Sunday, September 19, 2010

Ceci's Birthday Treats, Gluten Free Sugar Cookies

At Ceci's 2nd Birthday party I wanted to provide fun activities for the kids so I got some aprons for them to decorate with markers after I added Mickey Mouse designs to them.  Once the aprons were done and we had eaten some dinner I broke out the cookies for the kids to decorate with royal icing which I colored and we had sprinkles, marshmallows, and raisins.  The raisins were a huge hit that I didn't expect.

I previously used this cookie recipe last winter when I held a cookie swap at the house, everyone said it was so good and disappeared quickly at their own home.  So I figured it would be a good one for the kids to use, and it's deliciously plain and a good way to deliver icing and other treats to your mouth.  Because as far as I'm concerned that's one of the most important functions of a good cookie, how much frosting can it structurally hold and get into my mouth.

Gluten Free Rich Sugar Cookies

2     Sticks of Unsalted Butter
2/3  Cup Sugar
1     Egg
1/4  tsp Baking powder
1/8  tsp Salt
1 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/3  Cup Soy Flour
1    Cup Sweet Rice Flour
1    Cup Tapioca Starch
1    tsp Xanthum Gum

Cream butter and sugar together in mixer on med-high speed for a minute, add in Egg, Baking powder, salt, and vanilla, mix until combined.  Scrape down sides of bowl and mix again if needed to thoroughly incorporate ingredients.  In a separate bowl, mix flours and xanthum gum, add flour mixture to butter mix one cup at a time, with mixer on low.  Once flour is entirely mixed in, run mixer on medium high for about a 30 seconds to make sure everything is blended in.  Turn off mixer, remove bowl from machine, split dough into two portions and wrap each one tightly in plastic wrap.  Place dough in fridge for about an hour.
While waiting for dough to chill, collect desired cookie cutters, rolling mat, rolling pin, spatula, extra flour (I prefer Sweet Rice flour), cookie sheet, silpat (I can't live without mine), and wire cooling rack.  Yes, sugar cookies are a lot of work, but I figure they are worth it.
Remove one dough ball from fridge. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F).  Generously flour rolling mat, and rolling pin with extra flour.  Press out ball of dough onto mat and roll out with rolling pin, rotating and flipping dough every few rolls.  Work until dough is about 1/4 inch thick, begin cutting out cookies and placing on cookie sheet (with silpat in sheet, if you have one).  Place cookies about 1 inch apart to accommodate for spreading in the oven.  Bake cookies for 6-9 minutes until golden brown around the edge.  Place on a wire rack to cool.  Scraps of dough can be combined and rolled out again for more cookies, be aware that continuing to add more flour for dusting can result in a tough cookie.  I usually only recycle my scraps 1-2 times before giving up on them.  Repeat the process for the other ball of dough until all dough is made and you have a bunch of delicious cookies.

Wait until cookies are completely cooled before icing, you can use either a royal icing if you like a thicker layer of frosting, or I like to use a powdered sugar icing with food coloring to make all sorts of fun designs.

Christmas cookies, Ceci had a blue cast at the time.

Powdered Sugar Icing

2   Cups Powdered Sugar
1 1/2 Tbs liquid (milk or orange juice, I like the flavor of orange juice with the cookies)

Mix in a bowl until smooth.  Adjust consistency as needed by adding more powdered sugar or liquid.  Add food coloring and place into a piping bag, or a zip top bag with a bottom corner cut off.  Decorate cookies as desired, and ENJOY!

Some decorating inspiration:  I warn you I am not very good at decorating perfectly.  Some of the really "interesting" ones were decorated by Ceci and her friends.

Blue duck with hidden sprinkles (Ceci's)
Can you tell Ceci loves sprinkles?

Raw cookies with colored sugar
Stained glass cookies, sort of