So GoodApr/May 2013 Issue

Big, Fat, Soft Gluten-Free Cookies

Sweet reasons to think outside the [cake mix] box

When’s the last time you looked at a gluten-free cake mix and thought cookie? Turns out, cake mixes are just as versatile as that little black dress. Change the baking directions slightly and instead of cake, you have big, fat, soft cookies.

When I was a child, my mother could spend an entire day preparing a complicated pastry but she had absolutely no clue how to make a cake from scratch. Once cake mixes started hitting grocery stores, Mom could finally whip up birthday cakes in short order. Lucky for us, the cake mix was invented or we’d still be eating birthday pie.

A quality gluten-free cake mix will not disappoint. Cakes from scratch have their place but nothing beats a mix for convenience and quick results. Whether from a mix or scratch, cake-making is based on a ratio of dry ingredients to liquids, fats and eggs. To make cookies, we just alter the ratio. It’s that easy.

These big, fat, soft cookies are like the fresh bakery goodies you remember. The basic recipe for Vanilla Soft Cookies makes a dozen 4-inch cookies. From there, it’s quick and simple to create tasty Black & White Cookies, Snickerdoodle Cookies, Dark Chocolate Cookies and Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Each variation is an easy-to-prepare soft cookie, perfect with a cup of tea or coffee. Want to truly indulge? Use these recipes to make gluten-free, dairy-free whoopie pies, over-the-top treats for those special occasions when calories don’t count.

 


 

Vanilla Soft Cookies

MAKES 12 4-INCH COOKIES

These elegant vanilla cookies are the basis for a variety of other sweet treats. The recipe calls for rather large cookies (4 inches across) but they can be made smaller for little hands and fewer calories per cookie. Adjust baking time accordingly.

1 (15-ounce) box gluten-free yellow/vanilla cake mix (heaping 2 cups)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled, or non- hydrogenated vegetable shortening
1 extra-large egg, room temperature
1/3 cup almond milk or milk of choice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon pure lemon flavoring (not lemon juice)

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

2. Remove cake mix from box. If mix weighs more than 15 ounces, pour it into a small bowl, stirring to break up any lumps. Measure out 2 heaping cups (be generous) and place into a large mixing bowl. (Set remaining mix aside for another use.)

3. Cut butter or shortening into pieces. Add to cake mix, along with egg, milk, vanilla and lemon flavoring. Mix together on low speed just to incorporate ingredients. Mix on medium speed for about 1 minute or until mixture looks smooth and all ingredients are well combined. Using a silicone spatula, fold mixture from the bottom to incorporate any remaining dry ingredients. Let batter sit for about 5 minutes to fully hydrate the dry material. Give it one more fold. Batter will be very thick.

4. Using a ¼-cup ice cream or cookie scoop, carefully place 6 mounds of batter on each baking sheet, making each one circular in shape (about 2½ to 3 inches in diameter). Using a clean, wet finger, smooth batter and flatten just slightly. Cookies will spread while baking.

5. Place 1 baking pan at a time on the center rack in preheated oven. Bake about 6 minutes and rotate pan. Bake about 5 to 7 minutes more or just until the edges start to look slightly golden. Cookies should barely have any color but a toothpick should come out clean. Repeat with the other baking sheet. Let cookies cool for a minute on the sheet pan. Then carefully remove to a rack to cool completely before adding icing or filling, if desired.

Each cookie contains 180 calories, 6g total fat, 3g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 20mg cholesterol, 203mg sodium, 31g carbohydrate, 0g fiber, 14g sugars, 1g protein, 22Est GL.

For Egg-Free Vanilla Soft Cookies, omit 1 egg. Mix 1 tablespoon flax meal with 3 tablespoons hot water. Let sit 5 minutes until thickened. Then add to wet ingredients. Increase baking time by 2 to 3 minutes, as necessary.

 


 

Photo by Tim Horel, Gluten Free Canteen

Photo by Tim Horel, Gluten Free Canteen

Black & White Cookies

Black & White Cookies

MAKES 12 4-INCH COOKIES

Sometimes called half-moons or headlights, these cookies have been popular for over 100 years, mostly in New York City and New England. As a child, I was very sad that they sold out every day at our local bakery. Now you can easily make as many as you wish at home for a fraction of the cost.

1 recipe Vanilla Soft Cookie batter

1. Use an offset spatula or the back of a spoon to make sure the batter mounds are round and measure about 3 inches across before they’re baked. Cookies will be almost 4 inches across after baking. Cool them, flat side down. When completely cool, flip them flat side up to glaze.

