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Soft Gingerbread Vanilla Cookies (Gluten-Free!)

5.0 from 1 vote

These soft gingerbread vanilla cookies are my personal favorite! They are so delicious, and just the right chewy texture.

I make mine with a little less ginger and a little more vanilla than your traditional gingerbread cookie, which for me is perfect. Our kids love decorating them, too! And, in honor of National Cookie Day, I’m going to share my recipe with you.

Why You’ll Love this Recipe

For starters, these cookies are gluten-free, but you wouldn’t know it. They are soft and delicious, and I make them light on the ginger and with more vanilla than your normal gingerbread cookie. I also use coconut sugar which is lower glycemic than regular sugar, and lends to that gorgeous color.

up close image of a gingerbread cookie in a tree cutout decorated with melted chocolate, pomegranate arils, and chopped pistachios

I love to give these away as gifts, too! Just like my Spiced Fudge recipe, these are excellent for teachers, neighbors, family, and friends.

You also could skip the cookie cutters and make them as simply drop cookies, which I would have done, but my kiddos love the cookie cutter ritual 🙂 So we made them fun and decorated them, too. (Sidenote: they printed out their own “Kirby” cookie cutter using the 3D printer they got for Christmas a couple of years ago – scroll down to see!)

But you have the option to just make them round drop cookies, and I’ll tell you how, below. These also keep for a while in an airtight container, so you can make these ahead of time for your holiday party!

Ingredients

To make these cookies you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • Gluten-Free flour (I used a mix of almond and coconut flour, plus arrowroot powder and extra for dusting)
  • salted butter
  • coconut sugar
  • vanilla extract
  • egg
  • molasses
  • spices: cinnamon, ginger, pinch of salt, baking soda

For the icing, you’ll need:

  • powdered sugar
  • maple syrup
  • vanilla extract
  • water

Toppings: you can top with anything, really. I chose to pipe some melted chocolate chips and then added pomegranate seeds (you I know I love my pomegranate seeds) and chopped pistachios. But use what you have in your pantry!

Other topping ideas are sprinkles, chocolate chips, and m&m’s. Now, let’s get to it!

How to Make Gluten-Free Soft Gingerbread Vanilla Cookies

Before you begin, line two baking sheets with parchment paper. If you are going to make drop cookies, preheat your oven now to 350 degrees.

To make these cookies you’ll start by making the dough. In a stand mixer add the butter, coconut sugar, and vanilla extract, and beat until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes).

Next, add in the egg and molasses, and mix again for about a minute, or until well combined. Then, turn the mixer to low and slowly add in your flours and spices, and mix on medium until well-combined.

gingerbread cookie dough in a stand mixer

OPTION: IF YOU ARE MAKING DROP COOKIES, you can go ahead and make round balls each about the size of a golf ball with the dough and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes, then allow to cool and settle for 10 minutes.

IF YOU ARE MAKING COOKIE CUTTER SHAPED COOKIES, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured piece of parchment paper. Split the dough into two equal halves, then use your hands to shape each halve into a flat disc. Wrap in parchment and store in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours or overnight, OR, do as I did, and pop them in the freezer for 20 minutes. Preheat your oven to 350. Once the dough has firmed in the freezer or fridge, roll it out between two sheets of parchment paper until it is about 1/4 inch thick. It does NOT have to be perfect!

photo of rolled out gingerbread dough

Add a bit of flour to the top of your rolled out dough. Begin using your cookie cutters to make your desired cookie shapes, then use a spatula to transfer your cookies to two parchment lined baking sheets. (have a lot of flour nearby so you can lift your cookies with the spatula without the dough sticking or coming apart). Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes, or until the cookies have set.

up close image of gingerbread cookie on a spatula

We had some fun with our 3D printer, too: my son is obsessed with Kirby and printed out a Kirby cookie cutter – check out the results!

Kirby gingerbread cookie using 3D printed cookie cutter

While the cookies are cooking, make your icing. In a large bowl, add the powdered sugar, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and water, and whisk until you have a smooth and slightly runny consistency. (Add water by the tablespoon if needed to reach desired consistency).

icing for gingerbread cookies in a bowl with a whisk

Once the cookies have cooled, use a spoon to ice the cookies. Allow the icing to set while you prepare your toppings. If using melted chocolate for tree garland, eyes, etc., melt that now and place in a plastic bag with the corner cut off, or a piping bag, if you have one. Pipe your chocolate, and decorate as desired.

decorated Christmas tree gingerbread cookie with pistachios and pomegranates on string light chocolate

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use any gluten-free flour?

