So GoodDec/Jan 2009 Issue

Gluten-Free - Dairy-Free Holiday Baking

Gluten-free, dairy-free baking brings comfort and joy.

This is my favorite time of year. Number one reason? The cookies! Baking and sharing cookies is guaranteed to spread cheer while bringing yuletide warmth and fragrance to your home. 

These festive cookies are simple to make, contain no wheat or dairy and can be made egg free. That doesn’t mean good taste has been compromised. Here are delicious recipes that are guaranteed to please.

Handcrafted cookies make memorable presents for everyone on your gift list. Put a selection of cookies in colorful containers or arrange them on pretty plates or dishes. Wrap with cellophane and tie with fancy raffia to delight your family, friends and your children’s teachers.

’Tis the season to celebrate your special diet. Enjoy Christmas cookies without the allergens. These gluten-free, dairy-free treats deliver the best of flavorful baking traditions and plenty of merry.

Melt-in-Your-Mouth Sugar Cookies


MAKES 24 3-INCH COOKIES

These beautiful cookies are tasty, moist and tender. A family favorite, they’re sure to disappear quickly.

    1½  cups confectioner’s sugar
    1  cup dairy-free, soy-free vegetable shortening
    1  egg (or 1½ teaspoons egg replac-er* mixed with 2 tablespoons rice milk or water)
    2  teaspoons vanilla extract
    2½  cups gluten-free cookie flour mix             
    ½  teaspoon xanthan gum

    1  teaspoon baking soda
    1  teaspoon cream of tartar

Icing

    4  cups confectioner’s sugar
    4  tablespoons dairy-free, soy-free vegetable shortening
    2  egg whites
    -  Pinch of salt
    2  teaspoons vanilla extract
    -  Food coloring and colored sugars, optional
    
1. To make cookie dough, place 1½ cups confectioner’s sugar and 1 cup shortening in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium speed until smooth and slightly fluffy.

2. Add egg (or egg replacer mixed with rice milk or water) and vanilla extract. Mix well.  
 
3. In a separate bowl, combine flour mix, xanthan gum, baking soda and cream of tartar.  
 
4. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture, beating on low speed until thoroughly combined.
 
5. Gather up dough into a ball and chill it for 2 hours.

6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

7. Lightly flour your work surface and rolling pin. Roll out dough to ¼-inch thickness and cut into shapes with your favorite cookie cutters. Using a thin spatula, transfer cookies to cookie sheets. Gather up remaining scraps of dough and roll out again, cutting and rolling until you’ve used it all.

8. Bake cookies in preheated oven on center rack for 10 minutes. Cool on cookie sheets for 10 minutes before transferring to wire rack.

9. To make icing, combine all icing ingredients and mix until smooth.
For colored icing, add a few drops of
food coloring.

10. Ice cookies while they’re still slightly warm. Then sprinkle immediately with decorative sugars. Cool completely to set.


Each iced cookie contains: 255 calories, 10g total fat, 4g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 9mg cholesterol, 41g carbohydrate, 165mg sodium, 0g fiber, 1g protein

 

Vegan Icing Variation

For vegan icing, combine 4 cups confectioner’s sugar, 4 tablespoons
rice milk and 1 teaspoon vanilla
extract in a medium bowl. Beat until smooth.

*TIP If you use egg replacer instead of eggs to make cookies, follow directions up to step 4. Roll out soft dough between two sheets of parchment or wax paper until the dough is ¼-inch thick. Transfer the dough, still between parchment paper, to a cookie sheet and chill for 2 hours. Remove from refrigerator and let sit about 5 minutes. Remove top sheet of parchment paper. Cut out cookies with your favorite cookie cutters. Egg-free dough is slightly more crumbly, so use your hands to pinch the edges together as necessary. Transfer cookies to a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Once you’ve cut out the first round of cookies, proceed as the recipe instructs, gathering up scraps of dough, lightly flouring your work surface and rolling pin, and rolling out remaining dough and cutting cookies.

“Buttery” Spritz Cookies

MAKES 120 1½-INCH COOKIES

Spritz cookies set the standard for traditional holiday cookies. Delicious and versatile, they can be made in practically any shape and hue, decorated with a rainbow of colored sugar, drizzled with chocolate sprinkles – you name it. Store cookies in a tightly sealed container, separating layers with parchment or waxed paper. They freeze well.

    1½  cups dairy-free, soy-free vegetable shortening
    1  cup sugar
    1  teaspoon double-acting baking powder
    1  egg (or 1½ teaspoons egg replacer mixed with 4 tablespoons rice milk)
    1  teaspoon vanilla extract
    3½  cups gluten-free cookie flour mix (see sidebar)
    ¾  teaspoon xanthan gum
    ¼  teaspoon salt
    -  Decorative sugars, optional

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Beat shortening and sugar in an electric mixer set on medium for about 30 seconds. Add baking powder and mix until combined. Beat in egg (or egg replacer and rice milk) and vanilla extract until combined.

3. In a separate bowl, combine gluten-free flour mix, xanthan gum and salt.  

4. Add the flour mixture to the shortening mixture, beating on low speed until combined.

5. Pack the dough into a cookie press. Place the face of the press firmly down
on an ungreased cookie sheet and press out cookie, a single press for each cookie. Space cookies about 1 inch apart. Decorate with colored sugar, sprinkles, etc.

6. Bake for 8 minutes on center rack in preheated oven until cookie edges are firm but not brown. Cool cookies on the cookie sheet for a couple minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

TIP The key to perfect Spritz cookies is mastering a cookie press. Try the Wilton Comfort Grip Cookie Press, www.wilton.com.

