I went to a holiday party and saw many dear friends. Today as the snow flies by my window, I remember our conversations and feel grateful to know these lovely persons. Carson City is a wonderful place to be for the holidays.
To augment my snowy-day reverie, I decided to bake cookies. Sugar cookies, the kind I used to make with my mother, and later with my children. The kind that make a big mess, a lasting memory, and the house smell good.
So, here is my gluten-free, dairy-free version of an old favorite. I use my own flour mix, Help Yourself, It’s Gluten-Free! It’s available at the shop inside Sierra Acupuncture in Carson City, and at Great Basin Co-op in Reno. More recipes are available to download at the HelpYour self-GF.com website.
For cookie cutters and icing/decorating — or not!
2/3 cup unsalted butter or canola-based margarine
1 cup powdered sugar
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 cups HY-GF Basic Flour Mix
2/3 cup sweet rice flour
1 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon plus one teaspoon vanilla
Cream the margarine and sugars together in a large mixing bowl. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Sift all the dry ingredients together and add to the margarine mixture. Stir in the vanilla. The dough should form a thick ball that is slightly tacky to the touch.
Turn the dough out onto a rice-floured sheet of plastic wrap and knead it for one minute.
Chill the dough, wrapped in rice-floured plastic wrap, for 3 to 4 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Using a board and rolling pin lightly floured with sweet rice flour, roll out the dough to a thickness of 1/4-inch. (A thicker dough will make chewier cookies. The 1/4-inch produces cookies with a slight crispness.) Cut the rolled-out dough into the shapes you want, and bake the cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet for 7 to 9 minutes, until the edges just begin to color.
Let the cookies cool thoroughly before icing.
Makes enough for two dozen cookies; double the recipe to ice the whole batch of cookies made with the previous recipe
1 cup confectioners (powdered) sugar
2 teaspoons almond milk or milk
2 teaspoons agave nectar or light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Mix the sugar and almond milk together until smooth. Beat in the agave nectar until the mixture is smooth and glossy. If the icing gets too thick, thin it by adding more agave nectar.
Divide the icing into as many small bowls as you will have colors, add the desired food coloring and decorate away!
Makes 3 or 4 dozen cookies, depending on the size of the cutters and how thin you roll the dough.
Tip: I roll out the dough left over after the cookies have been cut and bake it, again for 8 minutes at 350 degrees. When those bits cool, I turn them into crumbs in my food processor and freeze them to make cheesecake crust or to crumble over ice cream or cooked fruit.
Carson City’s Gluten-free Discussion Group is scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 11. Please email me if you want more details.
Susan Hart has been cooking gluten-free for 17 years. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.