Orange glazed Italian Christmas cookies

Monica says:

We have been so busy with the holidays, as I’m sure all of you have been!

Baking, cooking, cleaning….oh, why do we do it?

For our family and friends…and to enjoy these special days and each other’s company…and while it is so delicious and fun to be together, it is often just as exhausting! But so worth it!

While I made several types of cookies to celebrate Christmas, these particular delights are one of my favorites. At least they were before Daria’s and my celiac diagnosis!

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Now, thinking that 13 years has passed since we ate gluten, I felt that I could figure out how to make these cookies with little to no problem…right?

Well, not so much!

This recipe, which was written down on a piece of paper in my recipe box, called for 3 cups of regular wheat flour. By the time I had a workable dough for this gluten-free version, I may have used close to double that!

No kidding!

Anyway, it was an adventure in gluten-free baking, if nothing else!

I had been at the grocery store a few weeks ago and turned down the GF aisle. I was amazed at the amount of gluten-free products that I have never tried!

We had always made our own GF flour by sifting several types of gluten-free flours together. Although I had never purchased an all-purpose gluten-free flour mix, I thought “Why not?” I placed a bag of Cup4Cup in my grocery cart!

When I found this Italian cookie recipe in my recipe box, I remembered that purchase and decided to use the pre-blended flour.

 

So, here is my story!

I looked at the following Original Recipe…

Combine the following ingredients in your blender:

1/3 cup sugar

1 ½ sticks margarine

3 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

½ cup orange juice

Now take the blended mixture and add the following:

3 cups flour

3 tsp baking powder

Knead thoroughly; if batter is sticky add more flour….batter CANNOT be sticky!

When incorporated, take a large T of dough and roll into a log. Bring the two ends together to form a doughnut-like shape and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Let rest for 10 minutes at room temperature before baking. 15-17 minutes at 350 degrees.

Glaze

½ pound confectioner’s sugar

½ cup orange juice

½ tsp vanilla

Blend all ingredients until you get the consistency of heavy syrup. When cookies are done, dip each one while still hot and place on dish. Sprinkle with candy confetti.

 

And now the Gluten-free Version!

I combined the following ingredients in my Cuisinart food processor:

1/3 cup sugar

1 ½ sticks butter, softened

3 organic eggs

1 tsp vanilla

½ cup orange juice

Then to the bowl of the food processor, I added:

3 cups gluten-free flour (Cup4Cup)

3 tsp baking powder

I allowed the food processor to do the work for me (arthritis dictates this move!)

However…

The dough was so sticky that I added ½ cup more of gf flour;

and then added ½ cup more of gf flour;

pulsed it all and at this point I turned the sticky mixture out of the bowl and onto the countertop.

Heeding the advice: “Knead thoroughly; if batter is sticky add more flour….batter CANNOT be sticky!”, I then added ½ cup more of gf flour and kneaded by hand, adding an additional amount until the dough was usable! I used way more than 3 cups of gluten-free flour total!!

At some point, I also added a few drops of Orange extract because I was concerned that the huge amount of extra flour had diminished the flavor!

It worked!

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When incorporated, I followed the original directions and took a large T of dough and rolled into a log.

I brought the two ends together and formed a doughnut-like shape and place on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper

(how some things change!).

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I let each batch rest for 10 minutes at room temperature before baking.

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15 minutes at 350 degrees worked perfect!

 

Gluten-free Orange Glaze

½ pound organic powdered sugar

½ cup orange juice

½ tsp orange extract

 

Whisked all ingredients into a heavy syrup, and when cookies were done, I dipped each one (while still hot)

and placed on wire rack to cool. I then sprinkled with Christmas sprinkles.

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Yield: 4 dozen

So, while the flour amount may vary according to your dough stickiness….you really need to try this recipe!

Once I was able to have my hands free of sticky dough, it was fun rolling and shaping these cookies!

Better yet, it was fun eating them!

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They are a perfect accompaniment to a cup of coffee or tea…they have a wonderful biscuit-like consistency

and the orange flavor just takes them up a notch!

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Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and wishing you a Happy 2016!

Enjoy!

© 2015, Monica of glutenfreedoubletalk whisks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Too cute to eat….but you must!

Monica says:

This post is in honor of my two precious girls….Claudia and Daria!

