So GoodDec/Jan 2013 Issue

5 Gluten-Free Cookies, 1 Dough

Some people love holiday preparations and happily check off their to-do list. Not me. I find that racing around to get everything done squeezes the joy right out of the season. Add a special diet or two and the pressure is even greater.

For me, one task that brings calm and saves me time during this hectic period is baking cookies. Here’s the secret: First, I serve the same cookies to everyone—they’re all gluten-free and dairy-free. Second, I use one master recipe to make five distinctly different cookies. Third, I give cookies away as gifts, a budget-friendly move that spreads goodwill while it cuts down on my holiday shopping.

Thanks to one master recipe, preparing cookies has become a meditative, almost spiritual process for me. I love the repetitiveness, the warm aromas that fill my kitchen, the trays of baked miniatures, destined as gifts. The postman will find Sleigh Bells and Molasses Ginger Drops in the mailbox. The veterinarian will receive Linzer Cookies and Coconut Mexican Wedding Cookies in a package signed with love from our dog. The neighbors will ooh and aah over plates of Toasted Coconut Shortbread during our annual cookie swap.

You’ll be amazed at how easily this simple dough recipe transforms into five different cookies. Now you can relegate holiday baking to a day rather than a week. Decorated with sparkling sugars and glitzy icing, these gluten-free, dairy-free cookies become delicious works of art. No one will ever suspect they all originate from the same recipe.

Photography by Oksana Charla; Cookies baked by Beth Hillson

Photography by Oksana Charla; Cookies baked by Beth Hillson

Gluten-Free Holiday Cookie Master Dough

Here’s the ticket to delicious cookie variations. If doubling or tripling the recipe, separate the dough into recipe size, weighing it to be certain it’s divided evenly. Dough can be refrigerated or frozen for later use. This recipe can be made with egg replacement with excellent results; see instructions.

1 sticks (14 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened, or dairy-free butter alternative
cup sugar
1 large egg (or 1 tablespoon arrowroot mixed with 2 tablespoons water)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups Pastry Flour Blend or gluten-free all purpose flour blend of choice*
1 teaspoon baking powder

1. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until soft and fluffy, about 1 minute.

2. Add egg (or arrowroot mixture) and vanilla and beat until smooth.

3. In a separate bowl, combine flour blend and baking powder and mix well. Add to butter mixture, 1 cup at a time, beating briefly just to incorporate after each addition.

* If not already in your flour blend, add 1 teaspoons xanthan gum and teaspoon salt to this recipe.


 wavebreak media/Shutterstock

wavebreak media/Shutterstock

Raspberry Linzer Stars

MAKES 30 SANDWICH COOKIES

For colorful new flavor, vary the jam or jelly in these cookies. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 to 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. They freeze well.

1 recipe Holiday Cookie Master Dough
⅔ cup seedless raspberry jam

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

2. Between 2 sheets of plastic wrap or parchment paper, roll out dough to -inch thickness. Cut out 2-inch stars or circles with cookie cutters. Gently gather extra dough and reroll it. (Refrigerate dough briefly if it becomes too soft to handle.)

3. With a small star or circle cookie cutter or with the point of a paring knife, cut centers out of half the cookies. Combine centers (dough scraps) and re-roll for more cookies. Chill cookies for 15 minutes.

4. When cookies are chilled, carefully transfer them to prepared cookie sheets with a spatula, setting them 1 inch apart. Place in preheated oven and bake 12 minutes or just until edges are slightly brown. Cool completely.

5. Heat jam in microwave for 45 seconds or until softened.

6. To assemble Linzers, set whole cookies on a sheet of parchment. Brush with warm jam and top each one with a center-cut cookie. Spoon remaining jam into the center of each cookie sandwich. Let cool until set.

Each cookie contains 123 calories, 6g total fat, 3g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 21mg cholesterol, 15mg sodium, 18g carbohydrate, 0g fiber, 1g protein.

For Cut-Out Cookies, omit jam and follow instructions, using holiday-shaped cookie cutters. Decorate cooled cookies with icing of choice and sprinkles.

TIP Cookie cutters for traditional Linzer Cookies are available at coppergifts.com.


Photography by Oksana Charla; Cookies baked by Beth Hillson

Photography by Oksana Charla; Cookies baked by Beth Hillson

Molasses Ginger Spice Cookies and Toasted Coconut Shortbread

Gluten-Free Toasted Coconut Shortbread

MAKES 24 COOKIES

Elegant and flavorful, shortbread squares travel well. Toasted coconut is a great substitution for nuts in holiday baking. Don’t like coconut? Substitute an equal amount of ground almonds (if tolerated) or fold in 2 teaspoons orange zest in place of coconut. For decoration, drizzle Confectioners’ Glaze over chocolate in pretty designs or top with sprinkles or colored sugar.

1 recipe Holiday Cookie Master Dough
2 cups unsweetened flaked coconut, divided
1 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 325F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or foil.

2. Spread coconut over prepared cookie sheet. Place in preheated oven and bake until coconut begins to brown, stirring frequently. Remove from oven and cool.

3. Increase oven temperature to 350F. Line a 9x13-inch baking pan with foil and lightly oil with vegetable spray.

4. Rub toasted coconut between fingers to break into small pieces. Measure out 1 cup and set aside the remainder.

5. In a large bowl, beat dough with 1 cup toasted coconut to combine. Press mixture into prepared baking pan.

6. Place in preheated oven and bake 25 to 30 minutes or until edges are slightly brown. Remove from heat.

7. Sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over the top and let stand 2 minutes or until softened. Spread over shortbread until it’s evenly coated with melted chocolate. Sprinkle reserved coconut over melted chocolate, pressing gently so it adheres to the top.

