Friday, December 21, 2007

Gluten-Free Sugar Cookies

I love me some good sugar cookies.

I don't love me some yelling at sugar cookie dough to Roll Out Already.

Luckily, I've figured out the "trick" to getting dough to behave (more on that in the instructions).

I will say... these are delicious cookies. And with all the brown rice flour, they hold up well and have some significant healthy fiber.

You know, for a cookie.

For a disgusting amount (about six dozen) of sugar cookies you'll need:

1 1/2 cups (three sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon vanilla extract*
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teapoons xantham gum
4 cups gluten-free flour

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together for two minutes. Incorporate the egg, then vanilla. Add the salt and xantham gum and slowly add in the flour.

(I really hope you have a standing mixer. Or you're gonna get some incredible biceps from this dough.)

Divide dough into thirds. Place portion of dough on plastic wrap paper and flatten into discs. Refrigerate overnight or until you're ready to make some cookies.

Remove one disk of dough from the fridge and let rest on the counter for 10 minutes. Unwrap dough and place between two sheets of parchment paper. Roll dough out with a rolling pin, rotating, rotating, rotating, flipping, flipping, flipping and rotating some more until dough is about 1/4 inch thick.

Place rolled out dough, still between the sheets of parchment paper, in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.

Preheat over to 375. Remove top layer of parchment paper and cut cookies into desired shapes. Place cookies on a lined cookie sheet and put them back in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

(Dude, I know. Freaking sugar cookies.)

Remove cookies from the fridge and put them straight into the preheat oven. Bake until set and edges just begin to turn golden, 8 to 12 minutes.

(I think my oven's broken, this batch was thin and took 14 minutes.)

Let cookies cool on the cookie sheet for a few minutes (or indefinitely) and move them to a cooling rack.

(Please note: cooling racks are great but not a necessity in life. Same with cookie cutters. All the cookies I cut are circles because I don't have space for the clutter.)

Once the cookies are cooled, they are ready to be iced and decorated!

Now, usually I just whip up at fresh lemon juice and powdered sugar icing to drizzle on the cookies. No measuring, just squeeze every last drop out of a lemon (or ten) and whisk in powdered sugar until you get a consistency you like. It's COOKIES. Not rocket science.

Or, you can whip this up (which seems to be the new favorite of the house)...

2 teaspoons of melted butter, slightly cooled
2 tablespoons of milk (or half and half)
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar (more or less, depending on what you like).

In a bowl, mix the wet ingredients. Whisk in powdered sugar until you achieve the desired consistency. Drizzle cookies with icing and sprinkle with colored sugar to you heart's content and your fingers are covered in artificial dyes.

Store leftover cookies (haha, that's funny) in an airtight container at room temperature.

*I purchase all my spices at Penzey's. They actually put the ingredients on the label so if it contains gluten as an anti-caking agent it will be listed. I also live and breathe and swear by their double-strength vanilla extract. It's oh, so good.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Hand Mixed Gluten-Free Flour Recipe

Sometimes it's good to start with first things first.

And this is definitely something that comes first.

I hand mix my gluten-free flour mix for lots of reason...

1. Some premixed gluten-free flours have lots of scary, unnecessary ingredients that I don't want to include in our diet.

2. Most contain some sort of bean flour and/or soy flour and Darwin is allergic to legumes and soy. Horribly allergic.

3. Every prepackaged flour mix I've ever tried has had some sort of funky aftertaste and the textures is off (I blame the beans).

4. Space is at a premium in my home, I'm not about to carry multiple types of gluten-free flour mixes.

The recipe I use was printed in the November 2005 issue of Gourmet Magazine. I really wish I could say I developed this myself, because it rocks and doesn't taste gluten-free (I account that to not having beans).

6 parts brown rice flour
2 parts potato starch (also called "potato starch flour")
1 part tapioca flour

In a large, air-tight container dump the ingredients in. Put the lid on and shake. Shake the container before measuring.

For anyone interested, I use...

one 32 oz bag of Arrowhead Mills Organic Brown Rice Flour (ingredient list: organic brown rice)

2 cups of EnerG Pure Potato Starch Flour (ingredient list: pure potato starch flour)

1 cup of Bob's Red Mill Tapioca Flour (ingredient list: tapioca)

Not to, you know, drop names or anything but these are my peeps.

And if you mix such a large batch, being perfectly precise doesn't matter. If you're short or over on anything as much as a quarter of a cup it doesn't matter.

Ah, you gotta love some forgiving cookin'.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

About the Author

Hi, I'm Laura Capello. I'm allergic.

Yes, allergic.

I'm allergic to more than half of the "foods" available in the American (and by that I mean United States-ian, but that does flow well) food market.

I am allergic to wheat and I have Celiac Disease. Yes, there is a difference and that will be discussed extensively here. I am so allergic to wheat, I cannot use anything in my home or on my body that contains wheat. That means I have a hella hard time finding good shampoo and conditioner because most contain wheat protein.

I also have "food intolerances" to rose hips (that sends me to the ER), ginger, cloves and other spices I haven't quite pinpointed. But what they do are very, very bad and you really do not want me to go into further detail.

The difference between an allergy and an intolerance? Allergies show up on blood and skin tests, intolerances do not. That's the only difference.

I also have allergies to prescription medications, specifically antibiotics. Being rushed to the ER with hives and breathing problems are very dramatic, but ultimately not fun.

I have two children and they are more allergic to the world than I am. Griffin, who is five, is allergic to wheat, dairy, eggs, peanuts and soy. Darwin, who is three, is allergic to every food. Literally, every food. He has been tested for over 350 foods and every single one came back as an allergy. We feed him what he is least reactive to and "experiment" on both children, mainly to see how bad their allergies still are, to try and build up natural antibodies and to pretend to be super special scientists.

My husband, Aaron, has no food allergies. He's a lucky bastard.

So... why shut up & eat?

Because I'm tired of hearing about people moan and groan about food allergies. Yes, allergies suck. Yes, it is very difficult to completely eliminate wheat and other "staples" out of the American diet. But it's not impossible. Get over it and move on. Seriously. It's not that fucking difficult. It's life.

And once you get over your ego and experiment, a whole new world will open up to you. You just have to try.