Classic Butter Snowflake Cookies (gluten free) – the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap!

Gluten free cutout sugar cookies

I’m gonna get a sentimental for a moment.

I have a very clear memory of my first Christmas with Lyme Disease, when I was 12 or 13 years old.  I was upstairs in my room, having been excused from the dinner table.  It was a cold winter.  I was in a lot of pain.  I hadn’t eaten much food, because I could barely digest anything at that point.  I had been carried upstairs, as I had lost almost my entire ability to walk.  I could hear laughter, and smell delicious things, and I felt very alone and very sad.  I cried, all bundled in bed, and listened to Windham Hill Artist’s A Winter Solstice, which my mother would play to comfort me.  The song “Gift” has always stuck with me – a gentle bit of comfort when feeling ill and lonely.

I pulled out of that bout of Lyme, and two others, and walked again.  My ability to move from point A to point B is something I will never take for granted, and a reason I so fully love walking in the 60-mile Susan G. Komen 3-day for the Cure.

Changing my diet is what healed me.  Yes, I’ve taken a lot of antibiotics in my 18 years of battling Lyme.  But every time I’ve gone through treatment it has not been until I’ve worked with a nutritionist of some sort and been put on a strict diet with lots of supplements and vitamin drips that I’ve seen results.

As a child it was obviously hard.  There weren’t cookbooks and blogs on gluten or dairy free baking.  There was one alternative for gluten free bread, and it was horrid.  Rice Dream was no substitute for ice cream, and the only offering.  Whole Foods did not exist, at least not in Connecticut.  There was almost no “alternative baking”.  It was a huge adjustment for my parents.

So this holiday season I’ve found myself overwhelmed with joy, gratitude and a feeling of community.  In one weekend I participated in three cookie swaps.

The first, the NY Cookie Swap organized by Three Many Cooks for Bloggers Without Borders, benefited Cookies for Kids Cancers.  Obviously any way I can help other children fight their illnesses, I’m in.  I remember how hard it was for my parents, seeing me sick as a child, a college student and as a full adult, and how my father sometimes tears up to this day, knowing I will never be as free of illness as he wishes I could be.  On a crisp Sunday afternoon dozens of bloggers met for some barbecue, margaritas and cookie swapping.  It was a joy to put faces and voices to the blog names I’ve seen all over the web.  And there was an entire table set aside for gluten-free cookies.  Awesome.  (Getting misty-eyed).

My monthly Burwell General Store Swap went up that Sunday as well.  Every month I join a group of 25 or so bloggers in adapting a recipe to our heart’s content.  Mine, of course, are gluten free.  I love this group of talented home and professional chefs.  For the NY and Burwell swaps I made Mesquite Gingerbread Men (recipe soon) and Chocolate Almond Biscotti, the recipe of which was chosen for FoodBuzz’s Top 9!

And then there’s this: the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap, which required me to ship out 1 dozen cookies each to 3 bloggers I had been paired with – all gluten-free eaters.  In return I’d get three dozen different cookies as well! Awesome, no?

I am so very thankful for my ability to walk, my ability to eat what some see as a limited but I see as an incredible diverse and dynamic scope of food.  And I’m so thankful to have grown with a community of those who need to eat the same way, who pool information and resources, and to be able to teach some of what I have learned in my 18 years of living this way.

While I look back on that first Lyme Christmas as a blue one, the only blue snowflakes that are falling for me now are the ones I’m dunking in my almond milk.

Thanks to Three Many Cooks for the NY Cookie Swap and Love and Olive Oil and The Little Kitchen for organizing the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap.

I don’t have pictures of the beautiful gluten free cookies I received in the swap because as soon as they came in they were either in my mouth or on a plate and out the door with a collection of others.  They were so delicious and looked so nice alongside others that I had made for gifting, and, well, I’ve seen myself on camera lately and I have to WATCH MY COOKIES.

Julie from Swim… Bike… Running on Empty sent some deliciously moist gluten, corn and dairy free vegan pumpkin bites that were laced with nuts and chocolate as well.  The perfect soft cakey-cookie.  Check out her blog for healthy living tips including balancing all these cookies with exercise (which some of us need to incorporate more, note to self).  Follow her Tweets, people!

Maria from Gluten-Free Girl in Chicago‘s White Sugar Cookies with Pecans reintroduced me to the love of dipping cookies in milk.  Don’t know why, but I’m as excited about this practice as if I’d just discovered the combo myself.  Her crisp, delicate cookies were made with Earth Balance Coconut Spread (which I’d never heard of) and Better Batter All Purpose Flour.  So two new things for the DB.  I’m making them asap.  Since I have a big thing of almond milk waiting for me in the fridge.  Also check her out on Twitter.

Lastly, Clean Eating Chelsey’s Vegan Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies were just the perfect way to round out this trio.  I loved how they weren’t that sweet.  I find a huge difference between gluten-free and/or vegan eaters: we generally use less sugar. When adapting some recipes I’ll think something is WAY too sweet and my regular eating friends will disagree.  So these soft, chewy cookies (also perfect in almond milk) with big chunks of vegan chocolate and a strong coconut oil flavor were divine.  Follow her on Twitter too.

When those blue snowflakes start falling...

