Monday, December 22, 2008

Cookie Press Sugar Cookies

Merry Christmas!!! It's almost here! I think this will be my last Christmas cookie post. I wanted to get creative and show all of the many things you can do with these cookies, but I have had bronchitis for a week and a half now and it has definitely had a negative affect on my energy level. So, for now, I am posting the pictures of the ones I got done and I will simply mention some other ideas. I have pictured here some Christmas trees with green sugar sprinkles and some wreaths with a simple powdered sugar/water/ food color icing. Peppermint extract in place of the vanilla with crushed candy canes on top would also be very festive. Another of my favorites (if you can have almonds) is to use almond extract instead of vanilla, and to make a flower shape with petals laid on top made of almond slices. I have never tried these with lemon juice and zest, but I think that would be really yummy too. If I ever get around to trying it I will let you know. I also have an oat flour version of this cookie that I plan to post someday. OK, I'm going to go rest now...Happy Happy Holidays!!!

2 c Rice flour
½ t Xanthan gum
½ c Granulated sugar
1 t Baking soda
¼ t Unbuffered vitamin C crystals (can be substituted with 1 t cream of tartar)
½ c Spectrum palm shortening
½ c Water
1 t Vanilla (or any desired flavor) extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Melt shortening and allow to cool until slightly warm.

Whisk together flour, xanthan gum, sugar, baking soda, and vitamin C crystals. In another bowl mix shortening, water, and flavoring. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. (If dough is too wet add more flour, 1 T at a time up to 4 T)

Put the dough into your cookie press and press onto ungreased cookie sheet. If you are going to be sprinkling with colored sugar crystals then do so now. Bake until bottoms of cookies start to turn golden. For most shapes this will be about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove cookies to cooling rack immediately. Once cooled you can dip them in icing or decorate any way you desire.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Crunchy Oatmeal Cookies

Oh this has been a wonderful week (other than my having bronchitis)! My mommy came all the way from California to spend a week with us and since I wasn't feeling like getting out too much we spent the whole week baking. We also got our first snowfall of the year which is very exciting, but now it doesn't seem to want to stop! Anyway...about the cookies. When I was young everyone would rave about my mothers crunchy oatmeal cookies (this was before she knew she had celiac). I never cared much for them because, as I have said before, I am a soft cookie kind of girl. Since my mom is visiting, however, I thought I would make this gluten free and "allergen free" version just for her. As It turned out, she loved them, Emily loved them, and even I loved them...maybe my taste has matured. These cookies have a lovely crunch but are not "hard" in a way that you sometimes get with gluten free baking. To anyone who can't have almonds I am sorry. Of course you could try replacing the almond flour with another flour or ground seeds and replacing the chopped almonds with chopped seeds or even omitting them. I haven't tried any of that but if you are feeling adventurous I would love to hear about your results! One last note... My friend Tracy recently commented that she can taste the tapioca starch in her baking and doesn't care for it, so I was also sort of dedicating this recipe to her because I used arrowroot starch instead of tapioca starch...I didn't think to ask her first if she could have almonds (sigh). Anyway, even though this recipe is not going to be one that Tracy can use, I did find that the arrowroot starch worked just as well as tapioca starch and should be pretty interchangeable in any recipe. Cornstarch is another option, although corn is a pretty common allergen.

½ c Gluten free oat flour (I made my own in my coffee grinder)
½ c Arrowroot starch (tapioca starch or corn starch can be used instead)
¼ c Rice flour
¼ c Almond flour
¼ t Xanthan gum
1 t Baking soda
1 t Cinnamon
1 c Spectrum shortening
1 c Granulated white sugar
½ c Brown sugar
1 Prepared egg replacer
1 t Vanilla
¾ c Chopped raw almonds
1 ½ c Gluten free rolled oats
Shortening and Granulated sugar for dipping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk together all flours and starches, xanthan gum, baking soda, and cinnamon. Set aside.
Cream together shortening and sugars. Stir in egg replacer and vanilla. Mix in the sifted flour mixture, crushed almonds, and rolled oats until fully incorporated.