8. Let stand to harden. Using edges of foil, lift shortbread out of the pan and set it on a cutting board. Cut into squares or diamonds. Store in an airtight container between layers of wax paper.

Each cookie contains 217 calories, 12g total fat, 8g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 27mg cholesterol, 27mg sodium, 27g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 2g protein.

Confectioners’ Glaze

MAKES CUP

This recipe can also be used to make a quick frosting; simply reduce the amount of milk to achieve spreading consistency.

2 cups confectioners’ sugar
3 tablespoons milk of choice, divided
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Combine sugar, 1 tablespoons milk and vanilla and mix together. Gradually add remaining milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, until mixture is thin enough to drizzle over shortbread.


Molasses Ginger Spice Drops

MAKES 40 to 48 COOKIES

Crystallized ginger and spices turn ordinary drop cookies into special treats that burst with flavor. Store these gluten-free Molasses Ginger Spice Drops in airtight containers at room temperature for up to 3 days. They freeze well.

1 recipe Holiday Cookie Master Dough
3 tablespoons dark or light molasses
1 teaspoons ground cinnamon
teaspoon ground ginger
cup chopped crystallized ginger
cup raisins
-Granulated sugar, to roll cookies

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

2. Beat molasses into dough. Fold in cinnamon, ginger, crystallized ginger and raisins. Mix to combine.

3. Pour about 1 inch sugar into a low bowl. Scoop dough into teaspoon-size balls and roll in sugar.

4. Set cookies inch apart on prepared cookie sheets. Place in preheated oven and bake 12 to 14 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely.

Each cookie contains 89 calories, 4g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 13mg cholesterol, 10mg sodium, 14g carbohydrate, 0g fiber, 0g protein

For Molasses Ginger Spice Cookies, press dough balls into flat circles before baking. Bake as instructed.


Sleigh Bells

MAKES 36 SANDWICH COOKIES

Glittering cookies with lemony centers sparkle inside and out, making these a gorgeous addition to your cookie tray. Lemon zest and lemon juice add bright citrus flavor. For variation, substitute lime or orange instead of lemon and coat cookies in orange or light-green sanding sugar. Unassembled cookies can be kept in a tightly covered container at room temperature for up to 4 days. They freeze well. Once filled, keep sandwich cookies refrigerated or freeze for future use.

1 recipe Holiday Cookie Master Dough
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1-2 teaspoons lemon juice
-Sanding sugar of various colors

Lemon Filling

1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
4 tablespoons ( stick) unsalted butter, softened, or organic shortening

1. Set oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Beat dough with lemon zest and lemon juice.

3. Put sanding sugars in separate bowls. Roll a scant teaspoon of dough into a ball and drop into sugar, turning to coat. Reshape into a ball, if necessary, and transfer to prepared baking sheet. Repeat, spacing balls inch apart until baking sheet is filled.

4. Place in preheated oven and bake 12 to 15 minutes until tops are slightly cracked but still pale and bottoms are golden. Transfer cookies to a rack to cool completely.

5. To make Lemon Filling, beat together filling ingredients in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until combined and texture is light and fluffy. Transfer to sealable bag and snip off a corner.

6. To assemble cookies, turn over half the cookies and pipe about teaspoon filling on the flat side of each. Match up with cookies of the same color and sandwich them, pressing together gently.

Each sandwich cookie contains 113 calories, 6g total fat, 4g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 21mg cholesterol, 13mg sodium, 15g carbohydrate, 0g fiber, 1g protein.


Photography by Oksana Charla; Cookies baked by Beth Hillson

Photography by Oksana Charla; Cookies baked by Beth Hillson

Coconut Mexican Wedding Cookies

Coconut Mexican Wedding Cookies

MAKES 36 TO 40 COOKIES

With their fluffy coating of powdered sugar, these cookies look like snowballs. For variety, roll them into mini logs. Store in airtight containers at room temperature for 2 to 3 days or freeze for future use.

1 recipe Holiday Cookie Master Dough
⅔ cup unsweetened coconut or ground almonds
teaspoon almond extract, optional
-Confectioners’ sugar, for coating

1. Preheat oven to 325F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

2. Spread coconut over a prepared cookie sheet. Place in preheated oven and bake until coconut begins to brown, stirring frequently. Remove from oven and cool. Rub toasted coconut between fingers to crush into small pieces.

3. Increase oven temperature to 350F.

4. Beat toasted, crushed coconut (or ground almonds, if tolerated) and almond extract (if used) into dough. Chill for 30 minutes.

5. Shape dough into tiny balls and set inch apart on prepared cookie sheets. Alternatively, scoop out heaping teaspoons of dough and roll into mini-logs; set on cookie sheets.

6. Place in preheated oven and bake 15 to 16 minutes or until bottoms of cookies are golden. Remove from oven and cool completely.

7. Spoon sugar into a bowl. Toss cookies in sugar to coat.

Each cookie contains 87 calories, 5g total fat, 3g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 16mg cholesterol, 121mg sodium, 11g carbohydrate, 0g fiber, 1g protein.

Food editor Beth Hillson (glutenfreemakeovers.com), is author of Gluten-Free Makeovers, available on livingwithout.com.


Pastry Flour Blend

MAKEs 2 cups

This blend produces very light pastries and gives cookies and cakes a very fine crumb. It makes more than you need for 1 recipe of Holiday Cookie Master Dough. Measure out the quantity you need from this and reserve leftovers to add to another batch of cookie dough.

cup sweet white sorghum flour
cup brown rice flour
cup white rice flour
cup cornstarch
1 teaspoons xanthan gum or guar gum
teaspoon salt

1. Whisk to thoroughly combine ingredients. Refrigerate in a tightly covered container until used.

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