I remember these cookies from my American childhood: treacly, spicy, and delicious. The closest I can describe them is like crispy gingerbread. You can roll the gluten-free dough out and use any cookie cutter shape you fancy; or, make balls which go lovely and crackly.
The dough should be made in advance and stored in the fridge until ready for baking.
Makes: 4 dozen + cookies, depending on size
- 430g gluten-free flour, plus extra for rolling/cutting as required
- 1 tsp gluten-free baking powder (only necessary if your GF flour mix is plain, not self-raising)
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp ground cardamom (about 5-6 whole green cardamom pods, seeds removed and heartily crushed)
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 25g lard or vegetable shortening, cubed and softened
- 55g unsalted butter, cubed and softened
- 60g soft dark brown sugar (dark muscavado or molasses sugar will make them even richer)
- 1 large egg (62-70g weighed in its shell)
- 95g golden syrup
- 120g dark treacle (molasses)
- 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1/2 unwaxed lemon, finely grated zest only
- Icing sugar, for dusting
- Mortar & pestle (if crushing cardamom seeds)
- One large and one medium mixing bowl, plus a teacup for baking soda
- Electric mixer (hand-held or stand), if not creaming fats/sugar by hand
- Two baking trays
- Baking/parchment paper
- Rolling pin (optional)
- Cookie cutters (optional)
- Cooling rack
- Put the flour, baking powder (if using), and spices into a medium bowl, and mix with a fork. Get a sieve ready.
- Whisk the lard, butter, and sugar in a large bowl on medium-low speed until creamy. Add the egg and whisk on medium speed until well combined. Manually stir in the golden syrup and treacle, mixing thoroughly.
- Add a couple of drops of warm water to the bicarb and stir until fully dissolved; add to the fats/sugar bowl with the lemon zest, and stir well.
- Sift the dry ingredients in, and stir manually until fully combined. Pull the dough into a ball (it will be very soft now), flatten it into a thick disc, and tightly wrap in clingfilm. Put into the fridge to firm up overnight.
- When ready to bake, preheat your oven to 165 C (150 C fan-assisted). Line both trays with baking paper.
- You can roll small balls of dough about 15 grams between your palms (it helps to flour your hands first). Or, roll out the dough onto a heavily floured surface to about 1/4″ thick, and use any cookie cutter you have. Place the cookies onto the lined baking trays 3x5, and put remaining dough back into the fridge.
- Bake for around 15 minutes, until browned and a light finger tap shows them to be firm. Remove the trays from the oven and leave the cookies for 5 minutes before removing them to a cooling rack. Let the trays cool for 5 more minutes before loading up again with remaining dough, and baking.
- Once all cookies are fully cooled, dust with icing sugar for serving.
Once again, my Twitter friend Elsbeth Meier-Sam has suggested an American classic that Brits should get to know better. I’ve altered her grandmother’s recipe to be GF, and for British measurements and ingredients.