Monday, January 20, 2014
The cookies that restored my faith in...well, cookies.
I'm basically here to talk about a cookie, but I wish we could chat about Downton Abbey and how my heart is breaking for Anna. Just as a side note. Since my mind is going eleventy-hundred directions at once right now.
There was a point a few years ago, after finding out that my daughter and I couldn't ingest gluten anymore, where I went through my tried and true recipes and threw most of them out. Realizing that we could no longer make certain items, or convert them (deliciously) into gluten free options kind of bummed us out. There were a few recipes that were so amazing I kept them in the back of my recipe binder. One in particular, was a recipe for sugar cookies. What makes them special is the almond flavoring.. and the use of powdered sugar, rather than regular sugar. It's the kind of cookie that bakes with a slight crunch on the outer layer but has a tender texture inside. Topped with fluffy icing, this cookie seems like a treat you'd pay for at a coffee stand. It is a fact that I have even become friends with perfect strangers over this particular recipe. The title at the top of my recipe card reads, "The Best Sugar cookies EVER." They were that good.
Sadly they didn't convert easily into gluten free cookies, and my experience with gluten free sugar cookies have been a bit disappointing with the exception of this vanilla bean sugar cookie recipe. Probably because I was comparing them all to the BEST SUGAR COOKIES EVER. Ya know? Anyway, fast forward to a few months ago when my man did some Costco shopping for us and brought home a surprise bag of gluten free cup for cup flour. It is the Namaste brand. I know it's at Costco right now and that it's a blend that is supposed to replace flour in any recipe cup-for-cup but I threw the bag away when I decanted my flour into a canister, so I can't give you any more specifics. (Please don't throw rotten tomatoes at my head. Thanks.) I used that flour throughout the holidays and it was great. So... I decided I'd give these sugar cookies another try using what I had on hand. It worked!! I added 1/2 tsp xanthan gum for a binder because nobody likes too many crumbles in their cookie and those of us who attempt gf baking know all about that. I prepared myself that they would not taste exactly like the regular version, but they were as close as I've ever gotten, and they weren't a pain in the neck to handle with the rolling out and cutting process which is a first! I was so happy with them that we made a batch for the Seahawks game.
I had seen some fun decorative candies at JoAnn's last week (lips, googly eyes, smiley teeth, moustaches, and some other colorful sprinkles. My kids flipped out decorating their little blue monster faces. Apparently this sort of activity is very fun for the tween crowd. I'll have to keep that in mind for the future.
eating something with eyes is freaky.
older child on me and I don't like it much. But she looks pretty cute in her new glasses... and she can see the white board at school now, which is a good thing. I don't even want to think about the fact that I'm going to have a teenager on my hands in about two months, when Joe turns 13!! (She chants, "I will stop time, I will stop time." You may be seeing a lot more photos of my kiddos from this point on, as I attempt to do just that. Ha!)
Speaking of photos, I've been primarily using my 50mm lens again. I think I was in a photo-taking slump with a phone camera in my hand more than my Canon. It's been so long since I used my 50, that I'm almost having to relearn how to use a fixed lens, rather than a zoom lens- I forgot how much fun it is to shoot with!! Kind of breathed new life into my lack of desire to photograph things, which is just in time for my shop reopening. I am shooting for February 5th so stay tuned... it's getting crazy over here!!
So before someone comes in and I get side tracked again... here is the recipe for both gluten free and regular cookies:
The best sugar cookies EVER:
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 cup butter at room temperature
1 tsp real vanilla extract
1 tsp real almond extract
2 1/2 c flour (either an all purpose for regular cookies, or the Namaste cup for cup for gluten free.)
1/2 tsp xanthan gum *ONLY if making these gluten free
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tartar
*Mix sugar and butter then add egg, vanilla and almond. Add dry ingredients and mix until combined. Refrigerate in discs for 2-3 hrs. Lay out disc onto parchment and place another piece of parchment over top, then roll out to about 1/4 thickness or slightly thinner. Cut into desired shapes and place on lined baking sheet. Bake at 375 for 7-8 minutes.
(I used half recipe of this icing and added 1 tsp almond into it as well but you could use any icing you like. Royal icing is also nice on these cookies.)
And now I need to get the hoodlums lunches packed for tomorrow and move the laundry off my table so we can eat dinner. I've got a busy week of restocking flour sack dishtowels for the shop ahead of me. (I'm doing the Eat drink & be merry design in a couple fun colors for the everyday...along with the butcher chart cow and blue mason jar towels) It's going to be a good week I can tell.
What's on your agenda for the rest of this week?