One of my favorite things to do growing up was build a gingerbread house. Since I was diagnosed with celiac disease, the gluten in the store-bought kits made them impossible for me to touch and build, and so I had to find a new alternative.
I made this recipe almost entirely on accident. My husband is an amateur food artist and he said that we should just, “Give it a go.” We had a lot of extra walnuts lying around so I threw them in the food processor, along with some coconut flour since it’s a lot more absorbent and dense than other kinds of flours, and from there, it was just adding enough butter and egg to come together. The result was a very thick shortbread cookie that keeps its shape.
Here are some of the pictures from our first attempt at this recipe! Adding xanthan gum is optional, but we find that it really helps the pieces hold together well. We had to remake several of the walls/roof panels because they crumbled on the first go, which is why we now recommend making sure that you put them in the refrigerator post-bake and give it at least a day before working with them.
The other pieces that we made like the snowmen, trees, and people are all made from this dough as well. Take a look!
I’m really impressed with how well it came out and we hope you like it too! Here’s the recipe that we created, and we plan to do this again for a Christmas in July scene!
-2 cups walnuts (8 oz)
-1 cup coconut flour (4 oz)
-1 tsp xanthan gum
-1 cup sugar/sugar substitute
-1 tsp cinnamon
-1/4 tsp nutmeg
-1 cup butter, melted (8 oz)
-1 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat your oven to 300 degrees and start melting your butter if it’s not already melted.
- In your food processor, throw in your walnuts and start churning them down. You want them to be a fine meal, but make sure not to overmix it and turn it into walnut butter!
- Add your coconut flour, xanthan gum, sugar, and spices. Pulse to mix.
- Pour in the cooled melted butter, eggs, and vanilla extract. Continue to pulse until it becomes a dough.
- The dough should be soft, but still solid enough to work with. If it’s too soft and won’t hold its shape, add more coconut flour, a tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together.
- Distribute into silicon molds, if using, and then bake for 30 minutes. These do not spread and keep their shape, which make them ideal for baking shapes like gingerbread houses or gingerbread men!
- Allow to cool for 30 minutes and then transfer to a refrigerator. I keep them in their overnight to harden so they’re easier to work with the next day!
For the frosting, I mix 2 sticks of butter with 2 8 oz packages of softened cream cheese to make a soft icing. Feel free to start with 1/4 cup of powdered sugar and then keep adding more as needed until desired sweetness/texture. I add 1 cup of powdered sugar to make a really solid “glue” to connect the parts of the house together, and less for the icing, trim, and decorations, to have a more workable frosting that’s easier to pipe. Feel free to use food coloring as desired to make some fun, festive colors! We avoid food dye, so we decorated with using annatto flavoring for red coloring and dried, minced kale leaves for the green wreath decorations!
Have fun everyone! If you do follow this recipe, we’d love to see pictures of how they turned out!