Roll the dough into walnut sized balls and lay 2'' apart on ungreased baking sheet. Now, take a wide bottomed glass or a tin can and grease the bottom of it and dip it in the sugar. Use the sugared end to press evenly on each cookie until flattened to about 1/8''. Keep dipping the glass in sugar as necessary, it shouldn't need to be re-greased very often. Bake for approximately 12 to 14 minutes.
Merry Christmas and Happy Happy Baking!!! :)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Snicker Doodles

after 4 trials these are the snicker doodles I have decided to post. They come out of the oven gooey and raw in the middle, but if you can leave them alone for a couple of hours they will be perfect. I came up with one that didn't come out of the oven raw, but it had no flavor and by the next day it was very dry. These actually taste like snicker doodles which is amazing to me because I always thought snicker doodles tasted like egg. They are gluten free, egg free, dairy free, and nut free. If you need for them to be soy free just replace the margarine with shortening. So here's the way this recipe works: Cook for 10 minutes, remove from oven and allow to cool on the pan for at least 5 minutes, move to a cooling rack until completely cool, put them in a sealed container for at least one hour, and now finally you can eat them. OK, don't get me wrong, you can eat them at any point. Fresh out of the oven they will be gooey, after cooling on the rack they will be soft on the inside and crispy on the outside, and after they have been sealed up for an hour they will be soft (but not gooey) all the way through.

¾ c Sorghum flour
¾ c Tapioca starch (tapioca flour is the same thing)
¾ c Potato starch
¾ c Rice flour
1 t Xanthan gum
1 t Baking soda
2 t Cream of tartar
½ t Salt
¼ c Softened dairy free margarine
½ c Spectrum palm shortening
1 ½ c Granulated sugar
¼ c Applesauce
2 Eggs worth of prepared Ener-G Egg Replacer
½ t Vanilla extract
¼ c Granulated sugar
1 T Cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Sift or whisk together all of the flours, starches, xanthan gum, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, cream together margarine, shortening, and 1 ½ cups of sugar. Add applesauce, egg replacer, and vanilla, and mix until creamy. Stir in the dry ingredients until well combined.

In another bowl mix together ¼ cup of sugar and 1 tablespoon of cinnamon. Roll dough into 1 ¼ inch balls. Roll each ball in cinnamon sugar until fully coated and place on the parchment paper lined baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake for 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely before eating. If you try to eat these warm they will be doughy and seem raw in the middle.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Candy Cane Sugar Cookies

Here is our second Cristmas cookie...YAY! These may not be the easiest cookies to make, but they sure are fun! (Just for the record they weren't easy to photograph either!) Emily and I made them together and we had a great time. She even came up with the very clever idea of making straight candy cane sticks instead of canes so she wouldn't have to deal with the frustration of the cookie dough breaking when we tried to bend it. As for me, when mine broke I just smooshed them back together. Our candy cane cookies are gluten free, egg free, dairy free, soy free, and nut free. The original recipe called for the sprinkling of crushed candy canes, but we decided to leave it off this time around because if you were to make a plate with a variety of cookies including these and wrap it all up together they would all taste like mint in the end. We also thought crushed cherry candy canes would be nice...but I didn't have any. These are similar to my sugar cookie recipe but definitely crunchier. They have a lovely buttery flavor, but without the butter...woohoo!

1 c Spectrum Palm shortening
1 c Granulated sugar
2 Eggs worth of egg replacer
1 t Vanilla extract
1 1/2 c White rice flour
1/2 c Sweet rice flour
1/2 c Potato starch
1/2 c Tapioca starch
2 t Xanthan gum
1 t Salt
2 t Baking powder
½ t Red food color-If you can’t have red dye, dark red berry juice such as pomegranate, raspberry, or cherry works well.
½ c Crushed peppermint candy (optional)
½ c Granulated sugar (optional)

Cream together shortening and 1 cup of sugar. Add egg replacer and vanilla and mix well. In another bowl sift or whisk together all of the dry ingredients. Slowly add dry ingredients to the creamed mixture and blend thoroughly (about 1 minute on low speed). Separate dough into 2 halves. Add enough food coloring to one half of the dough (it may take more or less than ½ t depending on what kind you use) to get a nice red color, and mix until color is uniform. Refrigerate for at least one hour.

