Monday, December 5, 2011

Gluten Free Gingerbread Cookies

"Oh No!  Please don't eat me!"  Ceci helped with this one, makes me laugh.

I love holiday time!  I was so fortunate to grow up with some wonderful family traditions, like decorating gingerbread houses with our family friends.  My brother and I would so look forward to this event every year, because we got to see our friends, the Arndt family, and eat candy till we burst.  Another favorite holiday tradition was the Safeway Bakery Cookie Bake, with my dad's entire family.  My grandma worked for the Safeway Bakery and once a year the company shut down the bread making process for a day and invited all the worker's families in to bake cookies.  They sold dough (glutinous of course) in 10 lb lumps of either sugar or gingerbread, and gave you HUGE cookie sheets to run them through their ovens.  It was fantastic, even if there was gluten, I just loved being around everyone and the smell of delicious cookies and holiday music filling the air of this enormous factory.

Now that I'm grown and have my own family, and live far away from my parents, I work very hard to build traditions for us.  We are so lucky to have wonderful friends who love to be a part of our traditions.  I have been doing a gingerbread decorating party for a few years now, and really enjoy it.  Last year I made the houses out of Gluten Free Gingerbread and was sorely disappointed!  So this year I went back to making the houses out of cardboard, it's so much easier!  I figure that no one actually eats the house in the end because it's so stale and awful, so why not start with a sturdier easier method.  I felt guilty for making the houses cardboard, and then made a two batches of Gluten Free Gingerbread cookies to send home with our guests.  Plus it gives something else to decorate at the party besides the houses.

I couldn't be happier with the way the cookies came out, I prefer soft, thick cookies, and these are perfectly spiced with a touch of sweetness, and are even more delicious when you add powdered sugar icing on top.  I make my icing with orange juice so it adds a citrus flavor to complement the perfect spiciness of the cookies.  I also crumbled the cookies over my bowl of egg nog ice cream last night and was very happy.  I think I would eat them for breakfast too, if I didn't have a 3 year old watching my every move, being responsible doesn't always taste good.  Ceci loves the cookies too, sneaking nibbles of the dough while we are cutting the cookies.  She really enjoys the decorating part too, I love that she just wants to sit and decorate for so long, it's wonderful, I think she has more patience for it than I do some times.

I do have to warn that I wouldn't use this recipe to make a gingerbread house, it's too soft of a dough to hold up to the structural demands of decorating.  Plus it tastes delicious and who wants to waste that on a house that no one eats.

Can you guess which one Ceci decorated?  

Gluten Free Gingerbread Cookies

1/3   Cup Soy Flour
2/3   Cup Brown Rice Flour
1      Cup Sweet Rice Flour
1      Cup Tapioca Starch
1 1/2 tsp Xanthan Gum
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
3/4    tsp Baking Soda
1/4    tsp Salt
1       Tbs Ground Ginger
1 3/4 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/4    tsp Ground Cloves

6      Tbs Unsalted Butter (softened)
3/4   Cup Brown Sugar (packed)
1      Egg
1/2   Cup Dark Molasses
2      tsp Vanilla

Preheat oven to 375 degrees (F), and prepare 2 baking sheets lined with silpat or parchment paper and set aside.  Pick out cookie cutter shapes to use.

Wisk together dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and set aside.  Cream Butter and Brown sugar on medium speed in a stand mixer until combined.  Add egg molasses and vanilla and beat until incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl if needed.
Gradually add in dry ingredients until well blended and smooth.  Divide dough in half, wrap in plastic and allow to rest at room temp for 2-8 hours.  Dough will be incredibly soft at first and will firm up when left out.
Working on a lightly floured surface roll out one ball of dough to 1/4 inch thick and cut out cookies, place the cookies on the prepared baking sheets and bake in oven for 5-7 minutes, depending on the size of the cookies, and preferred doneness of cookies.  Gather the dough scraps and re-roll and cut until all the dough is used, or dough is to tough to roll out.  Repeat rolling, cutting and baking for the second ball of dough.
Allow cookies to cool completely and then frost and decorate with Powdered Sugar Icing Recipe.  After the Icing hardens you can pack these cookies up into pretty boxes and give to friends, just remember to separate layers of cookies with wax paper so they don't stick to one another.

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!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Gluten Free TV!

Last night we watched ABC's "Man Up!", it was an episode about a whole family starting a gluten free diet.  It's not a show we normally watch, but Tim had seen the write up in TV Guide and DVR'ed it for us.  It was pretty funny!  The banter was great, although they didn't have the greatest grasp on what was gluten free and what wasn't, at one point suggesting that potato chips and gummy bears had gluten.  Still it was fun to see them make gluten intolerance entertaining.  I think one of my favorite exchanges was:

"Gluten, isn't that the stuff in light bulbs?"
"Oh, gluten, you mean Aquaman's nemesis!"

Awesome!!  Because there have been a good many days of my life time where that's how I felt trying to explain gluten and why I can't consume it.

Anyway if you have 24 minutes or so, and are looking for something funny, check it out.  Here is the link

ABC's Man Up! Disciplining the Keens, through

and Man Up! Disciplining the Keens, through Hulu.