Sunday, December 26, 2010

GF Spritz Cookies and Sarah's Sorghum-Millet All-Purpose Flour Blend

So how has your Christmas season been?  We are having a great time with family and friends.  We went to visit family on Thursday evening to celebrate Christmas as well as Cassie's and Nathan's birthdays.  I baked all day Friday, preparing a variety of GF cookies for Christmas Day, and then we had some friends and family over for brunch (Baked Oatmeal, scrambled eggs, bacon, and all-natural breakfast sausage) and dinner (roast beef, mashed potatoes, carrots, gravy) on Christmas.  All of my cookies received great feedback, so I thought I'd share some of what I have done.

Please ignore the plastic wrap in the corner.  I just unwrapped this plate to take the picture.  I also had to put some chocolate-containing cookies in a baggie (seen peeking out from under the gingerbread cookie) to protect my dad from the chocolate.

Chuck's favorite was the Spritz Cookies.  First I made a batch using this recipe from Gluten Free Homemaker.  They were good but they had the typical texture and flavor of cookies made with white rice flour (I really don't like white rice flour.).  I adjusted the recipe to make it less gritty and crumbly, and more like the texture and flavor I remember from when I used to make gluten-filled ones (also added whole grains).  I don't know if I will be adjusting this recipe further to make it lower-carb.  We really liked it the way it was, and I'm not sure that the higher protein flours I use (blanched almond flour and coconut flour) would provide the right texture dough to use in the spritz gun.  I will have to think about it.  However, I am not completely anti-carbs.  I just try to limit how much we have, so in moderation I think it's ok.

Then I made Gingerbread Cookies using a recipe I found at Only Sometimes Clever.  I mostly stuck to her version since I usually try to make the original once before I start making changes.  However, I did substitute teff flour for the amaranth since I love teff flour and hate amaranth, and also because I think the color and flavor of teff flour really goes with molasses and gingerbread.  I used Authentic Foods Brown Rice Flour Superfine (I found it at Wegmans), which doesn't give baked goods the gritty texture usually associated with brown rice flour.  I also had to increase the liquid in the recipe by about 1/4 cup, which I did gradually, 1 Tbs at a time.  Please note if you make these cookies, the dough really dries out fast, so make sure you cover the dough that is waiting to be rolled out as you are working with other dough.  If it does dry out, you can add 1 Tbs. of water and knead it in.  We really liked these cookies.  I will definitely make these again, though I will be trying to change the recipe to be more "carb-friendly."   

You may note that I didn't decorate my gingerbread cookies.  What can I say?  I'm a minimalist when it comes to cookies.  I don't really like frosting (I make it for the benefit of those who do), and I don't feel the need for candies and extra sugars on cookies.  I did let my kids decorate cookies, but by the time I got to the gingerbread ones, the kids had lost interest in baking and were on to more "fun" things!  LOL!  If I could find my gingerbread boy cookie cutter, the kids and I might have decided to add eyes and things, but I couldn't, so we didn't!  If you want to decorate your gingerbread cookies, by all means, please do!

I made a batch of cookies using a Kinnikinnick cookie mix.  I dipped them in cinnamon-sugar for the kids.  They were ok, though not as good as the from-scratch cookies I made.

I made a couple of batches of my Raspberry Bars Supreme, which turned out great.

Lastly I made several batches of Christmas Wreath Cookies that my grandmother always used to make.  My sister had mentioned to me that she was making them, and I was very glad to get the recipe from her since I had been thinking of them myself as memories from childhood Christmases had been coming to mind.  Again, definitely not low-carb and not really able to be made in that way.  However, we don't usually eat a lot of cookies, so it's ok for special occasions.

I will include my recipe for GF Spritz Cookies here now, and I'll share the recipes for several other cookies some time soon.  Enjoy!

GF Spritz Cookies
2/3 c. sugar
1 c. non-hydrogenated shortening* (I filled the cup mostly with shortening and then finished filling it with
     Earth Balance baking sticks or ghee to get a buttery taste without casein)
1 egg
1 t. vanilla extract
1/2 t. almond extract (or add'l vanilla)**
a few drops red or green food coloring (optional)
2 c. Sarah's Sorghum-Millet All-Purpose Flour Blend (see below)
3/4 t. xanthan gum
1/2 t. salt
sugar sprinkles (optional)

Preheat your oven to 375 F.  Cream the sugar and shortening, then add the egg, vanilla extract, almond extract, and food coloring, mixing well.  Mix in the dry ingredients well.  Spoon the dough into your spritz gun.  Spritz the cookies onto your cool, ungreased cookie sheet.  (These cookies don't really spread, so don't worry about having to space them far apart from each other.)  If you want to add sprinkles to your cookies, sprinkle them on and gently, lightly press them onto the cookies.  Bake for 6-8 minutes, just until the edges turn slightly golden.

*I never use Crisco!  I use non-hydrogenated shortening.  There are several brands out there.  I have used Spectrum and Tropical Traditions, each with equally good results.  They are much better for you than the hydrogenated shortenings that are so popular.  If you can have dairy, you can use butter instead of shortening and margarine.  Ghee will also give a butter flavor because it is clarified butter, but it is lactose and casein free.  It's expensive, so I mix it with shortening.

**One variation my husband especially liked was my red spritz cookies.  Instead of using the almond extract, I used 1/4 t. peppermint oil.  I'm thinking about melting some dairy-free chocolate chips and dipping some of these halfway into the melted chocolate!  mmmm!

Sarah's Sorghum-Millet All-Purpose Flour Blend

I know I have mentioned my sister, Sarah, before.  I got this recipe from her.  She uses it for pretty much everything, now, instead of the previous blend she had given me that I shared before.  She doubles or triples this recipe and stores it in gallon-sized ziploc bags.

3 c. sorghum flour
1 c. millet flour
1 1/3 c. potato starch
2/3 c. tapioca starch

On Monday we'll be traveling to Chattanooga, Tennessee to go to a teen conference called, The Ramp. Hubby and I are going with our church youth group--we're chaperones!  I will have to do some baking and shopping to prepare for that over the next couple of days.  Believe me, it's not gonna be easy going on a 5-day trip with 3 kids and myself needing to eat gluten free and mostly dairy free!  My brother-in-law is being gracious and will be house-sitting and will take care of our beloved dog and cats.  We are so blessed!

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