightly less.

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  59. Thank you Karina. These were my first GF cookies and we haven't been able to tolerate gluten for a few years. I used to love baking but between gluten, rice, dairy and eggs it seemed too daunting. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe.

    I was worried that these would be rough and crumbly but I must say that the taste, texture and appearance was better than what my mom used to make! I accidentally used an extra 1/3 cup of dark brown sugar in my version and a blend of coconut oil and canola oil instead of margarine and water rather than milk. These are definitely a keeper!

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  60. Almost 3 years ago, I found out I had Celiac Disease….after being terribly sick for 6 years. 1 ½ years ago my toddler daughter was terribly sick and couldn’t get better for almost a year. She was finally diagnosed Celiac as well. I came into this new lifestyle feeling deprived, missing out, and alienated. Your blog gave me the tools and encouragement to EMBRACE this lifestyle change and to cherish it as a sweet little gift to my daughter and I. Your recipes have saved my gluten free kitchen and have made my families tummies very happy! Thank you for pouring it all out!
    Gentle

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  61. Almost 3 years ago, I found out I had Celiac Disease….after being terribly sick for 6 years. 1 ½ years ago my toddler daughter was terribly sick and couldn’t get better for almost a year. She was finally diagnosed Celiac as well. I came into this new lifestyle feeling deprived, missing out, and alienated. Your blog gave me the tools and encouragement to EMBRACE this lifestyle change and to cherish it as a sweet little gift to my daughter and I. Your recipes have saved my gluten free kitchen and have made my families tummies very happy! Thank you for pouring it all out!
    Gentle

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  62. this looks great...but what if you cant have almonds?

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  63. do you know of anything that can be subbed in for the almost flour? This recipe looks so very awesome!

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  64. Oooo...those look amazing! I love your blog! We'll have to try these, I'll sub soroghum for the nut flour as we're nut-free around here. It's my first year baking with me and all three of my under-6 kids being gluten free! (I made your banana bread this morning with my 3 year old, sub sunflower seeds for the walnuts, delish by the way!)

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  65. Thanks Everyone! xox

    For those of you avoiding nut flours, I suggest trying your favorite medium weight gluten-free flour as a substitute for the hazelnut or almond flour. The hazelnut flour is slightly sweet and nutty. So you'll want to replace it with a good tasting flour- not a bean flour. Try brown rice flour, millet, certified GF oat flour or sorghum flour. xox

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  66. You have saved my holiday with this recipe! I recently found that I am not able to tolerate gluten or dairy (TOTALLY sucks at 21, but at least I feel sane now). Even though I've tried to get away with eating both, the reactions have gotten too strong for me to fudge anymore. I thought about crying since I've been craving gingerbread cookies so much lately, and now that I have your sensible recipe, I'm saved! Frosted? YES PLEASE. You will def get a loving post on my blog the second I have a chance to make these.

    ♥ Bethany

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  67. OOh lovely. I just love ginger!

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  68. these look absolutely delightful - can't wait to try them!

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  69. do you have a gluten free gingerbread cake recipe? I'm in love with the frosted one they have at caribou coffee during the holidays its so dense and moist... but alas...its not gluten free :(

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  70. Thanks, Everyone!

    I will be making a gingerbread cake soon.

    Karina

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  71. Karina,
    I am brand spankin' new to the GF world. This is my first GF bake as i adore gingersnaps, ...
    so quintessentially Christmas to me!
    Can i use butter rather than the shortening/margarine? i have no dairy issues, (at least i don't think so.. oh dear Lord, please no!)

    thanks...
    robin

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  72. Thank you, thank you, thank you! We turned our kitchen gluten free back in May because we needed to get serious about treating my husband's Celiac. Three months later, we found out that our two year old has it too :( So I'm still pretty new at this and I've been really anxious about holiday baking this year. I made one batch of GF cookies for my husband last year, and they were just ok. But I really want my son to be able to enjoy all the good homemade things I had as a kid and finding quality GF recipes for all my favorite holiday treats (and then executing them properly) just seemed like too daunting a task. Well, my mom and I made this recipe over the weekend and the result was quite simply ... perfection! We've used a Martha Stewart recipe in the past because it's extremely flavorful and has a nice crumb, but we've found the dough a bit difficult to work with. Your dough, however, is glorious! So easy to work with. So flavorful! And with a delicate,smooth crumb that melts in your mouth! My little boy was just giddy while eating this cookie! We are nut free, so I used amaranth flour, and we like our holiday gingerbread cookies chewy (though on other occasions I do enjoy a snap so I'll definitely try making it according to your original instructions at some point) so we made them a tiny bit thicker and baked them for about the same amount of time. We cut ours into men with the intent of adding a touch of icing, but I'll tell you, they really don't need it! Divine!

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  73. This is an excellent gingersnap cookie recipe. I used buckwheat flour instead of nut flour and it turned out perfect. Rolling it out on the Silpat was really easy, too.

    Also, thank you so much for all of your recipes! I love that you take the time to put detailed notes at the end, and that rice and bean flours don't show up! You've made this gluten free holiday season joyful. Keep up the great work!

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  74. Is it possible to substitute something other than coconut milk?

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  75. Instead of coconut milk, you can use any non-dairy milk, or milk.

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