I personally like the mix of almond, coconut, and arrowroot powder because I find it makes the cookies chewy and soft. But any 1:1 ratio gluten-free flour will do. Just know the consistency may slightly change.

Can I use store-bought frosting?

You can use any frosting you like, really, just make sure it’s soft and easy to spread. This one I use here is more like a glaze, and I like the way it spreads easily. Again, these cookies are soft, so the least amount of pressing and handling you do, the better your results will be.

Can I use this dough to make gingerbread houses?

I don’t recommend this dough for gingerbread houses because it is so soft and likely wouldn’t hold up. You could try baking it for longer and see if that helps, but I’d keep this recipe just for cookies.

How can I store these cookies?

These cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for about 2-3 weeks, but for best quality, try to enjoy the within 1-2 weeks. You can also freeze them for up to 4 months. I store these in the refrigerator simply because I added pomegranate seeds, which are a fruit, but the refrigerator can cause faster moisture loss, so I know they will likely harden after a few days.

Lastly…

If you’re looking for other holiday desserts that make great gifts, try my Spiced Holiday Fudge, or if you’re looking for a yummy gluten free cake, give my Spice Cake a try. And, if you made these Vanilla Gingerbread cookies, please rate this recipe and let me know how you liked them in the comments!

assorted gingerbread cookies on a tray with cinnamon sticks and string lights

Soft Gingerbread Vanilla Cookies (Gluten-Free!)

5.0 from 1 vote
Recipe by Alessandra Macaluso Course: Dessert
Servings

18-22

cookies
Prep time

15

minutes
Cooking time

10

minutes
Cook Mode

Keep the screen of your device on

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup salted butter

  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar

  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

  • 1 egg

  • 1/3 cup blackstrap molasses

  • 2 cups almond flour

  • 1/4 cup coconut flour

  • 1/4 cup arrowroot powder (+ more for dusting)

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • pinch salt

  • For the Icing
  • 2 cups powdered sugar

  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup

  • pinch cinnamon

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 1/4 cup water (+ more if needed)

Directions

  • Before you begin, line two baking sheets with parchment paper. If you are going to make drop cookies, preheat your oven now to 350 degrees. Add the butter, sugar, and vanilla extract to a stand mixer and beat until soft and flurry (about 3 minutes). Next, add in the egg and molasses, and mix again for about a minute, or until well combined. Then, turn the mixer to low and slowly add in your flours and spices, and mix on medium until well-combined.
  • OPTION: IF YOU ARE MAKING DROP COOKIES, you can go ahead and make round balls each about the size of a golf ball with the dough and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes, then allow to cool and settle for 10 minutes.
    IF YOU ARE MAKING COOKIE CUTTER SHAPED COOKIES, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured piece of parchment paper. Split the dough into two equal halves, then use your hands to shape each halve into a flat disc. Wrap in parchment and store in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours or overnight, OR, do as I did, and pop them in the freezer for 20 minutes. Preheat your oven to 350. Once the dough has firmed in the freezer or fridge, roll it out between two sheets of parchment paper until it is about 1/4 inch thick.
  • Add a bit of flour to the top of your rolled out dough. Begin using your cookie cutters to make your desired cookie shapes, then use a spatula to transfer your cookies to two parchment lined baking sheets. (have a lot of flour nearby so you can lift your cookies with the spatula without the dough sticking or coming apart). Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes, or until the cookies have set. While the cookies are baking, make your icing (see below).
  • Once the cookies have cooled, use a spoon to ice the cookies. Allow the icing to set while you prepare your toppings. If using melted chocolate for tree garland, eyes, etc., melt that now and place in a plastic bag with the corner cut off, or a piping bag, if you have one. Pipe your chocolate, and decorate as desired.
  • For the icing
  • In a large bowl, add the powdered sugar, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and water, and whisk until you have a smooth and slightly runny consistency. (Add water by the tablespoon if needed to reach desired consistency). Ice cookies immediately using a spoon to spread the icing around each cookie. Allow the icing to set for about 10 minutes before adding toppings.

Notes

  • The recipe will take longer depending on if you use cookie cutters and decorate, but the cook time is only 8-10 minutes.

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Alessandra Macaluso is the author of What a Good Eater! , Lucy the Bee and the Healing Honey, and The Real-Deal Bridal Bible. She’s also a Qigong and Tai Chi instructor, and overall wellness advocate. Her work has been featured in several anthologies which can all be found on her Amazon author page, and she has contributed to The Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, TODAY Parents, and many other online publications.

Alessandra is a northerner-turned-southerner, enjoying the south with her children, Penelope and Ciro, and her husband, Greg.

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