Take dough out of refrigerator and warm at room temperature for about 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 350. Take about 1 tablespoon of dough from one color and roll it into a strip about the size of a pencil (maybe a little thicker). Do the same with the other color. Place strips side by side, press lightly together, then twist like a rope. If dough sticks sprinkle it with a little powdered sugar, if it cracks or breaks just press it back together. Transfer to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, then bend the tops to look like candy canes (or leave straight like Emily).

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, take them out before they start to brown or they will be VERY crunchy. While baking, mix crushed candy canes and the ½ c of sugar if you are going to be using them. Sprinkle this mixture over the cookies as soon as you remove them from the oven. Allow cookies to cool on the pan for 5 minutes before moving to a cooling rack. MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Spice Cookies

Here we go, I'm so excited! This is the first cookie I think of when I look back at my childhood holidays. It is my favorite. Three of my mother's best recipes came from Peg Bracken's "The Compleat I hate to Cook Book". The title always makes me laugh because my mother and I both love to cook, but it's a great book because she keeps everything simple. Of course, altering the recipe for food allergies is a little less simple. My mom did everything by hand. She stirred the dough with a wooden spoon and she rolled it into balls by hand. I used my KitchenAid mixer and my spring action ice cream scoop. Our version of this cookie is free of gluten, eggs, dairy, and nuts. It is a very tender cookie, not so good for shipping to a friend, but moist and soft, and it not only keeps well but improves with age...well, you know, I'm talking days not months. It freezes well too.

½ c Softened dairy free margarine
¼ c Applesauce
1 c Dark brown sugar
¼ c Molasses
1 Eggs worth of prepared Ener-G egg replacer
¾ c Sorghum flour
½ c Tapioca starch
½ c Potato starch
½ c Rice flour
1 t Xanthan gum
2 t Baking soda
¼ t Salt
1 t Ground cinnamon
¾ t Ground Cloves
¾ t Ground ginger

Cream together margarine, applesauce, sugar, molasses, and egg replacer. In a separate bowl sift or whisk together all of the remaining ingredients. Pour the dry ingredients into the creamed mixture and stir until well blended, scraping down the sides as needed. Stir for an additional 30 seconds (or about a minute if you are stirring by hand). Refrigerate for at least one hour.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Roll dough by hand into walnut sized balls or use the 1 ½” spring action ice cream scoop and place on cookie sheet allowing enough room for spreading.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, tops should no longer look wet. Cool on the pan for at least 5 minutes. The cookies will be very soft at first, maybe even raw looking in the middle. By the next day the moisture will have redistributed and they should be moist but not gooey all the way through.

Monday, December 1, 2008

It's Cookie Month

One of my favorite childhood memories is making and delivering Christmas cookies with my mom. Every year she would start baking cookies about 2 weeks before Christmas, then she would wrap them all up and on Christmas Eve we would drive all over town delivering them to our friends, looking at all of the beautifully decorated houses along the way. She put so much work into those cookies! Every night when I went to bed she would still be up baking. There were snow balls, and spice cookies, and oatmeal cookies, and Enlgish toffee bars...I know there were more but I can't remember them all now. In honor of my mother and to indulge my memories of this time of year I have decided to dedicate the month of December to cookies. I am going to try to recreate some of my old favorites and add a few new ones too. I am also welcoming requests. If you have a favorite holiday cookie that you are not able to have anymore let me know and I'll see what I can do. MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!!!

*I want to make a note here that my recipes are all gluten free, but most are using the same total amount of flour as the original recipe called for in wheat flour. I'm not making any guarantees because other ingredients have been changed too, but if you can have wheat you may want to try taking out all the flours, starches, and xanthan gum in my recipes and replacing them with an equal amount of "regular" flour. Best wishes and happy baking!