Gingerbread House and Cookies, Gluten Free

by Jenn on December 6, 2009

in Desserts,Gluten Free

This weekend I found out the astonishing fact that my husband had never made a gingerbread house before.  And I don’t just mean from scratch, I mean never ever not even with a store-bought kit.  So we decided we needed to be 6 years old again and rectify this by making a gingerbread house of our own this weekend.  Now the only problem was just finding a recipe that was gluten free.  Not really liking many of the recipes that I found online, I instead took a recipe and just used it as a guide for the proportions, using almond meal/flour and millet flour as the basis for my gingerbread house. We rolled out the dough and baked it the night before, and then spent the next day assembling and decorating the house.
_PAG2509gingerbread _PAG2507gingerbread

I love making gingerbread houses, they are so much fun, and an awesome way to bring a festive spirit into the home during the holidays!  I had rolled out the pieces of the house a bit thin so to help with the foundation we put on our civil engineering thinking caps and constructed a base out of aluminum covered covered and then “glued” the gingerbread walls on with royal icing.  But no matter, it was super fun.  My husband decided where all the candy went and I did all the icing.
As you can tell, my royal icing skills are non-existent, so our house does have a bit of that “kid-crafted” theme going on with it.

So what were the results of the gluten free gingerbread recipe?  Actually, quite delicious.  It tasted just like I expected gingerbread to – just a little ginger spice and a great buttery dark sweet taste –  and it even had the right texture too.  I thought that this would be a rather easy thing to make gluten free given that gingerbread cookies are already flat, hard, and dense, haha.  I loved the almond meal in it, and millet worked some great magic bringing it all together.  We had enough leftover that we also made some gingerbread house cookies, and decorated them to match our big house:


Just as we finished, the snow started coming down last night, giving us this gorgeous scene in of the “backyard” (I kinda live in a forest) to wake up to this morning:


Seriously, how can one not be in the holiday spirit after making gingerbread houses and seeing such gorgeous scenery?? I absolutely love how gorgeous everything looks when it’s covered in snow and the sun is shining down on it!

Well there was one damper to the festive atmosphere.  Unfortunately, we didn’t make sure to buy candy that specifically had a “gluten free” label on it and my husband reacted to one of the candies that he ate while we were decorating – our best guess (since the little house cookies with the gum drops and chocolate mints were fine) is that it was some cross contamination issue either from the licorice, the little raspberry drops, or the red hots.  Luckily it was a mild reaction and so he felt fine today, but that was a total bummer.  So if you have a gluten allergy and want to make a gingerbread house, I caution you to make sure ALL of the candy is 100% for sure gluten free!


Adapted from Great Gluten-Free Baking

Ingredients (enough for a gingerbread house and some cookies):
3 c. almond meal
6 tbs. cornstarch
3 pinches of baking soda
3 tsp.  ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
9 tbs. salted  butter
6 tbs. light brown sugar
6 tbs. molasses
around 1 1/2 – 2 c. millet flour, plus extra for rolling

1. Mix almond flour, cornstarch, baking soda, ginger and xanthan gum in a large bowl.  Make sure mixture is well mixed.
2. Add butter, brown sugar and molasses to a small pan, and heat on medium stirring occasionally just until all is melted and smooth.  Pour over the dry mixture and mix together.  I mixed with my hands.
3. Add in millet flour gradually, incorporating it into the dough until the dough is thick enough to roll out – for me this was upwards of 2 c.  Roll dough into a ball, cover with plastic wrap and let chill in the freezer for about half an hour.
4. Preheat oven to 375F.  Place plastic wrap on a smooth surface, coat with some millet flour, lay down about 1/2 of the dough, and cover with plastic wrap.  Roll out until about 1/4 ” thick (yes, these will be very thin cookies).  Trace your gingerbread house plans or press in your cookie cutters and very carefully (I used a floured spatula), transfer to a parchment paper lined baking sheet.  Bake for 8-10 minutes or until nicely browned.



Erin December 6, 2009 at 9:24 pm

What a cute house! That sounds like such a fun way to spend time together.

Lauren December 6, 2009 at 11:09 pm

I’m sorry he had a reaction – its never fun! These look delicious Jenn! Not to mention the backyard – it looks so calm and beautiful.