Each cookie contains: 34 calories, 1g total fat, 0.5 saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 2mg cholesterol, 6g carbohydrate, 23mg sodium, 0g fiber, 0g protein

Old-Fashioned Ginger Snaps

MAKES 54 2-INCH COOKIES

 

This recipe harkens back to my grandmother’s cookies. These old-fashioned treats are richly flavored with molasses, spices and bitter orange marmalade.

    1/2  cup dairy-free, soy-free vegetable shortening
    1/2  cup granulated sugar
    4  tablespoons brown sugar
    4  tablespoons molasses
    4  tablespoons bitter orange marmalade
    1  teaspoon vanilla extract
    2  cups gluten-free cookie flour mix (page 34)
    ½  teaspoon xanthan gum
    ½  teaspoon baking soda
    1  teaspoon cream of tartar
    ¼  teaspoon salt
    2  teaspoons ground ginger
    1  teaspoon ground cinnamon
    ½  teaspoon ground nutmeg
    ¼  cup sugar, for rolling

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

 

2. Beat shortening and granulated sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth and fluffy. Add brown sugar, molasses, orange marmalade and vanilla. Mix thoroughly.

3. In a separate bowl, mix together  gluten-free flour, xanthan gum, baking soda, cream of tartar, salt and spices.

4. Add flour mixture to shortening mixture and beat on low speed to combine.
   
5. Using your hands, roll uniform-size pieces of dough (about 2 teaspoons) into balls.

6. Pour ¼ cup sugar into a shallow bowl or plate. Roll the balls in the sugar and place on parchment paper.

7. Bake cookies on center rack in preheated oven for 14 minutes.

8. Let cookies cool about 5 minutes on cookie sheets before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Each cookie contains: 61 calories, 2g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 11g carbohydrate, 44mg sodium, 0g fiber, 1g protein

Chocolate Thumb Print Cookies

MAKES 24 2-INCH COOKIES

These vegan cookies, chewy like a brownie with a delightful fudgy center, contain a double dose of chocolate.

    1¼  cups gluten-free cookie flour mix
    1/2  cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    ½  teaspoon xanthan gum
    ½  teaspoon baking soda
    1  teaspoon cream of tartar
    ¼  teaspoon salt
    1/3  cup canola oil
    1/3  cup rice milk
    2  teaspoons vanilla extract
    2/3  cup sugar
    ½  cup Enjoy Life semi-sweet chocolate chips (see Shopping List)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

2. Combine flour mix, cocoa powder, xanthan gum, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt. Mix thoroughly, being sure to work out any lumps.

3. Using an electric mixer set on medium speed, thoroughly combine canola oil and rice milk. Add vanilla extract and sugar. Mix well.  
 
4. Add the dry ingredients to wet and mix on low speed, scraping sides of bowl.

5. Scoop out dough by heaping teaspoonfuls and place on cookie sheets, 12 per sheet. Wet hands with
a little water and roll dough into balls.  
 
6. Bake in preheated oven on center rack for 5 minutes.

7. Put chocolate chips in a microwave-safe dish and melt. This will take about a minute; check chips every 15 seconds and stir. Once chips melt, set them aside.

8. Remove cookies from oven. Wet your thumb slightly with cool water and, working quickly, make a thumb print in the center of each cookie.
Fill thumb prints with 1/4 teaspoon melted chocolate.

9. Return cookies to oven and bake an additional 10 minutes.  

10. Let cookies cool 5 minutes on cookie sheets before transferring to
a wire rack.  

Each cookie contains: 104 calories, 5g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 16g carbohydrate, 52mg sodium, 1g fiber, 1g protein

 

Mexican Wedding Cookies

MAKES 40 2-INCH COOKIES

A delicate favorite of the holiday season, these little gems are normally made with walnuts, pistachios, pecans or almonds. This nut-free version, made with sunflower seeds, is equally delicious.

    1/2  cup confectioner’s sugar
    1  cup dairy-free, soy-free vegetable shortening
    2  teaspoons vanilla extract
    2  cups gluten-free cookie flour mix
    ½  teaspoon xanthan gum
    1/4  teaspoon salt
    1  cup finely chopped roasted sunflower seeds
    -  Confectioner’s sugar, for rolling

1. In a large bowl, combine 1/2 cup sugar, shortening and vanilla extract. Blend well.

2. In a separate bowl, combine flour mix, xanthan gum and salt.

3. Stir flour mixture and sunflower seeds into sugar mixture, mixing with hands until dough holds together. Cover the bowl and chill about 1 hour.  

4. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

5. Remove the dough from refrigerator. Flour your hands and shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place balls 1 inch apart on cookie sheets.

6. Bake cookies on center rack in preheated oven for about 20 minutes until set but not brown.

7. Spread additional sugar evenly over the surface of a large plate. Reserve.

8. Cool cookies for 10 minutes on sheets. Gently remove with a thin spatula and roll them in confectioner’s sugar. Cool completely and re-roll in confectioner’s sugar, adding additional sugar as needed.

Each cookie contains: 96 calories, 6g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 10g carbohydrate, 63mg sodium, 0g fiber, 1g protein

TIP To roast sunflower seeds, heat raw seeds in a heavy frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until seeds are golden. Remove from heat and let cool before chopping seeds.

TIP If cookies aren’t eaten within a day, arrange them in single layers between parchment paper in an airtight container and store in the freezer. Enjoy them at room temperature. LW

Accurate flour measurement is critical to successful gluten-free cookie making. Use a large spoon to scoop the flour into the measuring cup. Then level it off with the back of a knife.

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