Chocolate Chip Cookies…Delish of Course

Searching for the holy grail of GF baking: home made chocolate chip cookies.  Bet you thought I was going to say some sort of bread!  That’s another post entirely.  Anyway, when I went GF 7 years ago I made a batch of chocolate chippers that were gf. They were rather sweet and didn’t taste all that great.  I keep looking for something that would approximate the real deal cookies I loved all my life.  Recipes I came across seemed to require that I buy weird vegetable shortenings or use Crisco. I draw the line at Crisco. Or they used odd flour blends and I feel it’s just not worth it to me to add another flour mixture just for one cookie recipe.  So I had not made chippers in years.  Missed them….desperately.  Store ones I tried were small, hard, drab in flavor and incredibly pricey. Until I went to King Arthur’s website and looked in their cookie recipes.  There it was: cookies made with the same flour blend I use and made with butter, one of my few chosen shortenings.  Glowing reviews and advice; said to make them and refrigerate a day or better yet, freeze them formed and ready to bake in a few minutes.  Comments about how much they are like Tollhouse cookies, great texture and flavor.  Bingo, this seemed so hopeful. So…Less than a week later I made up a batch; Goal scored; perfect brown sugar nutty flavor and texture; not too hard or too soft. I am a happy chocolate chip cookie lover at last!

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I put some in my cookie jar, closed it tightly and 4 days later those cookies (what remains) are still delicious. That is pretty long for a gluten free baked good. By the fifth afternoon my last cookie in there was getting soft so suggest not holding them for more than 4 days in a jar. I love that they can be frozen ready to bake in like 12 minutes.

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chocolate chip cookies on rack

This is my go to chocolate chip cookie recipe; none other will do. I love that I can freeze them ready to bake and in 12 minutes I have warm fresh gooey cookies!

So, if you are still looking for a great gf chocolate chip cookie look no further: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/gluten-free-chocolate-chip-cookies-recipe.  Enjoy!

Originally published in 2016.

Meyer Lemon Tartlets; Delicate and Delightful

We were lucky enough last month to get a small shipment of fresh Meyer lemons from my brother who lives in Texas and has a tree in his back yard. I saw a bag of 4/5 of them in Giant Food Market this past week so they are available locally.

I have made plenty of full sized lemon tarts but not so much in my small 3 inch across flat bottomed tartlet pans, I made this recipe maybe a couple of years ago. I have two 4 piece pans so I could make up to 8 at a time. I made 6 tartlets and had a tiny bit of filling left over. 

We ate a couple last night for dessert and I served them with full fat plain Greek yogurt from Aldi’s which has great flavor and a thick smooth texture. It is rich and still somehow light.  A better topping than ice cream which melts…rather unfortunate in a lemon tart and the yogurt is less work than making whipped cream. StonyField Organic Low Fat is my preferred choice for great quality yogurt you might find in Giant or Wegmans.

I make my standard pie crust dough and chilled it before rolling out chunks of it. I didn’t make thick fancy edges; smaller edges being better for putting the lemon filling as the forward taste of these tartlets. I ended up with six shells.

Notes: You can make these tartlets with regular lemons that you freshly juice. You might want to up the sugar by ¼ cup if you do that.  Also, these tarts should be stored in the fridge until serving. Enjoy!

tartlet shells

lemon tartlet

Meyer Lemon Tartlets  makes six

Crust:

1 c plus 2 Tbsp. brown rice flour mix (at bottom of recipe)

2 Tbsp. sweet rice flour

½ tsp xanthan gum

¼ tsp salt

6 Tbsp. cold butter cut into 6 chunks

1 large egg

2 tsp fresh orange or lemon juice

Directions: Mix dry ingredients in bowl of stand electric mixer.  Add butter and mix until crumbly and resembling coarse meal.  Add egg and juice.  Mix until it comes together into big chunks.  Shape into a ball with your hands. Put it on a crust sized piece of wax paper (14 x 14 inches more or less), flatten the crust ball some; put on top of it another piece of wax paper and chill it all in your fridge 15-20 minutes.  Roll chunks of it out to thin circles and fit into tartlet pans. Mine have removable disc bottoms and I highly recommend them. Prick the bottoms with a fork to prevent puffing up and bake at 375 degrees for about 11 or 12 minutes until lightly browned. Let cool.  You need six tartlet shells as the filling is enough to fill six.

Lemon Filling:
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The Best Lemon Squares

I’ve been making lemon squares for years; including all the years I’ve been gluten free. Tried a few recipes; okay but my clear favorite for taste and easiness to make is the one out of my beloved “Gluten-Free Baking Classics” by Annalise Roberts; cannot stress enough how reliable and tasty her stuff bakes up. This one definitely falls into both those categories.

I used the wonderful Meyer lemons my brother sends me; so delicate a flavor and perfectly scented. Use whatever lemons you have as this is a delightful treat that even your non-gf friends will clamor for.

lemon bar

Lemon bar with lots of powdered sugar!