When they were little we had yet another Easter tradition of baking Easter bunny cookies….a great sugar cookie that melted in your mouth.

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The original recipe came from a cookbook that my Mom had given Lewie and me for our bridal shower. A wonderful cookbook, Better Home and Gardens All Time Favorite Recipes, copyrighted in 1979, (we were married in 1981), that we’ve used countless times over the years. It is so worn and somewhat falling apart, but very loved and still relevant!

I distinctly remember making these cookies from that cookbook for the first time.

Filling in at our local library for the children’s librarian that was out on pregnancy leave, I was celebrating Easter storytime with the littlest library patrons and wanted to make cookies for our session. So my Mom and I decided to try this recipe, and it became a classic.

Did I mention that while filling in for that librarian, I became pregnant, too?

Yes, it was with Daria!

Years later, when Daria and I changed our diet, we needed to find a recipe to replace our delicious bunny cookies. After many recipes and taste-testings, we are happy with this one!

This recipe is adapted from Easy Gluten-Free Baking by Elizabeth Barbone, which we highly recommend for your cookbook library. In her book it’s called “Jam Sandwich Cookies” and I have made these in rounds and hearts with strawberry jam and sprinkled with powdered sugar, but these bunny heads are just the cookies…no fuss, no muss!

I also use brown rice flour for mine, not the combination of flours that she suggests.

So, see what you think!

Easter Bunny Sugar Cookies

Yield: about 3 dozen

Dry ingredients:

3 ¼ cups brown rice flour

2/3 cup granulated sugar

Wet ingredients:

2 sticks cold butter, cut into bite-sized chunks

1 large egg

3 T milk

2 tsp vanilla

Easter colored M & Ms

Directions:

Place dry ingredients into a food processor and pulse a few times until ingredients are mixed.

Next add butter into the mixture and pulse until butter is cut into small pieces and you see pea-like texture. Then add milk, egg and vanilla.

Process until a dough forms (it will be somewhat crumbly).

Once you see the dough coming together, remove from processor and divide it in half. Place each part in wax paper and wrap. Place the two wrapped pieces in a plastic zip-lock bag and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Preheat your oven to 350˚ and place parchment on two baking sheets.

Unwrap your dough and let it sit on your counter for at least 5 minutes before attempting to roll out.

Lightly flour your counter with rice flour and cut a small piece of dough from the half. It may be very crumbly at first, but the warmth of your hands will help keep it together. Work the dough until it is able to be rolled out. Roll dough to about an 1/8 of an inch thick and cut out bunny heads with cutter. Place 3 M & Ms on each face for eyes and nose.

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Place on baking sheets and bake for approximately 10 minutes. I always turn my baking sheet after 5 minutes to ensure even baking.

Remove from oven and let cool at least 5 minutes before placing on wire racks to cool completely!

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I will caution you, however….these cookies are EXTREMELY fragile and I must confess that nearly one third of my 39 cookies lost “their ears” this year! Yes, they broke off during my transferring them from the baking pan to the wire rack to cool….NOT happy!

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But the taste is delightful, so whatever!

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When the girls were little, we meticulously wrapped one ear per bunny with narrow ribbon to make them look oh so cute!

I miss those days….too bad children have to grow up!

This year I only wrapped one for this picture….the old arthritis took enough beating in the rolling today!

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Wishing all of you a very happy Easter and a delicious one, too!

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Enjoy!

© 2015, Monica of glutenfreedoubletalk

 

 

 

It’s National Cookie Day!

Monica says:

Oh what a great day to celebrate! Who loves cookies?

We certainly do!

Ever since Daria bought a bag of cinnamon chips while visiting the Wilbur Chocolate Factory in Lititz, I was dreaming of oatmeal cookies.

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When the girls were little, I used to bake oatmeal cookies with cinnamon chips if I could find the chips….they always seemed to be elusive! Anyway, the cinnamon chips that she gave me were the mini ones, so I just knew that I had to marry these with cookies!!

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This recipe is very simple….that’s what we like, right?

You don’t have to make these oatmeal cookies with cinnamon chips (although I HIGHLY recommend it)…you can add in raisins, dried cranberries, walnuts, or whatever else you like….or nothing at all! The oatmeal cookies can stand alone and just be delicious!