White Cookie Glaze


2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2-4 tablespoons very hot water
½ teaspoon light corn syrup, optional*
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Sift powdered sugar into a medium-size bowl. Gently (avoiding air bubbles) stir in very hot water by the tablespoon just until the glaze runs slowly off the spoon but still seems very thick. Add corn syrup, if desired, and vanilla. Stir gently with a small spoon to combine. Let mixture sit for a minute while you set up the cookies. Stir before applying the glaze. If it is too thick, add a little bit more hot water.

2. Place a cooling rack on a baking sheet to catch drips. Turn cookies to their flat side. Using a spoon and an offset spatula, apply white icing to one half the cookie. Make sure you apply enough icing so that it is completely white and you cannot see the cookie through the icing. Let these set while you prepare the chocolate glaze.

Chocolate Cookie Glaze


2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 heaping tablespoons unsweetened dark cocoa
2-4 tablespoons very hot water
½ teaspoon light corn syrup, optional*
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Sift powdered sugar into a small bowl. Sift cocoa powder into the bowl. Stir to combine. Add very hot water 1 tablespoon at a time and stir until mixture is smooth, lump-free and drips slowly off the spoon but is still rather thick. Add more water as necessary. Add corn syrup, if desired, and vanilla. Stir gently to combine.

2. Using a spoon and a clean offset spatula, apply the chocolate glaze to the other half of the cookie all the way to the white glaze and even slightly overlapping for the best look. Avoid dripping chocolate glaze on the white icing.

3. Place iced cookies about 1 inch apart on the baking rack and let them harden completely. This will take at least an hour, depending on humidity and temperature; don’t refrigerate cookies or the shine will be lost. Don’t stack cookies until the next day when the glaze is thoroughly dry.

Each cookie contains 340 calories, 6g total fat, 3g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 18mg cholesterol, 204mg sodium, 72g carbohydrate, 0g fiber, 54g sugars, 1g protein, 48Est GL.

*NOTE Corn syrup adds shine to glaze but does not impact taste.

 


 

Snickerdoodle Cookies

MAKES 12 3-INCH COOKIES

Who doesn’t love a great snickerdoodle? Slightly cakey, these cookies will satisfy the cookie monsters in your family. Enjoy them as cookies or use them to sandwich Snickerdoodle Filling and make 6 Snickerdoodle Whoopie Pies.

1 recipe Vanilla Soft Cookie batter
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
1 tablespoon powdered sugar

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

2. Prepare 1 batch Vanilla Soft Cookie batter (page 48). Add 1 teaspoon cinnamon to batter and stir well.

3. Using a ¼-cup ice cream or cookie scoop, carefully place 6 mounds of batter on each baking sheet, making each one circular in shape (about 2½ to 3 inches across). Using a clean, wet finger, smooth batter and flatten just slightly. Cookies will spread while baking.

4. Place 1 baking sheet at a time on the center rack in preheated oven. Bake about 6 minutes and rotate pan. Bake about 5 to 7 minutes more or just until edges start to look slightly golden. Cookies will barely have any color but a toothpick should come out clean. Repeat with the other baking sheet. Let cookies cool for a minute on the pan. Then carefully remove to a rack to cool.

5. Place a cookie sheet or parchment paper underneath rack. Blend remaining cinnamon with powdered sugar. Using a mesh strainer, sprinkle cinnamon and powdered sugar mixture over each cookie.

Each cookie contains 184 calories, 6g total fat, 3g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 20mg cholesterol, 203mg sodium, 32g carbohydrate, 0g fiber, 15g sugars, 1g protein, 20Est GL.

 


 

Photo by Tim Horel, Gluten Free Canteen

Photo by Tim Horel, Gluten Free Canteen

Snickerdoodle Whoopie Pie

Gluten-Free Snickerdoodle Whoopie Pies

MAKES 6

Use Snickerdoodle Cookies with this filling for whoopie pies that burst with great snickerdoodle flavor. Once constructed, dust whoopie pies with a mixture of cinnamon and powdered sugar.

Snickerdoodle Filling

1 cup organic non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening
1½ cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons gluten-free all- purpose flour blend of choice
½ cup canned full-fat coconut milk (well mixed)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
1 tablespoon powdered sugar

1. Prepare Snickerdoodle Cookie batter and bake as instructed. Once baked, remove cookies from oven and let cool for a minute on the baking sheet. Then carefully remove to a rack to cool. Pair up matching cookies (for 6 whoopie pies).

