Posted by: zebe912 | May 12, 2008

GF Cookie Caper

Considering it has been almost two weeks since I saved this post as a draft, I figured it was time to just post it and then edit it later if I find the time.  The formatting seems a little funky, so I hope it isn’t too hard to read.  “Fresh” from April 29, I give you my adventures in Gluten Free Cookie Baking:

Last night the meeting I had was canceled and I found myself at home, with no plans, and a sleeping husband (complete with sleeping kitty next to him). I had a moment of panic, not knowing what to do with myself and then after talking cake with Nina and checking out some blogs, I decided it was time to try baking.

I don’t ever remember being intimidated by baking or by a recipe. Perhaps I’ve been leary about ingredients and not sure they sounded good together, but I’ve never been flat out afraid to even try making something. But flour, sugar, butter, vanilla, and eggs all make sense to me. I’ve even learned how to use oat bran, wheat germ, and flax seeds. But chia seed meal? Amaranth flour? Agave Nectar? This is all new territory and I don’t know how any of it works. I don’t know which part is the binder and which flour is lighter or more dense. I don’t even know what flavors I like. It intimidates the crap out of me. On top of that, this stuff is EXPENSIVE. Brian has been freaking at the grocery bills lately, but I can’t make (or bake rather) anything without 18 different types of flours, gum, non dairy butter, soy milk, vegan-gluten free chocolate, and various wet & dry sweeteners that I still don’t have a working understanding of either.

However, thanks to some research, a decent cookbook, and a couple of experienced gluten free (GF) bloggers, such as the ladies below and Gluten Free Gobsmacked I found inspiration to get started. Pictures will have to wait until later since the camera is being held hostage, but here are the cookies I decided to try first. I had a little mini bake-fest in hopes that I would come out with at least one treat that I liked.

PECAN COCONUT MACAROONS[ Gluten-Free / Dairy-Free / Pareve / Soy-Free ] From Gluten-Free BayAdapted from Low-Carb Dessert Blog

Makes approx. 24 cookies

(I made a half batch and got about 15)

4 egg whites
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup Splenda* (if they’re not for Passover), white sugar, or the equivalent amount of a kosher l’pesach alternative sweetener
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp ground pecans
2 cups dried shredded unsweetened coconut

Preheat oven to 325 F. In a large mixing bowl, whip the egg whites, salt and vanilla until frothy with an electric mixer. Slowly pour in the Splenda or other dry sweetener. Whip until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in the ground pecan and coconut gently. Do not over-stir – Batter should remain frothy.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Use a tablespoon measure to drop rounded tablespoons of batter onto the paper 1/2 inch apart. Remember that they won’t rise or expand! Bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges (let them get a little browner than in this photo!). Turn off the oven heat, open the oven door slightly, and let the macaroons sit in the oven until cool to keep them from becoming overly moist.

After cooling, I decided I wanted a little more flavor than just the coconut, so I drizzled these with GF, vegan chocolate chips, melted with a bit of shortening.
Maybe it is just because I’m used to sweetened coconut, but there was a flavor in these that I didn’t quite like. Next time I’ll probably try granulated fructose or another natural sweetener since it might have been the splenda that I wasn’t thrilled with. However, I need to get the splenda out of the house so I decided to make the recipe as it was written.

1/2 cup millet flour
1/4 cup + 1 Tb sweet rice flour
1/4 cup arrowroot starch
1 tsp chia seed meal
1/4 cup brown sugar, lightly packed (I used 1/8 cup br. sugar splenda)
1/4 cup creamy or chunky peanut butter
4 Tb vegetable shortening (or 2 Tb vegetable shortening, 2 Tb coconut oil)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Substitutions
1. You can substitute 1 tsp of xanthan or guar gum for the chia seed meal in this recipe.
2. You can use 1 cup of gluten free flour mix (with xanthan gum) instead of the various flours. I used Hogsden Mill’s All Purpose GF Baking Mix to replace the first four ingredients.

Cookies

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line an 11 1/2 x 7 1/2 inch cookie pan with parchment paper or a baking mat.2. In a mixing bowl, dump in the vegetable shortening and peanut butter. On medium speed, blend until creamy. Then add the brown sugar and vanilla extract and continue beating.

3. In a medium sized bowl, pour in the flours and chia seed meal. Stir together making sure to thoroughly incorporate the chia seed meal with the flour. Note: If the chia seed meal isn’t incorporated well, then you will have bits of gel in your cookies once the flour is added to the liquids.

4. Slowly add the flour to the mixing bowl and beat until the dough forms a ball.

5. Place the dough into the cookie pan and using your hands press the dough out. Chill the cookie dough prior to baking.  (I just put mine into the freezer for a few minutes while preparing the meltaways).

6. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool for 5 minutes and then cut the cookies into squares. Note: These cookies are delicate and don’t take a lot of handling well. Leave them in the pan until ready to assemble the cookies.

Meltaways
Stir in the peanut butter and salt . Use the back of your spoon to work out any un-melted peanut butter until the consistency is creamy.
Pour the paste onto a piece of waxed paper and spread to approx 1/8 thick. Set in the refrigerator to cool.

Chocolate Coating

Note: Make the glaze in two or three batches so that it stays melted while you are working.

1. Place 1/2 cup of the chocolate chips and 1 1/2 tsp of the vegetable shortening into a microwave safe bowl. Place in the microwave and cook for 45 to 60 seconds. Stir at various intervals to make sure the chocolate is melting evenly.

2. Remove the coating from the microwave and using a spoon stir until it is thoroughly blended and there aren’t any little bits of chocolate left.

Assembling the Cookies

1. On a cutting board, unmold the peanut butter meltaways and cut into slices 1/8 inch thick. Then cut those slices in half, so that the slices will fit on top of the cookie and not hang over the edges.

2. Lay out a sheet of parchment paper on your work surface. Taking a knife, slide it under the cookie and lift it out and onto the parchment paper.

3. Place several little pieces of the peanut butter meltaway in the center of the top of the cookie.

4. Then lightly spoon chocolate coating over the cookie, until it is totally covered.

5. Leave out on the counter for several hours for the chocolate to cool and set up. Makes 1 dozen cookies. Note: Depending on the temperature of your kitchen, you may need to store these cookies in the refrigerator.

1. Place the chopped white chocolate into a microwave safe bowl and melt them on high for approximately 50 to 60 seconds. Stir the chopped chocolate a various intervals, so that the chocolate melts evenly.

1 cup chocolate chips **
1 Tb vegetable shortening ***

1 1/2 oz white chocolate, chopped fine *
2 1/2 Tb creamy or chunky peanut butter
pinch sea salt

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Responses

  1. How were the tagalongs? T LOVES tagalongs and I wonder if the GF version was still just as tasty as the original highly sugary version. Keep on baking. I know you’ll get the hang of the GF thang! 🙂

  2. They were pretty good, but the taste & texture were a little different. I think I just need to make a couple of adjustments and they would be pretty close. I wanted more peanut butter flavor so I think I’d add some more next time. The cookie portion was a little more “gritty” than the traditional ones, but I think that was just my flour. I may try grinding it down a little more the next time I use it.


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