|Cookies by Request|
Way back before Christmas, I promised a couple of my Twitter friends that I would try to come up with a basic sugar cookie recipe that tastes and feels as close to the original as possible, but for people who have to follow a gluten free diet. I think this is one of the most difficult recipe requests I've ever encountered, because I wanted to make cookies just like my mom's amazing sugar cookies, but I also wanted to make sure to only use ingredients that I could easily find in the store, so there would be no need to search the Internet for obscure ingredients. Because what good is a fabulous recipe, if you can't replicate it at home? After seven or eight attempts, tweaking ingredients and trying one thing after another, I have a recipe that's very close, although not quite exactly like my mom's. Of course, you all know I'll keep tweaking this recipe until it's perfect, but it's finally close enough to share.
I'm also throwing in a bonus recipe this week, also inspired by a conversation with a friend. She asked for a lemon raspberry cookie, so I tweaked one of the recipes I came up with a few years ago to accommodate the request. (*Note: Heidi, I know you asked for real butter, but I promised cookies to one of my vegan friends as well, and real butter didn't fit that need. You can easily adapt this recipe to use real butter instead of the margarine indicated, if you aren't serving it to vegan friends!)
Gluten Free Sugar Cookies
1 c. butter (or margarine)
2 c. granulated sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. lemon juice (or white vinegar, if you have a citrus allergy to worry about)
1 tsp. almond extract (I like the real thing, but you can use artificial, if you have nut allergies)
1/2 c. tapioca starch*
4 c. rice flour
*Note: I couldn't find tapioca starch at the grocery store, so I bought a box of Minute tapioca and a coffee grinder, and I ground up the tapioca until I had a fine powder. (My usual trick of grinding things up in the blender didn't work on the tapioca - I ended up with chewy lumps in the dough - but I'll use the coffee grinder again for many things, I'm sure, even though I don't drink coffee.)
In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs, salt, soda, lemon juice and almond extract. Beat until light and fluffy. Add tapioca starch and beat on high for two or three minutes, until it's well-incorporated. Stir in rice flour.
At this point, you can chill the dough for a couple of hours and then roll out, cut and bake like regular sugar cookies, or if you're impatient like me and don't like taking the time to roll out and cut the dough, you can use a cookie scoop to make balls of dough, roll them in sugar (add a few drops of food coloring to the sugar, if you'd like), and flatten with a fork.
Bake on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 8 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack to cool. Makes approximately 5 dozen cookies. (I think. It might actually be more. I forgot to count before half of them were gone.)
Lemon Raspberry Cookies (Vegan)
1 c. margarine (or butter, if you don't need a vegan recipe)
1/2 c. powdered sugar
2 tsp. lemon extract
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 c. flour
In a large mixing bowl, cream together margarine and sugar. Add lemon extract and salt. Beat until light and fluffy. Stir in flour. Chill 1-2 hours, until dough is firm. Use a cookie scoop to portion out dough balls. Press an indentation into the center of each cookie dough ball.
Fill each dough ball with approximately 1/4 tsp. raspberry preserves (I used one that was 100% fruit, to make sure there were no sneaky non-vegan ingredients in the jam).
Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for 10-12 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit, until cookies are set, but not brown. (Cookies won't spread, so you can place them relatively close together on the cookie sheet.) Allow to cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheet before removing to a rack to cool completely. Makes approximately 3 dozen cookies.