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Christmas Cookies

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hi all, I don't live in a totally gluten free household. I know there's always that potential for cross contamination, and I don't know how sensitive my daughter and I actually are, as its only been since July for her and since August for me.

But what we have been doing seems to be working. Hubby is the only one who uses the toaster; my daughter and I just use the oven for "toasting" things. His bread and bagels are stored separately from any gluten free prepared foods. We only buy gluten free pasta now for everybody.

We haven't purged the household of old pots and pans. We have a bunch of fry pans, so if I want to cook gluten-free, I can just avoid the nonstick or cast iron ones, and scrupulously clean stuff before use.

So far so good.

My bag of wheat flour, which was stored in an airtight container since I usually only bake around holidays - has not seen the light of day since before July. I haven't pitched it yet because I have one more hurdle to cross.

Christmas cookies.

It is a huge holiday tradition in my family, a legacy from my mom. She used to make so many cookies, enough it seemed to give away to half the town. In my own way I carried on her tradition in my own neighborhood. Mom died in 2005, and although I haven't had the time the past few years to bake enough to give away to half the neighborhood, my holiday baking times have been moments where I remember Mom.

Approaching this year I had some Scroogy moments where I just decided to bag the whole cookie thing.

I have rethought that. I won't make my usual army of gingerbread men, or my forest of Christmas tree cookies with my cookie press. Just enough for the family members who don't have to refrain from gluten to enjoy. Unless...

I can use a non wheat flour in my usual recipes?

So am looking for suggestions for substitution. Am not wild about using multiple flour types, have never used any "gum"...brown rice flour is a staple already in my pantry. I have a mirro cookie press if anyone is familiar with that...

Suggestions?

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This works well for me in a cookie press, although I use disks that produce a long "snake" of dough and then curl it into O shapes or make a long ribbon of dough to cut into bars - I'm not sure how it would work for the flower and tree shapes. I always have trouble with those shapes no matter what dough I use - they don't want to stick to the pan! These are shortbread.

Spritz cookies

1 c soft room temp butter

2/3 c sugar

3 egg yolks (don't use any whites or the cookies will puff up and not be like shortbread)

1 t almond or vanilla flavoring

2-1/2 cups of flour - I use 2 c brown rice flour and 1/2 c sweet rice flour.

pinch of salt

Cream the butter and sugar well. Add in the egg yolks and vanilla. Gradually add the flour - you may need a little more or a little less, depending on how sticky the dough is. You want it not sticky, but not dry, just a stiff dough that can be spooned into the cookie press. Press your cookies onto the ungreased pan and decorate with colored sugar or sprinkles. Bake at 400 for 7 - 10 minutes - they should be just lightly browned at the edges. Let cool on paper towels.

If you substitute margarine, I can't be held accountable for how they come out. Cholesterol rules here!

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There is no reason why you cannot carry on this wonderful tradition. I have a very similar one. My grandmother had 6 kids and they each have 2-4 of their own. Not to mention my g-grandma had 10 of her own also. Let's just say we have a rather large family tree. When I was 19 I started the tradition of making a tray of cookies for them all instead of buying gifts. I thought it would be cheaper but I still manage to spend at least $300 (not bad for over 40 families). I buy all of my chocolates when the Halloween candy goes on clearance. I make all of the same cookies but I use a mixture of rice flours for some and sorghum flour mix for others. Nobody even noticed for the last two years that they were all gluten-free. I make at least 20 different kinds and have developed some new ones without flour at all. If you need some new ideas send me an email: brenda@neverlivingwithout.com.

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