Monday, December 8, 2008

The Egg-Free Gingerbread Man (with dairy-free alternatives)

Gingerbread Man Ornament

"Run, run, as fast as you can.
You can't catch me,
I'm the gingerbread man!"

I was feeling a bit under the weather this weekend but I managed to pull myself out of bed for a couple of hours to help "the boys" decorate the Christmas tree. We had baked some gingerbread ornaments earlier in the week so all we had to do was hang them on the tree.

I'm always on the lookout for allergen-friendly recipes, so when I found an egg-free gingerbread cookie recipe in The Advanced Professional Pastry Chef, I couldn't wait to try it. I converted the recipe from ounces to cups and, as usual, tweaked a few ingredients.

Decorating the tree

When it was time to decorate the cookies, normally I would use royal icing. But since it has egg whites, I had to find another way to decorate them. I decided to use Wilton Food Writer Edible Color Markers and marshmallow fondant. I put the fondant eyes and mouth as soon as they came out of the oven so they would soften a little and stick to the cookies. If you want, you can also use confetti sprinkles or just simply use a toothpick to draw on the eyes, mouth and buttons.

Gingerbread Ornaments
If you're planning to make them into ornaments like I did, poke a hole in the cookie prior to baking. I used a medium-sized piping tip but you can also use a drinking straw or bamboo skewers - just make sure the hole is big enough to put ribbon or string through it.

Egg-Free Gingerbread House (with dairy-free alternative)

To make a gingerbread house, it's best to roll the dough directly onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Roll them to about 1/4 inch thickness. Use a paring knife to cut out the templates for your house then refrigerate the dough for at least 30 minutes so it will not spread too much while baking.


Another decorating option is to use mini chocolate chips for the eyes (for an allergy-free option, I used Enjoy Life), sliced dried apricots for the mouth and dried cranberries for the buttons.

Egg-Free Gingerbread Man Cookies
Adapted from The Advanced Professional Pastry Chef
Makes 4 dozen cookies, 3.5 inches x 3.5 inches in size
Allergy Note: contains dairy* and wheat (see notes for dairy-free alternatives)

2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
2 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
1-2 Tbsp. ground ginger
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup butter *
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup milk *
4 Tbsp. corn syrup or honey

* for dairy-free alternatives: you can use Spectrum shortening in place of the butter; for the milk, you can substitutes like rice milk or soy milk, whichever suits your dietary needs.

In a saucepan, cook the butter, sugar, milk and corn syrup at low heat until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat then pour into a mixing bowl and let it cool for a few minutes. Sift together the flour, cloves, cinnamon, ginger and baking soda. Add to the butter mixture and mix until combined. Flatten the dough onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until dough is cooled and slightly firm. Since the dough tends to get too soft at room temperature, take out only a portion at a time. Keep the rest of the dough in the refrigerator. Roll the dough to about 1/8 inch thickness. Cut out shapes and transfer them onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 375 degrees F for 10 minutes, or until golden brown.

Please check these Art of Dessert links for additional decorating tips and icing recipes.
Egg-Free Christmas Sugar Cookies
Egg-free Sugar Cookies with Egg-free Royal Icing
Egg-Free Gingerbread House (with dairy-free alternative)


Deeba PAB said...

I love the sound of glad I found your blog! It's beautiful!!

Finla said...

They look so beautiful. I might not aplt to resist to grabone from the tree if i am in your home.

Art of Dessert said...

LOL My son's way ahead of you Happy cook. He's been swiping them off the tree since Sunday. I caught him eating the fondant off of one gingerbread man while it was still hanging on the tree. It was hilarious. Should've taken a picture of it.

Anonymous said...

I don't have corn syrup so I'm going to experiment with Log Cabin pancake syrup. It smells ahhh like sweeeet morning breakfast. I'll let you know what happens. LOL! =)

Anonymous said...

Yippee the Log Cabin syrup sure worked. I'm so happy. Now, I'll try using it on the glace icing. Wish me luck.

Anonymous said...

Thanks - as the Mom of of a kid with food allergies, this was a fantastic recipe to find. I mixed it and put it in the fridge for the specified chill time and then couldn't get back to it for four days. We tried it anyway just to see if there was any hope of saving it. They baked beautifully. These were actually the most picture-perfect cookies I have ever made! Very resilient dough. I am going to try freezing it for those nights when I just want to make a few cookies for a treat.

Thanks again.

....Dara's Mom

Anonymous said...

The gingerbread cookies are my favorite. I love baking them and decorating them with icing, candies and cherries. Kids love them too. these make good edible Christmas decoration as well.

Anonymous said...

Great dough with lovely spices for my egg & nut allergic little boy... but after 2-3 hours of refrigeration the dough was rock hard, had split and was unusable. I make another batch of dough and cut the cookies straight away. I'm not sure if it is because my refrigerator is very cold or if the temperature in London UK is cold?

Art of Dessert said... could very well be a temperature issue. Rolling and cutting the dough right away was a smart move. At least you get to enjoy these cookies sooner :-)

Anonymous said...

Hi, shall try out tomorrow for the cookies . Just wonder how long they can last coz I wish to bake now and giveaway on the 29th. Will get soften then?
can I use yr recipe to make gingerbread house too?


Art of Dessert said...

Hi Angeline! These gingerbread cookies are best eaten within a week of baking them. You can store them in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer (undecorated) to prolong their freshness, but they will soften just a bit over time.
And this recipe works very well for a gingerbread house.

Anonymous said...

Excellent recipe! Thank you. My milk and egg allergic 2 year old was given a gingerbread cutter set for her birthday so very pleased to have found this recipe.

Thanks again.


Anonymous said...

Hi, this recipe looks great for my nut-egg-allergy daugther. Do you have any suggestions/recipes on the icing?



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