Friday, December 17, 2010

Gluten Free Testing: Sugar Cookies

I teach gluten free vegan classes at a natural culinary school in NYC and am always testing gluten free recipes for the class and for the bakery- my other job.  Both places focus on using as natural ingredients as possible, so it is often challenging to achieve the right texture and flavor in the baked goods.  Using a natural sugar over a processed one definitely makes a huge difference- the baked good will be darker and have a stronger molassesy caramely flavor.  Also, natural gluten free flours have a definite textural difference over processed flours like white flour.  However, this is not evident in all baked goods and is so much more health supportive than using processed ingredients. 

Onto the fun part - the testing.  We were talking in the bakery about introducing holiday/Christmas themed baked goods and of course sugar cookies came up.  Vegan sugar cookies - easy!  Unbleached flour, sugar and earth balance and you're golden.  Gluten free?  More challenging and exciting!  I searched all over online for a gluten free recipe that could easily be converted to vegan, meaning that it didn't contain a ton of eggs - that's the biggest challenge in converting non vegan gluten free recipes to vegan - a lot of the time these recipes call for multiple eggs- upwards of 4-6. 

I found  several recipes and combined them into one and came up with this recipe, modified to be vegan of course!

Gluten Free Vegan Sugar Cookies:

Yields: 2 dozen cookies

2 1/2 cups sorghum flour (or fine ground white rice flour)
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1 cup turbinado sugar
1 cup earth balance
2 tablespoons flax eggs (mix 1/3 cup ground flax seeds with 2/3 cup water in a jar and shake until combined and measure 2 tablespoons)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Gluten Free Sugar Cookie with Powdered Sugar Icing

The cookie was delicious and the girls in the bakery and myself ate several of them each.  The bright green Christmas-y frosting made it even better.  A must make for Christmas!



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