June 5th, 2010


recipe: Gluten-free vegan soft chai-spice cookies of DOOM

So I've been playing with & modifying recipes for a couple of reasons; one is to make them work for rose_lemberg's son, who's allergic to gluten, eggs and cinnamon, Among Other Things. Another is that cutting down on gluten might be a good thing for me to try, since many of my health issues might ease if I can reduce overall inflammation. 

This is my first attempt that's really worked, and OMG does it work! It turned out better than any of the wheat-flour cookies I've made; I think without the gluten it gets to be crispy outside and soft inside more easily. So, specially given that it's harder to find GF recipes than non- I figured it was worth posting.

Gluten-free vegan soft chai-spice cookies of DOOM

Modified from my favourite gingerbread-cookie recipe, which lives on Epicurious.


•  2 cups Bob's Red Mill gluten-free all purpose flour
• 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum
• 2 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
• 2 teaspoons baking soda
• 2-3 teaspoons ground cardamom
• 1 teaspoon ground cloves
• 1/2-1 teaspoon half-smashed cardamom seeds  (10-20 pods)
• 3/4 teaspoon salt

• 3/4 cup chopped crystallized ginger
• 2-3-inch length fresh ginger, finely grated.

• 2/3 cup vegan cane sugar (note: if you have a fine-grained sugar be generous here, as less will be added in the rolling later)
• 3/4 cup vegetable shortening, room temperature
• 1 tablespoon flax-meal egg substitute  (for non-vegans, this = 1 egg)
• 1/3 cup molasses (light may work better but dark worked wonderfully)

• vegan sugar
• powdered cardamom

Stage 1:

• Combine first 8 ingredients in medium bowl; mix well.
• Mix in crystallized ginger and grated ginger -- with a fork, making sure the fresh ginger does not clump.

• Using electric mixer, beat sugar and shortening in large bowl until fluffy (note: if you have a coarse-grained sugar it will not get very fluffy.  Do not worry.)
• Add flax-gloop and molasses and beat until blended.
• Add flour mixture and mix just until blended. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour.
Stage 2: 
• Preheat oven to 350°F.
• Lightly grease 2 baking sheets (or use parchment paper on baking sheets, or tin foil.)
• Spoon sugar in thick layer onto small plate. Add cardamom, and mix.
• Using wet hands, form dough into 3/4-1 inch balls; roll in cardamom-sugar to coat completely. Place balls on prepared sheets, spacing 2 inches apart.
• Flatten slightly with a fork or a finger.

• Bake cookies until cracked on top but still soft to touch, about 10 minutes.
• Cool on sheets 2-3 minutes.
• Carefully transfer to racks and cool.
1) I'm making these at 3800 feet, so altitude adjustments may be necessary (you might need less molasses at ground level, and you might need to cook them for less time).
2) I like my cookies spicy and not as sweet as I think is the norm.  Modify accordingly.
3) Can be made 5 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.
4) Dough keeps for a few months frozen; roll into logs, wrap in cling film, store in freezer.  This makes it easy to pull out, cut off a small chunk of dough, and have just a few fresh cookies at any time.  (This may be common wisdom but I only know it thanks to emilyjiang .)