Browned Butter Wedding Cake Cookies

These miniature snowball cookies were the foundation of the Christmas cookie baking when I was a kid.  They were always made every year, sometimes a second batch had to be baked as we ate them all before the big day!  You can use pecans but I rarely do; walnuts are cheaper and I sort of prefer their flavor.  Some people call them Mexican Wedding Cookies but we generally called them Russian Teacakes…but today I am giving you a variation I plan to try this Christmas baking season. I am making them with browned butter today! No change in ingredients; one extra step.

For me it is not Christmas without these cookies so I was extremely pleased to find a great gf recipe. My sisters think they are better tasting than the old regular recipe!

They are super easy to make with not too many ingredients.  Be careful lifting them off the pan as they are delicate until fully cooled. The texture and subtle flavor of this GF version is actually superior to the wheat flour recipe of my childhood. When you bite into one it shatters into a delicious mouthful of sweet cookie. They are delightful with a cup of tea or coffee.  My family clamors for a few to take home!

If you like them really sweet sprinkle on extra powdered sugar, less of it makes them perfect for those who are not used to too much sweetness. No one will ever know they are GF and you will get complements on their flavor and texture.  This recipe is from Annalise Roberts’ fabulous Gluten-Free Baking Classics with some minor changes by me and the browned butter idea which comes from Bon Appetit.  Enjoy: they are rather addictive cookies!

xmas cookies 006

Browned Butter Wedding Cake Cookies

1 cup salted butter, room temperature

6 tbsp. powdered (confectioners) sugar

2 tsp. vanilla extract

2 cups brown rice mix (King Arthur basic blend or see recipe below)

1 tsp xanthan gum

1 cup walnuts or pecans chopped fine

Confectioner’s sugar for sprinkling

Directions: Heat butter in a heavy sauce pan; swirl it around and NO NOT walk away! It can go from yellow to dark dark brown in a few seconds so stand there and watch closely until it gets lightly brown and then pull the pan off the heat and immediately pour into  your stand mixing bowl. Let it stand until it is mostly congealed into a solid mass. Then beat butter and powdered sugar in large bowl of stand mixer until light and creamy.  Add vanilla, beat in.  Add flour and gum, mix in until well blended, stir in walnuts until distributed.  Chill dough for an hour.

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Form dough into 1 inch balls. Roll in powdered sugar if you like.  Place on cookie sheet lightly sprayed with Pam (not the baker’s version that has flour).  Place about 1 ½ inches apart.  Bake 13 to 15 minutes until lightly browned on top and bottom.  Cool on pan for 5 min and then sprinkle with lots of powdered sugar before placing on wire rack to cool. I like to sift it onto the cookies so the coating is even.  You could put a sheet of wax paper under the wire rack to catch the excess sugar.  Store well wrapped: in airtight container, in fridge for a week or freezer for up to 30 days.  You could store unbaked dough in fridge for a few days.

Brown Rice Flour Mix base mix  (same as King Arthur gf blend)
2 c brown rice flour

2/3 c potato starch *not potato flour

1/3 c tapioca flour

Note: This wonderful cookie was first posted December 2014 on my blog.  Minor revisions have been made since then.

Hot and Sour Chinese Chicken Soup

Leftover roasted chicken, a can of bamboo shoots, freshly made chicken broth and scallions.  What to make?  Ah hah! Chinese hot and sour soup; even better than take out ever was when I could eat it and super simple.  Lots of stuff in it but just measure and dump basically.

Notes: you can use leftover roast chicken or pork as the protein or tofu if you want to be vegetarian. I like all the vegetables but leave any of them out if you wish. You can even leave out the noodles; I would use the cornstarch then to help it be a tad thicker.

hot and sour soup in pot

Hot and Sour Chinese Chicken Soup

Ingredients:

5 cups homemade chicken broth

about 3/4 cup broken rice noodles; I prefer extra wide size

2 garlic cloves

about 2 tsp. freshly grated ginger root

1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

2-3 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar; can use red wine vinegar

1 Tbsp. chili sauce

3 Tbsp. gf soy sauce

1/4 tsp. sriracha sauce

2 tsp. brown sugar

1 stalk celery cut on the diagonal into thin slices

1/2 cup thinly sliced red pepper; I cut it into 1 inch lengths

4 oz mushrooms; shiitake are traditional but you can use any fresh mushroom, sliced

1 8 oz can bamboo shoots; drained

1/2 cup petite frozen peas

1/2 tsp. black pepper

2 cups roasted chicken cut in small chunks

2 eggs

2 tsp. toasted sesame oil

4 green onions (scallions)

Pour the broth into a large saucepan. Start it heating on medium.  While it heats heat 3 cups of water to boiling and add 1/2-3/4 cup broken rice noodles; I used extra wide size. Let stand 9 minutes. Add minced garlic, grated ginger, two vinegars, chili sauce, soy sauce, sriracha sauce, brown sugar, celery slices, red pepper strips, bamboo shoots and mushrooms to the heating broth. Cook 5 minutes. Add peas, black pepper and roasted chicken. Then the rice noodles which you have drained. Beat the eggs up and add them, and then the sesame oil and the scallions. I like to add the white part of my scallions a minute earlier than this as I don’t like them raw; up to you! Stir as you add the eggs.  Turn off heat. Taste and adjust seasoning.  Pour into bowls; makes about 5 servings.hot and sour soup in bowl

Notes; some folks add corn starch mixed with cold water to thicken it. I like the broth thin and brothy but you can do the cornstarch; 2 Tbsp. mixed with same amount cold water; add after the initial 5 minutes of cooking. This recipe is the one where you really need that homemade chicken broth; it is critical to the perfect flavor but use what ever you have and all will be amazed at your Chinese cooking skills. Enjoy!