DessertDecember/January 2008

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 replacer* 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 (or egg replacer mixed with rice milk or water)
-  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

Gluten-Free Cookie Flour Mix

MAKES 6 CUPS
4 cups superfine brown rice flour
1⅓ cups potato starch (not potato flour)
⅔ cup tapioca flour/starch

Combine all ingredients. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

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.

Recipe by Cybele Pascal, author of The Whole Foods Allergy Cookbook (Vital Health Publishing) and The Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook (Celestial Arts).

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