“The” Lemon Squares

Crust:
1 cup King Arthur basic gf blend flour
¼ c sugar
1 tsp. xanthan gum
5 Tbsp. butter.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. I put the oven shelf near the bottom of the oven. In your stand mixer, blend flour, sugar and gum; add butter which you cut up into 8-10 smaller pieces. Blend until small crumbles. While it does that spray an 8 inch metal pan with cooking spray and dust with gf flour. Pour crumbs into pan and spread evenly as possible into corners and up a bit of the sides. Press a bit but not too hard to get the best result. This recipe’s filling doesn’t go very far up the sides so just a bit up. Bake 15 minutes.

While it bakes make the filling; I use the same mixing bowel and paddle. FYI: I Have a great new paddle with a scraper edge that my guy bought me; it is fantastic at mixing batters better; far less scaping necessary. Best gift in kitchen!

3 large eggs
¾ cup sugar
2 Tbsp. KA basic gf blend flour
½ tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
2 tsp. grated fresh lemon rind; then juice it for
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (2 lemons should do it)
½ tsp. pure lemon extract

Beat eggs in the mixing bowl after the crust goes into the pan until kinda foamy. Then add rest of ingredients and mix well; be sure the flour is blended in. Pour over the warm crust and bake for 20 more minutes. Let cool before cutting. I like to sprinkle mine with a bit of powdered sugar; 1-2 tbsp worth.
I think it tastes even better the second day. Needs to rest a bit and let the flavors ripen to their fullest.

Thumbprint Cookies. 2.0 GF and Delish!

As children we each had our favorite cookies to make, this was traditionally my next older brothers’ to bake but once grown up I began to make them ‘cause they are addictively tasty.  I love it made with apricot jam, you can used chopped slivered almonds instead of walnuts for that version.  But, any flavor good quality jam will work, pick what you like.  I used two flavors this time; homemade peach jam and some store bought but excellently flavored raspberry jam. Like getting two cookies out of one batch of dough.

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A few  Christmases ago a dear friend gave me a new cookbook “Gluten-Free Christmas Cookies” by Ellen Brown.  I have tried several recipes and all were fantastic including this one, I swapped the candied red and green cherries for jam, but you can go old school and use those freaky candied cherries.

Jam and Walnut Thumbprints

Ingredients:

1 ½ cup white rice flour

1 cup sifted confectioner’s sugar

½ cup cornstarch

1 tsp. xanthan gum

1 tsp. cream of tartar

Pinch of salt

2 sticks unsalted butter cut into thin slices

1 lg egg

1 tbsp. whole milk

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup finely chopped walnuts

½ cup jam; raspberry, peach, strawberry

INSTRUCTIONS: Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl food processor, steel blade, blend briefly.  Add butter to work bowl and process off an on until it resembles coarse meal.

Combine egg, milk and vanilla in a small bowl; whisk. Drizzle into the work bowl, pulse about 10-12 times until it forms a stiff dough.  If it doesn’t come together, add more milk a tsp. at a time. I added a tsp. more of milk to get the dough to form up.

Chill the dough for 15 to 20 minutes.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Put racks in the middle of the oven. Place chopped walnuts in a wide shallow bowl and roll 1 1/2 inch balls of dough.  Roll them in the chopped walnuts, place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.  Press an indent in with a finger and fill with about ½ tsp. jam.  Bake 14-15 minutes, until just firm but not browned.  They will be very delicate to the touch.  Let cool 2-3 minutes on sheet before carefully moving them to a cooling rack using a metal pancake turner. I bumped a couple and they just fell apart on the sheet; very fragile while hot.  They will solidify once they cool.  I store mine in cookie tins or Tupperware containers.  They won’t last as long as wheat cookies but they get snapped up fast so that shouldn’t be a problem.  I supposed you could freeze them for a week or two if necessary.

They are not too sweet and so delicate, great with a cup of tea or coffee.  As good, if not better, then when I made them with all purpose wheat flour years ago before I had to go gluten free.  Your family will be amazed that they are gf, no one you serve them to will ever guess.  Totally tasty and fun to make with your kids! Enjoy.

 

Christmas Baking: Moravian Spice Cookies

I love both my cookbooks by Annalise Roberts,  this recipe is from “The Heirloom Collection”…have made some really tasty baked goods from it like my apple custard tart.  I blogged that the other week. Today I bring you her Moravian Spice Cookies. I chose them for many reasons – the memories of spicy cookies being foremost.  I think you will love this cookie for its flavor and crisp texture. I live not far from Bethlehem which is the home base for the Moravian Church.  You can buy these cookies in the Moravian Book Shop but not gluten free.  So now those who can’t eat gluten can have them to enjoy this holiday season.  xmas cookies 007

You can cut them out in shapes but I found I liked to mostly make diamonds using a sharp knife. I did do some hearts and ornament shapes but it was tough going to get them off the wax paper and onto the baking sheet without distorting their original shape. You can take her advice and chill them further to facilitate the moving process.  I do love them any shape they are!

