Gluten-free baking can be a challenge during the holidays.
You probably associate special foods with the holiday season, and these memories can be powerful. What happens when dietary restrictions interfere with tradition? Well, we try to find good substitutes; and therein lies the rub!
My sister has been following a gluten-free diet for several years. I like to try out recipes that accommodate her and still are palatable to everyone else. Sometimes I’m successful, and sometimes not so much.
Working with gluten-free flours can be tricky, and adjustments must be made. I was looking for a butter cookie dough that would taste like the cut-out cookies we made every year at Christmas. Some of my attempts were too chalky tasting (too much gluten-free all-purpose baking mix), while others couldn’t retain any shape (too much butter).
I found a happy medium with the following dough. The cut-out cookies still spread on the pan, so I decided to roll them in the sanding sugar rather than use cookie cutters. It worked, and they taste great!
Then, I added shredded coconut to the dough, figuring that it would add some bulk. I just kneaded the coconut into the same dough to make the almond coconut hedgehog cookies. Two delicious butter cookies from one dough – gluten-free. It’s a Christmas miracle!
The Basic Gluten-free Cookie Dough
Holiday Butter Cookies (Gluten-free)
- ½ c. butter, softened
- ¾ c. sugar
- 1 egg
- ½ tsp. vanilla
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 1 c. all-purpose, gluten-free baking mix
- ¾ c. almond flour
- Preheat oven to 375°F and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Beat butter and sugar together in mixer until fluffy.
- Beat in egg and vanilla.
- Sift in dry ingredients.
- After thoroughly mixing the dough, knead to form a soft ball.
- Wrap and chill the dough at least 30 minutes for easier handling.
- Form the dough into 1 inch balls and roll in sanding sugar (I like the larger sizr crystals).
- Place on baking sheet and bake until bottoms are lightly browned, 10-15 minutes.
- Cool on parchment.
- To keep cookies fresh, store in tins or freeze.
The Second Cookie: Coconut Almond Hedgehogs
Coconut Almond Hedgehog Cookies
- Same ingredients as above.
- ½ c. coconut, shredded
- ½ c. almonds, sliced and toasted
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
- After mixing the butter cookie dough (above), add ½ c. coconut and knead to form a soft ball.
- Chill the dough if it is too soft to work with.
- Form dough into 1 inch balls and roll in sliced almonds.
- Place on baking sheets and bake until bottoms are lightly browned, 10-15 minutes.
- Cool on parchment. Store in tins or freeze.
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