Ginger-Molasses Cookies, Gluten-Free (Guest Post by Carol Fenster)

Below is a guest post from Carol Fenster.  This is one of those, “pinch me because I think I’m dreaming” moments for me.  I cannot tell you how excited this makes me.  I never, in a million years, thought I would be able to count Carol as one of my colleagues.  The whole time I’ve been gluten-free, she’s been one of my idols.  Her book,  Special Diet Solutions, was one of the first books I discovered that made gluten-free cooking and baking possible for me.  This book, and her other cookbooks (she has many, including 1000 Gluten-Free Recipes), gave me the inspiration and the hope that gluten-free baking is not only do-able, it can be delicious!  I used her book frequently in the beginning of my journey towards learning how to bake well gluten-free, and it is still on my “most used” kitchen cookbook shelf.  She is truly one of the trailblazers of the modern gluten-free baking and cooking movement.

Carol just came out with a new cookbook, 125 Gluten-Free Vegetarian Recipes.  And, like all of her previous books, it is fabulous! And I am thrilled that Carol was kind enough to share one of her cookie recipes with me (and with you!). Thank you, Carol!

(Reprinted with permission from 125 Gluten-Free Vegetarian Recipes by Carol Fenster (Avery, 2011))

What do the holidays smell like? For me, it is the spices―like cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg. One whiff and I’m in the holiday mood.

Experts say that we encounter new smells as children, so it makes sense that the experiences we associate with different aromas conjure up childhood experiences. The moment I smell the heavenly aroma of these spices wafting from the kitchen I am transported to happy times and ready to break out the tree decorations, address the holiday cards, and wrap presents.

When I wrote my latest cookbook, 125 Gluten-Free Vegetarian Recipes, I created vegan baking recipes to make them accessible to as many of your guests as possible, including people with sensitivities to gluten, dairy, egg, corn, and soy. They taste so delicious you can serve them to any holiday guest with pride. Even if you’re an inexperienced baker, these cookies are super-easy and always a success.

These sturdy little gems freeze well so if you have any leftovers (fat chance!!) they can be thawed at room temperature. And, they are sturdy so they travel well and will survive the trip to Grandma’s house. Plus, the sorghum flour and bean flour boost the health profile of this cookie with protein and fiber so you can indulge with a little less guilt.  But best of all, their heavenly aroma and marvelous flavor will delight you and your guests! So get in the kitchen and start baking!

Ginger-Molasses Cookies, Gluten-Free

(Reprinted with permission from 125 Gluten-Free Vegetarian Recipes by Carol Fenster (Avery, 2011))
Moist and very flavorful, these cookies are perfect for snacks, cookie exchanges, or dessert for your family. Or, process them into crumbs in a food processor for a pie crust (about 1 ½ cups for a 9-inch piecrust) that is perfect for a pumpkin cheesecake. Adding the optional black pepper turns them into Pfeffernüsse, a traditional German treat served during the holidays.

½ cup butter or buttery spread, such as soy-free Earth Balance
¼ cup molasses (not blackstrap)
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
1 cup sorghum flour
½ cup garbanzo (chickpea) flour
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon xanthan gum
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (optional)
2 tablespoons evaporated cane juice or sanding sugar (or regular sugar), for rolling

[1] Place a rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a 9×13-inch metal baking sheet (not nonstick because they are more likely to burn) with parchment paper.

[2] In a medium mixing bowl, beat the butter, molasses, brown sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer on low speed until well blended. Add the sorghum flour, garbanzo flour, ginger, cinnamon, xanthan gum, nutmeg, cloves, baking soda, salt, and black pepper (if using) and beat until well blended.

[3] With a #50 (1¼ tablespoon-size) metal ice cream scoop, shape 18 balls, roll each into a smooth ball with your hands, and then roll in the evaporated cane juice for a pretty crinkly appearance. Place 9 of the balls at least two inches apart on the sheet.

[4] Bake until the cookies look firm and began to show little cracks on top, about 8 to 10 minutes. Do not overbake. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then transfer to the wire rack to cool completely. Bake the remaining 9 cookies in the same way. Makes 18 cookies.


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  1. says

    Cookies was one of those “must-haves” for me when I was strictly gluten-free. I loved experimenting with garbanzo bean flour, sorghum flour and because so many of my family and friends have wheat and dairy allergies, I’m still playing with those flours in my kitchen. I have my own standard gluten-free flour mix, but it’s still fun to break out from the routine and sub another flour. Fun.

  2. Terry Walmsley says

    I have chick pea flour but not heard of sorghum flour. Any alternative? I use regular Gluten Free, wheat free, ready mixed flours and cakes are often dry and hard texture. Can you help please?

    • admin says

      Terry: sorghum flour is another gf flour. You can order it from Bob’s Red Mill or from Authentic Foods. If you want, you can substitute the same amount of my flour mix (1 1/2 cups) for the chickpea and sorghum flour and eliminate the extra xanthan gum (because there is already xanthan gum in my mix). You can find the recipe for my mix under the GF Recipes tab. And yes, many read-mixed mixes are not that great. That’s why I developed my own recipe. :)

  3. laurie roth says

    think you could make these with Teff or Brown rice flour? Don’t want to go buy chickpea flour, but want ginger cookies!


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