Ed. note: The recipe below is an excerpt from Ellen Brown’s Gluten-Free Christmas Cookies. Published by Cider Mill Press in 2011, the book offers 125 recipes for holiday cookie favorites.
These cookies are to Christmas what a blank canvas is to an artist. From here the possibilities are endless. Sugar cookies have a delicious buttery flavor and come out of the oven crisp as well.
Active time: 30 minutes • Start to finish: 1¾ hours including 1 hour to chill dough
1½ cups amaranth flour
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
½ cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
Pinch of salt
½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into thin slices
1 large egg
1 tablespoon whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Sweet rice flour
1. Combine amaranth flour, confectioners’ sugar, cornstarch, xanthan gum, cream of tartar, and salt in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Blend for 5 seconds. Add butter to the work bowl, and process, using on-and-off pulsing, until mixture resembles coarse meal.
2. Combine egg, milk, and vanilla in a small cup, and whisk well. Drizzle liquid into the work bowl, and pulse about 10 times, or until stiff dough forms. If dough is dry and doesn’t come together, add additional milk by 1-teaspoon amounts, until dough forms a ball.
3. Divide dough in half and wrap each half in plastic wrap. Press dough into a pancake. Refrigerate dough for 1 hour or until form (or up to 2 days).
4. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
5. Lightly dust a sheet of waxed paper and a rolling pin with sweet rice flour. Roll dough to a thickness of ¼ inch.
6. Dip cookie cutters in sweet rice flour, and cut out cookies. Remove excess dough, and transfer cookies to the baking sheets. Re-roll excess dough, chilling it for 15 minutes if necessary.
7. Bake cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, or until edges are brown. Cool cookies for 2 minutes on the baking sheets, and then transfer them with a spatula to cooling racks to cool completely. Decorate cookies with icing and candies, if desired.
→ Substitute lemon oil for vanilla extract and add 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest to the dough.
→ Substitute ½ cup almond meal for ½ cup of the amaranth flour and substitute almond extract for the vanilla extract.
TIP: Gluten-free dough softens faster than dough made with wheat flour, which can make it difficult to handle. One way to mitigate this problem is to place the sheets of rolled out dough in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes; the dough will then be stiffer.
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