It’s up to you!

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Gluten Free Oatmeal Cookies

Preheat your oven to 350⁰. Choose two favorite cookie sheets and line them with parchment paper.

 

Whisk together the following:

1 ¼ cups brown rice flour

¼ cup arrowroot starch

3 cups oatmeal (gluten-free, of course)

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp ground cinnamon (good quality)

½ tsp salt

Set the dry ingredients aside.

 

In a large bowl or stand-alone mixer, cream the following:

1 ½ sticks of salted butter

¾ cup brown sugar

¼ cup granulated sugar

 

Now add in eggs, one at a time and mix after each until well blended.

2 large eggs (room temperature)

 

Add in:

1 ½ tsp vanilla

If you are using a mixer, slow down the speed to medium or less, and add all of the dry ingredients. I like to add the dry a little at a time.  Continue until all dry and creamed ingredients are blended.

Now stir in:

1 cup of your choice of cinnamon chips, chocolate chips, walnuts, dried cranberries, raisins, etc.

Cover the dough with wax paper and chill for at least 15-20 minutes in the refrigerator.

 

Are you ready to bake?

Get out your ice cream scoop and scoop generous portions onto your parchment paper-lined baking sheets and be sure to leave room around each cookie. Mine stayed in lovely mounds and took between 12-15 minutes to bake and brown slightly.

Remove from oven and let your cookies sit on the sheet for a few minutes before letting them cool on wire racks.

Using an ice cream scoop yields nearly 2 dozen cookies, while if you drop them by tablespoonfuls, you would yield nearly 4 dozen…once again, your choice!

Do you like your cookies big like we do?

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 It’s your choice….just enjoy the day!

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© 2014, Monica of glutenfreedoubletalk

 

 

 

Happy National Peanut Butter Cookie Day!

Monica and Daria say:

Would you believe that 90% of all American households have a jar of peanut butter on their pantry shelf most of the time?

If you live in our homes, we usually have at least two….we just LOVE peanut butter!

Peanut butter cookies have been around since the 1910s with the first recipe appearing in a cookbook of George Washington Carver’s. Now if you remember your history, Carver was a botanist and inventor who devised many uses of the peanut. His cookies called for chunks of peanut to be placed in cookie dough. Peanut butter cookies, those made with peanut butter, made their appearance in households in the 1930s and have been a favorite ever since!

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Why do peanut butter cookies have the famous criss-cross marks?

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It could be one of several reasons.

It might be that a tradition was established in 1936 when a recipe from a Pillsbury cookbook had the criss-cross marks in the instructions….or it might be that placing the marks allows for uniform baking of the cookie….or it might be that the marks originated to warn people who were allergic to peanuts, not to eat these cookies!

No one knows for sure, but the criss-cross marks make the peanut butter cookie unique!

Wanting to use natural peanut butter and use less sugar than most peanut butter cookie recipes have, we came up with this recipe! Enjoy!

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Yummies

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Dry Ingredients

1 ½ cups oat flour*

½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

½ cup chopped peanuts

Wet Ingredients

1/3 cup shortening

½ cup creamy Natural Peanut Butter

¾ cup dark brown sugar, packed

1 large egg (should be @ room temp)

1 tsp pure vanilla

1/8 cup granulated sugar for making criss-cross marks

*Oat flour can be made by placing 1 ½ of gluten free oats in a food processor – yield 1 cup of flour

Cookie Making Directions:

Preheat oven to 350˚. Cover two baking pans with parchment paper.

Whisk together the dry ingredients and set aside.

Cream the shortening, natural peanut butter, and brown sugar in a large bowl.

Add your egg and vanilla and mix until smooth and thoroughly incorporated.

Next add your dry ingredients and blend until a dough forms.

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Roll dough into balls of about 1 tablespoon each.

Place dough balls on baking sheet at least one and a half inches apart.

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Dip a fork into a bowl with granulated sugar and make a criss-cross on each cookie with the fork tines, as you flatten it.

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You can sprinkle a small amount of sugar on each cookie to top it off!

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

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Cool on wire racks for at least 3-5 minutes.

Yield almost 3 dozen delightful cookies!

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Happy Baking! And eating, of course!

whisks

© 2014, Monica & Daria of glutenfreedoubletalk