I do not have a sweet tooth: if you ask me to choose between a piece of cake and a portion of fries, the portion of fries will always win. Except during Christmas holiday season: you’ll see me stuffing myself with chocolates and biscuits, something I usually never do. Is it the cold that drives me to seek comfort in sweets, the pretty packaging that make me want to devour their contents, or simply the fact of having allthat food around? I do not know, but what I’m sure of is that if their are gingerbreads, chances are I’ll eat them all in 2 minutes!
Yes, gingerbreads are by far my favorite biscuits. I love their crunchy texture, their caramel flavor and their spicy aroma. They are worse than peanuts for me: if I start eating them, I can not stop until I had them all!
For those who do not know the wonderful Belgian speculoos, they are Saint-Nicolas shaped biscuits, traditionally eaten during Advent time in Belgium, Netherlands, Western Germany and Northern France. Nowadays, they can be found throughout the year and with all kind of shapes. They contain a mixture of spices and a brown beet sugar typical from that region, called vergeoise, which gives them their characteristic caramel color and flavor.
Even though I am now healthy and no longer need to be careful abut what I eat, I have decided to adapt my speculoos recipe so that people who do not eat animal products or have gluten intolerance can enjoy it. Indeed, food restrictions, whether chosen or imposed for health reasons, should never stop people enjoying their food!
After a first test widely appreciated by family and friends, I share today with you the ultimate vegan and gluten-free gingerbread recipe. One thing to be pointed out: I do not claim I have recreated a recipe identical in taste and appearance to the authentic Belgian speculoos – which I have never had the chance to eat – but rather an improved version of those that can be found on the market.
Yield: ~ 50 biscuits
- 250 gr gluten-free flour (1)
- 175 gr vergeoise or brown sugar
- 175 gr vegan butter, melted
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 4 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp powdered ginger
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg, grated
- 1/4tsp cloves, ground
- 1 pinch salt
- In large bowl, combine the melted butter and sugar.
- Stir in flour, baking soda and spices gradually. Form a ball.
- Place the dough ball on plastic wrap. Roll it to give the dough a sausage shape. The diameter will be of the final size you want your biscuits to be. Wrap the dough completely with plastic wrap. If you want to get rectangular biscuits, pat the sausage-shaped dough on the table to flatten the edges and give the it an ingot shape.
- Refrigerate dough for at least 2 hours, ideally 12.
- Preheat oven to 180°C, or 160°C fan-assisted.
- Line two racks with parchment paper.
- Take dough out of the fridge. Cut into 3mm thick slices. Place biscuits on the racks, spacing them 3-5cm.
- Cook the biscuits in the middle of the oven for 11-13 minutes. They must swell, and will be ready ready when they begin to fall flat again.
- Remove the biscuits from the oven and allow to cool completely to harden – they will be soft and brittle when still hot.
- Gluten-free flour mix : I used 100 gr buckwheat, 100 gr brown rice and 50 gr amaranth.
- If you want to use molds or cookie cutters to make gingerbreads with patterns, reduce baking soda quantity or even do not put any. The biscuits not be as light and crispy, but the patterns will be preserved after baking.
- Gingerbreads can be decorated white chocolate colored with dried fruit powder.
- These biscuits will make wonderful Christmas gifts, just like homemade vegan white chocolate, recipe will be availabl very soon!
I hope you will like these biscuits as much as I do! I wish you a beautiful Advent time and a lot of fun making your homemade gingerbreads.