To combine both the bombonieres and place cards at the wedding, I’ve decided to make gingerbread with people’s names on them. There are quite a few people with allergies, including myself, so they can’t have nuts, eggs, dairy, gluten, legumes or meat (not that you’d expect to find meat in gingerbread, but that’s one of the requirements). For the gingerbread itself, I found a great recipe here, except I’ve substituted the flour for a gluten-free version.
Here’s the recipe I ended up using, which is a very slightly modified version of the linked one:
Makes about 16 cookies (depending on the size of your cutters)
1/3 cup canola oil
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup plain soy milk
2 cups, plus 3 tablespoons gluten-free plain flour (if using regular plain flour, only 2 cups is needed)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon each ground nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
Whisk together the sugar and the oil for 3 minutes. I’m not entirely sure what it’s meant to look like, but this is what mine looked like after 3 minutes.
Then you mix in the molasses and the soy milk. The original author said it might not mix well, but mine seemed to mix OK. By the way, if you’re worried about finding molasses in Australia, you can actually get it at Coles or Woolworths, no need to go to a special health-food store. I think it was in the sugar aisle at Woolworths.
Sift together all the dry ingredients. As a side note, MrMan5.5 bought me this sifter for Christmas, and it’s one of my favourite things ever. If we were to lose all of our possessions in a fire or something like that, I would miss it a lot.
Mix the dry ingredients in with the wet ingredients. At this stage, my dough looked like this.
Cover with cling wrap and chuck it in the fridge for an hour or more. The author says it lasts up to 3 days in the fridge. Take this time to preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. After the dough has chilled, tear two equal sized sheets of baking paper, you’ll use this to roll your dough. I prefer this to the floured surface method, because you’re not adding extra flour to the dough, which means you can roll it out over and over again without worrying about changing your dough.
With a rolling pin, roll the dough out between the two sheets of baking paper. My sister bought me a cool rolling pin that has detachable sides which measure how thick your dough is. You want it to be 1/4 inch thick. If you don’t have a cool rolling pin like mine, you can use chopsticks like this (in case the image gets taken down, put one chopstick on both sides of your dough, and sit the rolling pin on top of them and start rolling your dough. The chopsticks will control how thick your dough gets).
Another cool trick I learned in this gingerbread exploration process is to freeze the dough for about 10 minutes after rolling it out. This makes it easier to cut and move the dough. Place the cut dough onto a baking tray that has baking paper on it, and cook in the oven for about 10 minutes. My oven doesn’t heat evenly, so I need to rotate the tray halfway through.
You can roll out the scraps into another sheet and make more cookies. Any leftover dough I tend to flatten into some circular-type shape (as you can see in the bottom left cookie).
After it’s done, wait for them to cool completely before icing.
If you choose to ice it, I’m still searching for a vegan royal icing recipe, but the one I tried today was:
1 cup of icing sugar (which just happens to be gluten free).
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 tsb Orgran no-egg egg replacement powder
Mix the sugar and egg replacement powder. Add the vanilla and slowly add warm water, stirring as you go. Once your icing starts making soft peaks, stop adding water, because you’re done (mine was a bit too watery in the end, I think, so don’t use mine as an example!).
Ice your cookies, and enjoy!
I wanted to see if I could fit some of the longer names onto the cookies. The icing I made wasn’t very hard, and loses it shape if you press it a bit. I’m hoping it might harden more with time, but I think it’s unlikely. Also, this is pretty much the only time cursive has been of any use to me, and those are the uglier cookies, I think. I might just go with printed names, rather than trying cursive, as I’m not very good at icing.