Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Twenty Five Treats for the Holidays - Day 20

Gluten free cookies - AT LAST!!!!

I have not had a rolled-type cookie for about 2 years.  Seriously.  I have tried making them with one gluten free flour after another - all promises, no successes.  Until today!

SPH Gluten Free Rollout Sugar Cookie Dough
1 9.35-oz. pkg. Breads by Anna (brand) Piecrust Mix
1 c. GF all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling (I use Gluten Free Pantry brand)
1 t. baking powder
3/4 c. butter-flavored Crisco shortening (you can use butter or other spread, but your results may be different)
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla

In a bowl, combine dry ingredients.  In mixer, cream shortening, sugar, eggs and vanilla.  Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture, and mix until well combined.

Place dough on floured wax paper.  Shape with your hands into a rectangle.  Roll away from you (and only in 1 direction) til dough is about 1/4" thick.  Cut with shaped cutters as desired (I recommend shapes that are a bit less fussy, like a Christmas tree - I only used my snowflake because that's what was handy).  Place shapes on parchment lined cookie sheets and bake at 350 degrees for at least 10 minutes, based on size of your cookies.  I made snowflakes and they took about 15 minutes.  Feel free to sprinkle with sugars and other doodads before putting them in the oven.  Add time as necessary, but remove before they start to brown too much around the edges.

This is based on my mom's sugar cookie dough recipe that our family has used for many, many years. Princess has used this recipe for baking cookies for the county fair, and brought home some nice ribbons. I have tried and tried and tried it with every type of gluten free flour, and nothing would work.  Then, it occurred to me - I needed a flour mix that was designed to be rolled.  I'm not that into chemistry to try to figure this out or fix it, so I took some help from the store.  And just a side note here, I received a email recipe for sugar cookies from Living Without, a magazine for those of us with food allergies (gluten in particular), and guess what - they use shortening and a sugar cookie mix as their base, plus a whole lot of other stuff that made simple sugar cookies seem really complicated.

Like I've said before, if you read enough recipes, you start to see similarities.  The base ingredients in sugar cookie dough are the same as pie crust.  The cookies are basically pie crust with sugar, vanilla, eggs, and baking powder.  Gluten free pie crust mix would have a good blend of flours, xanthan gum, and whatever else they would need to use to make a flour mixture that would roll out.  I had my base!

So today, we put it to the test.  The results?  Pretty close to "real" sugar cookies.  Good flavor and texture - no sandiness. They roll really well, just like "regular" cookie dough.  Princess thinks they really should be frosted - I thought they were fine plain, and can't wait to sink my teeth into the few that I sprinkled with just plain sugar.  I'll decorate the rest, more for show than taste, but I'll bet those'll be pretty darn tasty, too.

Now the next step will be to take these beauties to the next level - think all those wonderful ideas from Day 1!  We'll see how they handle Jell-o (which is gluten free, by the way), and spices, and cocoa.  Are you drooling?

If you have friends, family, co-workers, etc. who are gluten free, give this recipe a go, then give some cookie treats to them!

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