Thursday, January 8, 2015

12 Days of Cookies

It's that time of year again, when holiday baking takes center stage. Whether you bake all year 'round or just for the holidays, you probably have an arsenal of your favorite "go-to" recipes. Personally, I prefer to mix up my traditional recipes with new ones, especially when there are people on my recipient list that have specific dietary restrictions.

Last year I was honored to be a part of Local Savour's 12 Days of Cookies blogger round-up. I'm equally honored to have been asked to take part again this year and submit one of my favorite cookies. I have several friends on my cookie list that are gluten intolerant so I thought I would share a couple of my favorite gluten free cookie recipes.

The first cookie, a Chocolate Orange Truffle, came from testing a number of gluten-free flour blends, with mostly frustrating results. I ended up trying it with no flour and that proved to be the winner. That was last year when I had only just started dabbling in the gluten-free world.

Now a year later I'm a bit braver and hopefully wiser when it comes to gluten-free baking - not to mention all of the additional options now available with gluten-free flours.  I was only asked to contribute one cookie for this year's round-up but I'm a girl of options so I'm throwing in my second favorite gluten-free cookie. Inspired by the ginger cookies from Starbucks, I came up with this gluten-free version. Whether you try one of the delicious choices from Local Savour or one from your own family recipe box, remember to take the time to enjoy your sweet success... I'm jus' sayin!



Chocolate Orange Truffle Cookies

3 cups powdered sugar
2/3 cup cocoa powder (I used Hershey's Special Dark cocoa)
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
3 egg whites (at room temperature)
1 tbs. of orange juice
2 tbs of orange zest
1 tbs. of vanilla
2 cups of chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°. Place parchment lined cookie sheet in freezer to chill.

In a large mixing bowl with a whisk, mix the sugar, cocoa and salt. With a wooden spoon, mix the egg whites, orange juice, zest and vanilla. When mixed well, stir in the chips and incorporate well. Place tablespoon sized mounds on baking sheet and bake 12-13 minutes until they have a nice sheen and hold there shape. Cool and enjoy with a glass of milk. No, really, you will need something to drink with these bad boys. They are decadent and rich. Oh, and gluten free! *Insert jazz hands here*



Gluten Free Spicy Ginger Cookies

2 1/4 cups of gluten-free flour (I use Namaste)
2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. clove
3 tbs. of minced candied ginger
3/4 cups unsalted butter 
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup molasses
Granulated sugar for rolling

Heat oven to 375. Line 2 baking dishes with parchment paper.

Sift together the flour, baking soda , salt and dry spices. Set aside.

In a mixer cream together butter, sugar and molasses. Add egg. Slowly mix in the flour mixture and then the candied ginger. When all is incorporated, use a 1/4 cup measure to make dough scoops. Roll dough in granulated sugar. Place cookie dough ball on cookie sheet. Moisten your fingers with water and gently press down on top of sugared dough. Bake for 12 minutes (rotating at 7 minutes) until they have spread and are firm to touch. Remove from oven and allow to cool. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Warm Cookies, Molasses Milk & Changes



For the first time in 24 years I find my mornings peaceful and sad at the same time. Peaceful because I'm no longer getting up at 6am, rushing to make breakfast and lunch for my kids. Sad because this has been a treasured chore that I have always taken pride in.  Making sure my kiddos started their mornings off with something yummy and making their lunches was fun for me, especially since they always looked forward to lunch and it being their favorite subject at school.

Now that my youngest is driving herself to school and has insisted she is old enough to take this "burden" chore off my hands, I find myself quite melancholy.  You could call it the start of "empty nest" syndrome, but I don't remember going through this when my son left home. Perhaps because when he left I still had a little one at home to care for (they are 8 1/2 years apart).  Either way, I now need to find other things to do in the morning before work. One thing that I can still do and as my family claims they will never get tired of, is coming home to homemade cookies.

Today as I was thinking of what to bake, I was reminded of my childhood and how much I loved those warm cookies my Mom would make on occasion after school. Sometimes she would serve them with molasses milk. I know what your thinking... "Ewww!" But hey, when you grow up with something it becomes a memory of comfort later in life. So today, as I'm feeling kind of blue, I'm going to remind myself that even though this is just another change of season in life, it can still be made sweet by memories... and cookies and milk.  I'm jus' sayin'!


Brickle Drop Cookies (as found on the back of Heath Bits of Brickle Bits bag)

*I added 1 cup of semi sweet chocolate chips to this recipe

Ingredients

1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1-1/3 cups (8 oz. pkg.) HEATH BITS 'O BRICKLE Toffee Bits

Directions

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease cookie sheet or line with parchment paper.
2. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, vanilla and salt in large bowl until blended. Add eggs; beat well. Stir together flour, baking soda and cream of tartar; gradually add to butter mixture, beating until blended. Stir in toffee bits. Drop by heaping teaspoons onto prepared cookie sheet.
3. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool slightly; remove to wire rack. Cool completely. Makes about 6 dozen cookies.



Molasses Milk

For every 8 oz of milk (My Mom used whole milk but I am using almond milk now), stir in 1-2 Tbsp of good molasses.

You have to stir quite vigorously to get the sticky molasses to incorporate but that's half the fun. This is equally delicious served warm with a sprinkle of cinnamon.