2. Place shortening, powdered sugar, flour blend, coconut milk, vanilla and cinnamon in the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl using a hand-held mixer). Using the paddle attachment, mix on low-speed until all ingredients are combined. Scrape down the sides with a silicone spatula. Increase speed to medium-high and keep mixing for about 5 minutes. Filling will start out looking almost curdled and then turn satiny-smooth and fluffy.

3. Pipe, scoop or place a scant ¼ cup filling in the center of one flat side of each cookie pair. Top with second cookie and press down lightly just to make the top half adhere and to push filling out to edges.

4. Place filled pies on a rack with a baking sheet or parchment paper underneath. Blend remaining cinnamon with powdered sugar. Using a mesh strainer, sprinkle cinnamon and powdered sugar mixture over each whoopie pie.

Each Snickerdoodle Whoopie Pie contains

813 calories, 48g total fat, 22g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 40mg cholesterol, 411mg sodium, 99g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 61g sugars, 3g protein, 64Est GL.

 


Classic Dark Chocolate Cookies

MAKES 12 COOKIES

Adding unsweetened dark cocoa to vanilla/yellow cake mix transforms the flavor of these cookies to a rich, deep chocolate.

1 recipe Vanilla Soft Cookie batter
2 tablespoons unsweetened dark cocoa
1½ tablespoons hot water
½ teaspoon brewed coffee or instant espresso powder (decaf is fine)

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

2. Prepare 1 batch of Vanilla Soft Cookie batter

3. In a separate bowl, mix cocoa with hot water, stirring until no lumps remain and mixture is smooth. Add coffee or espresso to mixture and stir.

4. Stir chocolate mixture into batter until combined.

5. Using a ¼-cup ice cream or cookie scoop, carefully place 6 mounds of batter on each baking sheet, making each one circular in shape (about 2½ to 3 inches across). Using a clean, wet finger, smooth batter and flatten just slightly. Cookies will spread while baking.

6. Place 1 baking sheet at a time on the center rack in preheated oven. Bake about 6 minutes and rotate pan. Bake about 5 to 7 minutes more until a toothpick comes out clean. Repeat with the other baking sheet. Let cookies cool for a minute on the pan. Then carefully remove to a rack to cool.

Each cookie contains 182 calories, 6g total fat, 3g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 20mg cholesterol, 203mg sodium, 32g carbohydrate, 0g fiber, 14g sugars, 1g protein, 20Est GL.

 


Photo by Tim Horel, Gluten Free Canteen

Photo by Tim Horel, Gluten Free Canteen

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Whoopie Pies

MAKES 6 WHOOPIE PIES

If there’s a classic whoopie pie, it’s this one. Raspberry filling paired with chocolate makes a special springtime treat.

Raspberry Filling

1 cup organic non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening
1½ cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons gluten-free all-purpose flour blend of choice
½ cup canned full-fat coconut milk (well mixed)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¼ cup raspberry jam, heated and strained to equal 2 tablespoons (cool to room temperature)

1. Prepare Classic Dark Chocolate Cookie batter and bake as instructed. Once baked, remove cookies from oven and let cool for a minute on baking sheets. Then carefully remove to a rack to cool. Pair up matching cookies (for 6 whoopie pies).

2. Place shortening, powdered sugar, flour, coconut milk, vanilla and raspberry jam in the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl using a hand-held mixer). Using the paddle attachment, mix on low-speed until all ingredients are combined. Scrape down the sides with a silicone spatula. Increase speed to medium-high and keep mixing for about 5 minutes. Filling will start out looking almost curdled and then turn satiny smooth, fluffy and pale pink.

3. Pipe, scoop or place a scant ¼ cup of filling in the center of one flat side of each whoopee pie pair. Top with second cookie and press down lightly just to make the top half adhere and to push filling out to edges.

Each whoopie pie contains 798 calories, 48g total fat, 22g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 40mg cholesterol, 411mg sodium, 95g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 53g sugars, 3g protein, 61Est GL.

 


 

Dark Chocolate Espresso Whoopie Pies

In these elegant treats, chocolate cookies pair with a rich coffee-flavored filling that will satisfy every mocha fan.

