Sunday, October 31, 2010

Gluten Free Sugar Cookies

Halloween style! Well, an attempt at them, anyway.

I borrowed this recipe from Gluten Free Girl, only I subbed margarine with coconut oil and used unbleached whole cane sugar. I decided to try a new gluten free flour mix that I bought on sale, and while it worked okay, I still prefer Pamela's.

The Gluten Free Pantry All Purpose Flour is soft and very white, so it's really refined. I don't worry too much about that as sugar cookies are meant to be a treat, after all. But, I wasn't happy with the texture of the cookies. That's often the biggest challenge in gluten free baking. These are nice and crumbly until you start to chew them, and then they turn that slimy-yet-stodgy consistency that makes you think your saliva is starting to congeal. Taste-wise, they're good enough, but I'd like a better mouthfeel. Icing them did help.

I'm not giving up on making gluten-free sugar cookies, though. With a different flour blend, and maybe less xanthan gum, I think this recipe could still work. I'll need to play around with it some more.

Gluten Free Sugar Cookies

2 1/2 cups gluten-free flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup coconut oil
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (Oh, yeah!)

Preheat oven to 350 and line cookie sheets with parchment paper (or use a nonstick cooking mat thingy).

Cream the butter, coconut oil, and sugar. Since I used unbleached whole cane sugar, there are visible brown flecks, as this sugar doesn't get incorporated into the butter like regular table sugar.

Add egg and vanilla, and beat until nice and airy. Apparently, the more whipped it is, the better.

Add dry ingredients along with the nutmeg. When well combined, chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

Roll 1/2 an inch thick and cut into cookies with desired cutters.

Place on baking sheet and bake 12-15 minutes

Allow to cool on wire rack.

Now, what to ice them with? I had to decorate Halloween cookies as part of a Wilton demo a few weeks ago, and I used up all my black and orange food coloring then. I was too lazy this late in the game to go out and buy more, so these don't have the traditional Halloween color scheme. Plus, I really wanted to try a less junky icing recipe. This one is from Elana Amsterdam's Almond Flour Cookbook, and the only thing I did differently was use maple syrup instead of agave nectar. I wasn't sure how much I would need, and as I was running low on coconut oil by this point I only made a half recipe. Posted below is the full recipe. Sorry, I don't have photos of the process because by the time I got around to making this last night it was dark out, and the lighting in my kitchen can a bit unpredictable.

Creamy Coconut Frosting

1 cup coconut milk
1 cup maple syrup
pinch of salt
2 tablespoon arrowroot
1 tablespoon water
1 1/4 cup coconut oil (melted over very gentle heat)

Heat coconut milk, maple syrup, and salt in a saucepan until boiling. Lower heat and simmer 8-10 minutes.

Mix water and arrowroot to form a paste, and add to coconut milk and syrup mixture. Turn heat up to high and whisk for 1 minute until thickened. Make sure the arrowroot gets thoroughly mixed in. You don't want little starchy blobs in your icing. Trust me.

Well, I do have this picture. This is what it looks like after about 5 minutes in the freezer.
With an electric mixer, beat the mixture while slowly adding the coconut oil. Place in freezer for 25-30 minutes, until opaque. Whip until thick and fluffy. Store in refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Had I used agave nectar instead of maple syrup, it probably would be closer to white.
So, you want to see the finished cookies? This icing doesn't spread as smoothly as proper buttercream, and I had to add a little coconut milk to thin it down a wee bit in order to work with it. Had I left it out at room temperature longer to soften, I maybe wouldn't have had to do that, but I'm impatient. Since I don't have the appropriate food coloring, these are au natural, decorated using the icing above with some melted chocolate and chocolate chips for the details.

I ran out of chocolate. That's why the far left jack-o-lantern has half a mouth.


Anna Patricia said...

VERY COOL! Darla, I just bought a KitchenAid but my white icing gets the black stains from the bowl when I scrape it off the sides. I can't see any scratches on my metal bowl. Any thoughts? Comments?

SlashnoTheAwesomeDude:-) said...

These cookies are AWESOME!! I enjoyed making them with you!! I love these cookies!!! 10/10!!!

cakedarla said...

Hi Anna, thanks for reading and commenting! I don't know what to say about the bowl staining your icing. I've had my mixer for nearly 13 years, and I don't remember having anything like that happen. Have you contacted KitchenAid?

Anna Patricia said...

Not yet, I got it from Crate and Barrel... I should work on it today!

LeisaHammett said...

Thanks for sharing on MLM.

Unknown said...

Thanks for linking this up. Awesome recipe. My adventures in gluten free baking have always ended poorly. (My mom has celiac's disease. I think we'll try and make her some sugar cookies for Christmas!)

cakedarla said...

Thank you for reading and commenting! I know the frustration, Maple Leaf Mommy. There are many things I try that don't turn out well. Gluten-free baking involves a lot of trial and error, that's for sure.