For well over a decade Comox Valley born Kimberley of The Rocks & Dirt Bakery has been creating gluten free recipes with a focus on seasonal ingredients.
Her goal is to have you questioning, “Is this really gluten free?”
Like many others with celiac disease, Kimberley also lives with other chronic illnesses and food allergies. This has also impelled her to develop recipes that are also grain free (Paleo), dairy and refined sugar free and vegan. Her passion is teaching others that life without gluten can be a life incredibly well lived.
The tradition of making gingerbread people goes back to my childhood. Every time I make these now the scent memory takes me right back to those days rolling, cutting and decorating alongside my older sisters.
- ½ cup refined coconut oil or vegan butter or butter
- heaping 1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp coconut sugar
- ½ cup unsulphured / blackstrap molasses
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 eggs or vegan egg replacer (I use Bob’s Red Mill vegan egg replacer)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup sunflower seed/pumpkin seed meal or other nut meal/flour, such as almond flour*
- 1 ¼ cups cassava flour*
- 1 cup arrowroot starch*
- ¼ cup coconut flour*
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp guar gum (or xanthan gum)
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 1 heaping tbsp gingerbread spice blend*
*You can substitute a paleo flour blend for all the individual flours listed in the recipe (total of 3.5 cups of flour). Omit the guar gum if blend contains it and bear in mind that your dough may be looser or firmer depending on the flours you use.
- ½ cup coconut butter
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- dried currants
- white chocolate chips (I use Pascha brand gluten and dairy free white chocolate chips) or other gluten free chocolate or candies of your choice
*Gingerbread Spice Blend
- 3 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 3 tbsp ground ginger
- 1 tbsp ground allspice
- 3/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
Add (sift if needed) all of the spices to a small bowl and mix well. Store with your spices in a sealed glass jar/container for up to a year.
- Beat coconut oil and coconut sugar until light and creamy. Add maple syrup, molasses and vanilla and mix until smooth. Add eggs/egg replacer, one at a time and beat until smooth.
- Stir in sunflower seed meal or nut flour.
- Over a medium bowl sift the rest of the dry ingredients. (If you are using the Gingerbread Spice Blend, sift the spices through a fine mesh sieve and use 1 heaping tbsp in this recipe)
- Gradually add dry ingredients to the wet and beat until smooth.
- The dough will be quite loose and sticky. Gather dough, cover and place in fridge to firm up for a 3 to 4 hours or preferably overnight. It is important that the dough be very chilled in order to roll out without sticking.
- Preheat oven to 350 F or 325 F convection.
- Dust a parchment covered work surface or silicon baking mat with tapioca starch. Dust rolling pin with tapioca starch as well.
- Take a section of the dough (leave remainder of dough in fridge until needed) and form into a ball.
- Roll out dough to ⅛ inch thickness and cut with cookie cutter of your choice.
- Gently lift cut cookies with a metal spatula onto the baking sheet. If you are using dried currants to decorate, (no icing) press them gently into the dough before baking.
- Place on parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
- Repeat with remaining dough. Place on a cookie drying rack.
- Melt ingredients over very low heat, stirring occasionally, until smooth and melted.
- Place in a pastry bag (You can make a DIY pastry bag by spooning icing into a small plastic baggie and then nipping off the very tip of bag and squeezing icing through the bag end and decorating)
- Use the icing as a “glue” to adhere candies, chocolate chips or sprinkles.
Kimberley shares how health issues brought her back to the culinary world, inspiring her to create allergen-friendly, always 100% gluten free recipes & document her journey on her Rocks & Dirt Bakery Blog.
“I grew up on Vancouver Island and have fond memories, as a child and teenager, baking and cooking with two of the best home cooks I have ever known, my Mum and my Grandma.”
“Formal culinary training, my career as an early childhood educator, and living throughout Northern Europe and North America have greatly influenced my cuisine.”
“But what has influenced my cooking and baking the most is my lifelong struggle with digestive issues, food allergies and after being diagnosed with multiple chronic & autoimmune illnesses, including Celiac disease.”
“When I discovered that the food I so loved to cook, bake – and eat – was exasperating my health issues, I began to experiment with new ways of baking. This was the beginning of my 20 year journey with the goal of creating foods that I could enjoy eating again.”
“Though I was using non traditional, healthy and unrefined ingredients, I knew in order to be truly successful and satisfied, I wouldn’t be able to compromise on taste and texture. In the end my goal is to create food that I love to eat.”
“I love creating new recipes on a daily basis – I just can’t help myself! I now call Camano Island, Washington home along with my husband Barak (who is an amazing taste tester) and my Welsh terrier Duncan (who is also amazing but a wee bit mischievous.)”
- Editor’s Note: Kimberley frequently returns to the Island for holidays, eager to visit the many celiac-friendly restaurants we enjoy here! Follow her on Instagram!
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