Espresso Filling

1 cup organic non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening
1½ cups powdered sugar, sifted
½ cup canned full-fat coconut milk (well mixed)
2 tablespoons gluten-free all- purpose flour blend of choice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder (decaf is fine)
1 tablespoon brewed coffee (decaf is fine)

1. Prepare Classic Dark Chocolate Cookie batter  and bake as instructed. Remove cookies from oven and let cool for a minute on baking sheets. Then carefully remove to a rack to cool. Pair up matching cookies (for 6 whoopie pies).

2. Place shortening, powdered sugar, coconut milk, flour, vanilla, espresso powder and brewed coffee in the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl using a hand-held mixer). Using the paddle attachment, mix on low-speed until all ingredients are combined. Scrape down the sides with a silicone spatula. Increase speed to medium-high and keep mixing for about 5 minutes. Filling will start out looking almost curdled and then turn satiny smooth, fluffy and mocha-colored.

3. Pipe, scoop or place a scant ¼ cup of filling in the center of one flat side of each whoopee pie pair. Top with second cookie and press down lightly just to make the top half adhere and to push filling out to edges.

Each whoopie pie contains 783 calories, 48g total fat, 22g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 39mg cholesterol, 411mg sodium, 91g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 53g sugars, 3g protein, 59Est GL.

 


 

Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies

MAKES 12 COOKIES

If you’re a fan of coconut and chocolate, this recipe is for you. Finely shredded coconut and mini-chocolate chips are baked right into the cookies. Dust tops with a little unsweetened cocoa.

1 recipe Vanilla Soft Cookie batter
¼ cup mini-chocolate chips or dairy- free, allergy-friendly chocolate chips
¼ cup unsweetened finely shredded coconut, lightly toasted
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa

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

2. Prepare 1 batch of Vanilla Soft Cookie batter

3. Stir in mini-chocolate chips and shredded toasted coconut with a silicone spatula.

4. Using a ¼-cup ice cream or cookie scoop, carefully place 6 mounds of batter on each baking sheet, making each one circular in shape (about 2½ to 3 inches across). Using a clean, wet finger, smooth batter and flatten just slightly. Cookies will spread while baking.

5. Place 1 baking sheet at a time on the center rack in preheated oven. Bake about 6 minutes and rotate pan. Bake about 5 to 7 minutes more until a toothpick comes out clean. Repeat with the other baking sheet. Let cookies cool for a minute on the pan. Carefully remove to a rack to cool.

Each cookie contains 213 calories, 9g total fat, 5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 20mg cholesterol, 204mg sodium, 34g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 14g sugars, 2g protein, 21Est GL.

 


Coconut Chocolate Chip Whoopie Pies

MAKES 6 WHOOPIE PIES

Coconut in the batter and filling and large flaked coconut around the edges make this recipe a winner.

Coconut Filling

1 cup organic non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening
1½ cups powdered sugar, sifted
½ cup canned full-fat coconut milk (well mixed)
2 tablespoons gluten-free all-purpose flour blend of choice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¼ cup unsweetened finely shredded coconut, lightly toasted
¼ cup large coconut flakes, lightly toasted
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa, for dusting

1. Prepare Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookie batter and bake as instructed. Once baked, remove cookies from oven and let cool for a minute on baking sheets. Then carefully remove to a rack to cool. Pair up matching cookies (for 6 whoopie pies).

2. Place shortening, powdered sugar, coconut milk, flour and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl using a hand-held mixer). Using the paddle attachment, mix on low-speed until all ingredients are combined. Scrape down the sides with a silicone spatula. Increase speed to medium-high and keep mixing for about 5 minutes. Filling will start out looking almost curdled and then turn satiny smooth and fluffy. Fold in ¼ cup finely shredded coconut until well combined.

3. Pipe, scoop or place a scant ¼ cup of filling in the center of one flat side of each whoopee pie pair. Top with second cookie and press down lightly just to make the top half adhere and to push filling out to edges. Once filling is in place, sprinkle small amounts of large toasted coconut flakes around the edges.

4. Place filled pies on a baking rack with a baking sheet or parchment paper underneath. Using a mesh strainer, very lightly dust unsweetened cocoa over each whoopie pie.

Each whoopie pie contains 883 calories, 56g total fat, 29g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 39mg cholesterol, 422mg sodium, 97g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 53g sugars, 4g protein, 62Est GL.
Lisa Stander-Horel (glutenfreecanteen.com) is author of the newly revised, Gluten-Free Canteen’s Book of Nosh, to be released this fall.

Comments (0)

Be the first to comment on this post using the section below.

New to Gluten Free & More?
Register for Free!

Already Registered?
Log In