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Moravian Spice Cookies

1 1/4 cup GF flour:  suggest brown rice blend (recipe below)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. cloves
¾ tsp. xanthan gum
¼ tsp. salt
3 tbsp. butter (room temp)
¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup molasses

Directions: First combine the dry ingredients in a small bowl; mix well.
Beat shortening, brown sugar and molasses in your big mixer bowl until smooth, add flour mixture and blend until well combined. Shape dough into two disks, chill about 30 minutes, lay between two sheets of wax paper, roll into a very thin (1/8 inch thick) sheet. Cut into 2 inch or less shapes, move with spatula onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. If they are sticky and hard to lift up return the sheet to the freezer for a few minutes until they are stiff enough to move. Bake at 325 degrees for 8-11 minutes. Make sure they are fully baked or they won’t be crisp. Leave on the cookie sheet a minute before moving to a cooling rack. Store in an airtight cookie jar or tin.

Spicy and crisp. Great with a cup of coffee or tea! Annalise says you can reduce the spices for less zing; 3/4 tsp. cinnamon, ¾ tsp. ginger and ½ or less of cloves.

Brown Rice Flour Mix (same as King Arthur Basic GF flour)
2 c brown rice flour
2/3 c potato starch
1/3 c tapioca flour

First published on my blog in December 2016

Holiday Cookies: Nut Tassies…Terrific!

Nut tassies are a local favorite around here in eastern Pennsylvania. They look like a tiny pecan pie, the size of one big bite! Heavenly sweet and best made with pecans.  I have eaten them at many people’s homes. In all fairness I never made them when I could still eat regular gluten filled white flour. Perhaps it is that I was able to just snag them off a cookie plate at someone’s holiday party.  Once that is no longer a possibility I started looking for a recipe and found a great recipe on food.com, there it was; a classic tassie recipe complete with cream cheese dough for the pie crust and a filling almost identical to the traditional filling. And it was gluten free for folks like me…eureka!

The first time I made them: for a family Christmas gathering and I whipped up a batch of these tassies.  Even after chilling the dough my crust was very crumbly and with trepidation I rolled a ball a bit over an inch in diameter and it held together. Then I dropped it in my mini muffin tin and used my finger to spread it out and up the sides.  It worked and the tassies were simply delish!

As to the pecan filling, I didn’t chop my nuts really fine; left some in chunks to give a bigger texture which I prefer. The filing is so simple; chop the nuts, then dump the sugar and eggs in a mixing bowl, add the softened butter and the vanilla and nuts; stir and it is ready to spoon into the little crust cups you just created.

 

 

Reposted from December 2016.

Christmas Cookies: Kiffles are a Classic

Kiffles are a local favorite when it comes to cookies, particularly Christmas cookies.  The Kiffle Kitchen outside of Bath, PA has made their reputation on their outstanding kiffles, sold on line! I used to enjoy them but never took the time to make them until a few Christmases ago.  I had purchased “Gluten-Free Baking Classics The Heirloom Collection” by Annalise G. Roberts and page 170 had the answer to my search; Rugelach, Kifles, and Kolaki.

I made a batch of kiffles (the preferred local spelling) on Christmas Eve 2015.  I just did jam filling: apricot and raspberry. The cream cheese dough in formed into two discs and chilled before rolling out between wax paper sheets into an 8 inch square. I did find myself chilling it a bit to keep it from getting too soft.  After rolling, cut each big square into 16 two inch squares and put a tsp. of best quality jam on each; fold together so the filling peeps out both ends and chill some more on the baking sheet.  I brushed them with heavy cream and sprinkled a touch of granulated sugar on before they hit the hot oven. The cute packets of dough and jam bake up lightly browned and delicate. Success was felt when my mom ate a few that evening and her smile told me how yummy they were.

Next time I made them with the nut and cinnamon filling that is very traditional around the Lehigh Valley.  Yummers!  Stores sell special kiffle filling meant just for these cookies but I don’t think it is gluten free due to cross contamination issues and therefore not safe for me to enjoy.

So if you are gluten free and crave kiffles; this cookbook by Annalise Roberts is the place to find a workable recipe.  She has never failed me yet with her desserts and I thank my lucky stars her cookbooks are on my shelf to guide me through holiday, parties and everyday meals. I don’t mean to sound like a salesperson for her but I can’t say enough great things about this new cookbook and her prior best seller Baking Classics – my copy of that is well worn and I couldn’t exist without it.  This kiffle recipe is way too involved to type out for you and I think that if you are serious about baking gf you need to check it out and get your own copy, real soon! Here are the dough ingredients to help you in deciding whether  you want to make it:

1 cup gf flour, King Arthur Basic blend

2 tbsp. sugar

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. xanthan gum

1/4 tsp. salt

6 Tbsp. softened butter

4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

You can use apricot or raspberry jam or what ever you like; be careful as some kiffle fillings that are ready made have traces of wheat flour in them.

Note: when I was first looking for kiffles I did a search on line for a gluten free kiffle recipe and didn’t really find one; lots of other cookies but these are quite a specialty and not made by most home cooks except in areas where they are popular and what you can buy is not gluten free.  Let me know if you can provide any other recipes but I am very happy with the one I used and recommend to you for your own holiday baking. Enjoy!

Originally published December 2015.