Gluten Free Goodies

My mother used to say that you learn something new every day.  She was right — as mothers always are.

This morning I learned that gluten-free food can actually be pretty tasty.  Because we’ve got a gluten-free guest coming for the holidays, I made these cookies with tahini — which is crushed sesame seeds ground into a kind of peanut butter consistency — the ever-unpronounceable quinoa, honey, brown sugar,, and rice flour.  They’re crunchy and really good.  I am also making some gluten-free spice cookies with cranberries and almonds and macadamia nuts.

Tasty, and gluten-free?  Who knew?

Calling For Christmas Cookie Recipes — 2016 (III)

This morning Kish sent me a link to the New York Times “Christmas Cookie Plate” — their listing of Christmas cookie recipes from the Times Cooking section.  It’s the kind of thoughtful gesture that makes her the best wife ever.

The Christmas Cookie Plate offers an impressive array of cookie recipes, but one in particular caught my eye.  I’m a sucker for spice cookies and have been making Dutch Spice cookies ever since I started doing holiday baking years ago.  The recipe below for Grammy’s Spice cookies, though, includes a lot of spice — plus heavy cream and Irish whiskey in the icing.  I’m guessing that Grammy’s house was pretty festive.

Grammy’s Spice Cookies

Ingredients:  2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened (some of which is used for cookies, and some for icing); 1 cup sugar; 1/4 cup molasses; 1 large egg; 2 cups all-purpose flour; 2 teaspoons baking soda; 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon; 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger; 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves; 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt; 3 3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar; 1 teaspoon vanilla extract; 3 tablespoons heavy cream or milk (add more as needed); 1 to 2 tablespoons Irish whiskey (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick liners.  Using an electric mixer, beat 12 tablespoons butter with the sugar, molasses and egg until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Slowly beat in flour, baking soda, spices and salt.  Shape dough into walnut-size balls and place 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Bake until firm, about 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool on wire racks.

To make the icing, slowy beat remaining butter (4 tablespoons) butter with confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Beat in vanilla and enough cream or milk, and whiskey if using, to make a spreadable frosting. Use on fully cooled cookies.

Calling For Christmas Cookie Recipes — 2016 (II)

Calling For Christmas Cookie Recipes — 2016

Calling For Christmas Cookie Recipes — 2016 (II)

I like carrot cake, so when I saw this recipe for carrot cake cookies on the excellent delish.com website, I couldn’t resist it.  Now, whether I can actually successfully make the cookies is another question entirely . . . .

Carrot Cake Cookies

carrot-cake-cookies-9Ingredients:  1 cup softened butter, 1 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 2 eggs, 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon cinnamon; 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 cup shredded carrots, 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, 1/2 cup raisins, 2 cups old-fashioned oats

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment. Beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, until incorporated, then add vanilla. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture until well-combined.  Stir in carrots, coconut, raisins, and oats and mix until just combined.  Scoop 1-inch rounds of dough onto baking sheet. Bake until golden, 13 to 15 minutes. Let cool.

Cream cheese glaze ingredients:  1 cup powdered sugar, 1 ounce cream cheese, at room temperature, 1 tablespoon milk, 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Beat together cream cheese, powdered sugar, milk and vanilla until combined. Drizzle glaze over each cookie and let harden before serving.

Calling For Christmas Cookie Recipes — 2016

Hey — it’s December already!  That means I need to get off my butt, stop trying to analyze the Ohio State-Clemson matchup in the college football playoffs, and start thinking about what cookies I’m going to be baking for the holidays.

This year I’m going to be making some gluten-free options, in view of a new acquaintance who is of the gluten-free disposition.  When I started looking around for recipes, I learned to my surprise that there are an abundance of gluten-free cookie recipes available.  This one looked interesting, and not just because it might cause me to learn how to pronounce the word “quinoa” and give me my first chance to eat something containing “tahini.”  I’d also be interested in any other gluten-free recipes readers would be willing to share.

Quinoa Tahini Cookies

picjok7auIngredients:  1/2 cup honey, 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cup tahini, 1 1/4 cups rice flour, 7/8 cup quinoa, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine honey, brown sugar, butter, and tahini; mix until creamy.  Add remaining ingredients and mix well.  Spoon rounded teaspoonfuls of batter onto cookie sheets.  Bake for 10 – 14 minutes, until cookies start to turn golden brown.

Calling For Christmas Cookie Recipes — 2015

Calling For Christmas Cookie Recipes — 2014

Calling For Christmas Cookie Recipes — 2013

Calling For Christmas Cookie Recipes — 2012

Calling For Christmas Cookie Recipes — 2011

Calling for Christmas Cookie Recipes — 2010

Calling for Christmas Cookie Recipes — 2009

Calling For Christmas Cookie Recipes — 2015 (IV)

The Savannah contingent of the Webner family — specifically, Aunt Corinne — recently sent along a sheaf of Christmas cookie recipes that looked interesting.  I picked this one as my last new Christmas cookie recipe for this year and made it last weekend when I was in my two-day baking frenzy.

I picked the recipe because I wanted to mix some fruit-based cookies in with the chocolate, lemon, and iced cookies and because it looked within the comfort zone of my limited baking skills.  It turned out to be easy and fun to make — I particularly liked rolling up the dough over the filling — and very tasty.   I’m going to make it again this weekend and mix up the fruit and nut combinations for the filling, just to do some experimenting.

Apple Butter Rugelach

apple-butter-rugelach-6Ingredients:  1 cup unsalted butter, slightly softened and cut into pieces; 1 8 ounce package of cream cheese, slightly softened and cut into pieces; 2 cups all purpose flour; 3 tablespoons white sugar; 1/4 teaspoon salt; 1 teaspoon cinnamon; 1/2 cup apple butter; 1/4 cup chopped pecans; milk to brush on top of cookies and cinnamon for sprinkling

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt, then add in butter and cream cheese and mix at low speed.  Dough will be crumbly then come together; mix until it is just combined.  Remove mixture from bowl, shape it into a large rectangle, then wrap it in plastic wrap and chill for two hours.

After removing dough from refrigerator, cut dough into four equally sized pieces.  On a floured surface, roll each piece into a 12 x 4 inch rectangle.  Spread apple butter onto rectangle, leaving space around the edges, then sprinkle pecans onto apple butter.  Working from the long end, carefully roll the dough into a 12-inch log, then wrap the dough in plastic wrap and put it in the freezer for 15 minutes to make it easier to cut.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and remove dough from freezer.  Brush the dough log with milk and sprinkle cinnamon on top, then cut the dough log into 12 equal pieces and place them upright on baking sheet.  Bake for 22-25 minutes until lightly golden, then let cool.

Calling For Christmas Cookie Recipes — 2015

Calling For Christmas Cookie Recipes – 2015 (II)

Calling For Christmas Cookie Recipes — 2015 (III)