Iris December 7, 2009 at 11:03 am

Aww, that looks so cute! I haven’t made a gingerbread house in such a long time! I was wondering about the candy when I was looking at the pics…I always get so nervous about candy because I feel like there’s probably a lot of cross-contamination. Glad it was just a mild reaction though and that he’s feeling better!

Amy @ Simply Sugar & Gluten Free December 7, 2009 at 3:46 pm

This is so cute!!! Just too neat for words. I love it. So sorry about your husband, but am glad it wasn’t too severe. I love your backyard, too! So peaceful. I can do without the snow, but love thinking about how nice and quiet it must be where you are.

Shauna December 7, 2009 at 5:12 pm

I have actually never made a gingerbread house either! Hmm, sounds like something I will have to do one of these days.
I am so jealous of your weather and the beautiful scenery you woke up to! The 80 some degree weather here in south Florida does not exactly get you in the holiday spirit.

Alison December 10, 2009 at 4:00 pm

So cute! I just wanted to know that I linked to your gingerbread house recipe!
Gluten-free allergen-free gingerbread houses

Kirsten December 15, 2009 at 9:27 pm

Oh my god!!! It is soooo cute! You have totally inspired me!

Phil December 16, 2009 at 9:57 pm

Thanks so much i have been making cracker and icing (made of confectionary sugar and milk: it’s really soupy) and it’s always nasty and i feel so left out when my whole family is doing it without me! Thanks, i am glad to hear that it was good tasting. Sorry about your spouse; i am 99.999% sure that licorice is not gluten free. :(

Phil December 16, 2009 at 9:59 pm

here is another recipe: (be sure to scroll down; there is more than one) Your seems to be the best so far though because you actually said that it tasted good

gfe--gluten free easily December 20, 2009 at 4:58 pm

Oh, this looks great. What fun! It’s rare to find a licorice that is gluten free, so that could be it. I confess I’ve never made a gingerbread house myself.

BTW, Kelly and her girls over at The Spunky Coconut made a version from salt dough that was adorable.

Maybe next year, I’ll put gingerbread house on my “to do” list for Christmas. Maybe we can even hae gingerbread houses as part of our December support group meeting. 😉


Diane-The WHOLE Gang December 21, 2009 at 2:02 pm

I miss making these so much. Thanks for the recipe. Time for some fun here. I refuse to grow up but my family says I’m more like 13 than 6. Thank you for sharing this on Friday Foodie Fix.

nancy@skinnykitchen November 9, 2010 at 4:06 pm

These adorable little houses really make me feel like the holidays have arrived! Thanks for sharing…

Jenn November 9, 2010 at 4:12 pm

Aww thank you!

Michelle December 1, 2010 at 9:18 pm

Licorice is not gluten free. I’ve never seen any, anyway. Maybe that’s what caused the reaction. :)

On another note, I’m excited to try this recipe! My kids and I just read the Gingerbread Baby book and are all excited to build a house.

Jenn December 1, 2010 at 9:20 pm

Yeah, that’s kinda what we guessed – he hasn’t eaten any licorice since! I’m glad you like it, can’t wait to hear how your gingerbread house turns out!

Sahirah December 9, 2010 at 5:02 pm

Looks so cool! I think I’ll make some with my kids this weekend,though I’ll use another flour mix there’s three of us that have anaphalactic tree nut allergies in my house. BTW I’ve been gf for 2 years and licorice is made with wheat flour sorry about the reaction. Here’s a link to gf licorice

Jenn December 9, 2010 at 5:04 pm

Thanks!! I’ll be curious to see how your version turns out, I’ve never tried this recipe with other flours so I’m not quite sure how it will do – but then gluten free baking always tends to be a bit of an experiment when it comes to making substitutions, eh? 😉

Bethany December 12, 2010 at 6:29 am

this is a great recipe. i just made a double batch and came out with four houses and a lot of cookies! it tastes good too~ thanks for the fun day!

Bethany December 12, 2010 at 6:31 am

i forgot to say- i actually used a half/half mix of brown and white rice flour instead of the almond meal. it turns out a little dry, but just add like a 1/3 cup of water or so.

Jenn December 12, 2010 at 10:48 am

Yeah I think the almond meal helps a bit with the moisture – glad it still worked out ok for you though!

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