Thursday, April 17, 2014

Gluten Free Sugar Cookies

This sugar cookie recipe from Alton Brown has never failed me, gluten or no gluten. I've been using it for years and has always been really consistent.  Lloyd loves helping now and these have even turned into our Christmas Eve baking tradition (I make them mint flavored during the holidays, they're wonderful).  I usually use my standard gluten-free flour mix but recently tried a new one I found in the Divvies cookbook that doesn't contain rice so all of Lloyd's class (one of his friends has a rice allergy) can enjoy the same Easter bunnies.  They turned out the same! I was so relieved. Both mixes follow the recipe. I also always use the egg replacer in lieu of a real egg, this recipe holds very well.  It would even be vegan if you swapped the butter for margarine.

Gluten Free, Egg Free, Dairy Free Sugar Cookies

3 cups gluten free AP flour blend (see below)
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp Xanthan Gum
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1 egg or equivalent egg replacer
1 Tbsp almond milk
1 tsp vanilla extract, peppermint extract, or orange/lemon zest (or other flavoring of your choice)
Powdered sugar, for rolling out dough

Sift together flour, baking powder, Xanthan gum, and salt. Set aside. Place butter and sugar in large bowl of electric stand mixer and beat until light in color. Add egg (or egg replacer), vanilla (or zest), and milk and beat to combine. Put mixer on low speed, gradually add flour, and mix until completely combined--scraping down sides to make sure all flour is incorporated. Divide the dough in half, wrap in Saran Wrap, and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight (recommended).  Dough will seem soft, refrigerate until it has hardened to standard cookie texture--I usually make the dough the day before and put it in the fridge until I'm ready.

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Sprinkle surface (silpat recommended) where you will roll out dough liberally with powdered sugar. Remove wrapped packs of dough from refrigerator, sprinkle rolling pin with powdered sugar, and roll out dough to 1/4-inch thick. Any thinner and they will be too crunchy, make sure to be consistent. Move the dough and check underneath frequently to make sure it is not sticking. When dough has begun to warm during rolling, wrap and place into the freezer to quickly cool back down. Dough will become sticky when too warm and difficult to handle. 

Cut into desired shape, place at least 1-inch apart on parchment paper, place entire sheet in freezer until cookies are all re-chilled, then remove and bake for 7 to 9 minutes or until cookies are just beginning to turn brown around the edges. Watch for browning carefully, they may seem soft when coming out but will continue to harden on cookie sheet. Let sit on baking sheet for at least 5 minutes after removal from oven, then move to complete cooling on wire rack. 
Standard Gluten Free Flour Blend
3 c brown rice flour
1 c potato starch
1 c tapioca starch/flour

Divvies Gluten Free Flour Blend (rice free)
2 c millet flour
2 c sorghum flour
1 1/3 c tapioca starch/flour
2/3 c potato starch

I always decorate with royal icing. Which is technically egg whites and powdered sugar. Because of Lloyd's egg allergy I now just mix sifted powdered sugar with a splash of almond milk until it's just thick enough to spread but not drip. Then let it harden. I even invested in dye-free food coloring and that has been really fun to decorate with without worrying about his dye allergy. You can add zest or mint extract (or oil) into the icing too for a nice extra flavor. 
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