Sunday 4 November 2012

Grain Free Gingerbread Men GF SCD

I've made dozens of these gingerbread men in the effort to create the taste and soft, slightly chewy texture of the original parkin pigs and gingerbread men I enjoyed as a child. Bonfire night (or Plot Night) on November 5th is a huge event in the UK. It celebrates the failed attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament on November 5th 1605 and the capture of Guy Fawkes who was found in the cellar guarding the barrels of gunpowder.

Remember, remember the fifth of November,
Gunpowder treason and plot.
We see no reason
Why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!

Gingerbread Men GF SCD
200 g almond flour
3 tblsps extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil
80ml or ⅓ cup honey or maple syrup (not SCD)
2 heaped tblsps ground ginger
½ heaped tblsp ground cinnamon
⅛ tsp ground cloves
2 rounded tblsps date paste (100g dates will make more than double the quantity needed)
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
¼ tsp ground sea salt
baking paper

If you can, please use scales and stick to my measurements but if you need to convert them or use a Fahrenheit oven setting, please see the tab at the top of the page marked measures. These are approximate though since it depends on the size of your cup.

This recipe works equally well with extra virgin olive oil or with coconut oil. The texture is slightly different.  My daughter prefers the evoo recipe, my husband and I prefer the coconut oil recipe, though I always think that coconut oil leaves a slight after taste.

It has been trial and error calculating the spices. I use measuring spoons in the recipe above. If you find it isn't enough for your taste, increase the ginger and cinnamon a little. If you find it a little too spicy decrease the ginger and cinnamon, try level measures. I used two different brands of ginger and one was stronger than the other! On all occasions, I didn't level off the spoon and I was quite generous with the ginger and cinnamon.

You will have to start this recipe a few hours before you want to bake the gingerbread because you need make the date paste. I make too much date paste for one recipe because my chopper won't work with just a few dates. The paste isn't wasted since you can always make some more gingerbread or use it in smoothies or cakes or other cookies. Tip about a dozen or 100 grams of dates into a bowl, add some warm, filtered water and leave for up to 3 hours until soft.

Tip the dates into the chopper, saving the water. Chop until blended adding a bit of the saved soaking water as necessary to make a smooth paste. I used about half a tablespoon, you may need more or less.

eat the oven to 170° C (fan/convection oven). Measure out the almond flour into a bowl then pour the honey into a pan and add the date paste, ginger cloves and cinnamon. Heat the honey, paste and spices until the mixture begins to bubble around the edges. Take the pan off the heat, add the oil and stir.

Add the bicarbonate of soda to the pan, the mixture will froth up.

Add the salt to the pan then add the almond flour little by little, beating the mixture as you go.

Scoop the mixture out of the pan and squeeze the mixture a little until it is smooth. If it's a bit sticky, don't worry because once it's cooled down it'll be fine. Wrap in parchment paper or foil and leave in a cool place for about an hour or more until cool. If you initially cool it in the fridge a little it will speed the process up but take it out before fully cool because the dough needs to be at room temperature before it cooks.

Lay on a large piece of grease proof or baking paper and roll the dough to about 
¼" or 6-8 mm thick. You can start the process by folding the paper in two and rolling the dough over the top of the paper.

The dough will roll out without the paper, and I finish it off by rolling it without the paper on top. Cut out your gingerbread men. Gather up the leftover bits and squeeze or knead together before rolling out again.

During my many practices, I made 5 large gingerbread men from the dough but today I made 8 slightly smaller ones. Place on a baking tray lined with parchment if you are using extra virgin olive oil. If you are using coconut oil, you could choose to grease the tray and bake directly on the tray or use the baking paper. If you like, you can decorate the gingerbread men with dried fruit to make a face. Just cut raisins or peel to size. Press the fruit well into the dough. These are the larger gingerbread men I made.

Bake in the oven for 10 to 20 minutes depending on the size and thickness of the gingerbread. The smaller ones I made took 13 minutes, the larger ones took 20 minutes. Lay a sheet of foil over the top after about 8 minutes if you think they are browning on the edges. Watch carefully, the gingerbread is ready when it feels firm on the top and doesn't leave an imprint when you touch it gently. Leave on the tray to cool for at least 20 minutes. If you have not used the baking parchment, loosen gently with a spatula after about 15 minutes.

fully lift and placing on a cooling rack.

Decorate as you wish. Of course this dough can be cut into any shape you like, Christmas shapes will be on our agenda this year!