Classic Butter Snowflake Cookies

Makes about 3 dozen large snowflake cookies

Ingredients:

Adapted from the Classic Sugar Cookies by Saveur

  • 3 cups brown rice flour
  • 2 cups arrowroot or tapioca flour
  • 1 cup quinoa or millet flour
  • 3 tsp xanthan gum
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cup unsalted butter (3 sticks), soft
  • 2 1/2 cup organic sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 3 Tbsp Meringue / Egg White Powder
  • 1/2-1 cup warm water
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (or almond, cinnamon etc.)
  • Gel food coloring
  • Colored sanding sugar and edible glitter

Method: Cookies

Whisk the flours, xanthan gum, baking powder and salt.

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes (especially when using organic sugars or sucanat, you need to mix longer as they don’t break down or dissolve very well).  Add the eggs, one a time, beating thoroughly between additions and scraping down the side of the bowl as needed.

Slowly add the flour, and mix until the dough just pulls together and the flour is blended in.

Divide in four, wrap in wax paper or plastic wrap and chill for 45 minutes or until a bit firmer.

When ready to cut and bake, preheat oven to 325°.  On a floured surface, roll dough to 1/8 – 1/4 inch thick.  Cut with 3 inch snowflake cookie cutters (or cutters of choice, of course).  Bake for 15 minutes or until just brown at edges.  Cool for 5 minutes on sheet before removing to cooling racks.  Cool completely before icing.  Repeat with remaining dough.

Note: It’s easier to re-roll gluten-free cookies than regular cookies because you don’t have the presence of the gluten protein to make them tougher.  However, the softer the dough gets, the less crisp and crumbly it will be.

Method: Royal Icing

To make the icing, place sifted powdered sugar and meringue / egg white powder in bowl of standing mixer with the paddle attachment.  Add 1/2 cup of warm water and mix on medium low to incorporate.  If it is very dry, add a bit more water.  Increase speed to high and beat until glossy and stiff, about 6 minutes.

Now, some people freak out with royal icing.  I find it fun.  Because if you need thinner icing for piping a trillion cookies smoothly, just add warm water a teaspoon at a time until you get to the consistency you want.  Mix gel food colorings in a desired amount in small bowls.  This mixture makes about 3 cups, which is plenty for this batch of cookies.

Have fun with icing tips to pipe thick frosting on the snowflakes, and immediately sprinkle with shimmery sanding sugar or edible glitter as you go.

White Christmas...

About these ads

29 Comments

Filed under Baking for the Cause, Cookies, Dessert, Gluten-Free, Holidays!, Recipes

29 responses to “Classic Butter Snowflake Cookies (gluten free) – the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap!

  1. P

    Your cookies are fabulous! I can’t imagine have to deal with what you had to deal with as a child and I’m happy that you were able to find the right treatment and a dietary lifestyle that makes things tolerable for you. So envious that you were able to attend the NYC Cookie Swap and the FB Cookie Exchange is a fabulous undertaking with a participation turnout that is amazing.

  2. Your cookies were so good! I didn’t take any pictures either because they were gone within 2 days!!! My husband and I both enjoyed them :-) My mom just found out she has lyme’s disease so I will send her to your blog. She’s always looking for new things to read about it.

  3. Those are so cute ~ great job!

  4. Gorgeous! And I love butter cookies :)
    The swap was amazing I had such a blast with it!

  5. I have to try this! I just found out that I need to cut out gluten (right after I signed up for the swap of course!)- so glad to find a recipe that I can enjoy too!

  6. Such a GREAT post!! So happy that you’re healthy and doing better this year! And what stunning cookies these are!!

  7. Beautiful cookies. I think the cookie swap was a ton of fun and brought together so many bloggers.
    I received vegan cookies, and now that you mention the sugar content, I totally see it. For me I never really noticed, I just found that as I became vegetarian (almost vegan) that I didn’t really crave sweet things anymore (or at least not in the quantity that I did previously).
    Have a great day Jacqueline!

    • Thanks Rachel! Yeah, I think the taste buds definitely change – I LIKE the taste of healthier cookies :) I guess that’s the joy of eating wholer foods in general. Happy Holidays!

  8. These cookies are darling! I saw whispers and rumors of the food blogger cookie swap, but by the time I was paying attention it was too late for me to join. :) It is SUCH a good idea, though. And I would be THRILLED to receive these cookies in the mail. So festive, bright, and lovely.

    • It was such a fun experience – one that you should definitely be a part of because YOUR cookies would DELIGHT the recipients! It was a thrill to choose what to make and get it all done in a crazy holiday time crunch.

  9. These were so wonderful! They came just in time to help me cope with finals, and they honestly tasted like regular sugar cookies, I couldn’t even tell they were gluten free. The decorations were adorable too. Thank you so much!

    PS-My roommates loved them as well!

    • Yay! Thank you, and I’m so glad you and your roommate made it through finals! I’m getting sentimental, seeing all the Columbia students where I live going home for the holidays. Have a great break!

  10. Pingback: the little kitchen » The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap Recipe Roundup Part 2

  11. Jacqueline,
    Your sentimental post makes us think just how grateful we all are to be able to eat all these goodies. What a wonderful swap and great they were all with the gluten-free buddies. Fabulous looking cookies with the Jack Frost look. Full of admiration. Enjoy a cosy, healthy Christmas!

    • Thanks Jill! I am very grateful for how much I can eat now : too much, actually, I’m starting to look like a snow-woman! Happy Christmas to you and yours over there as well!

  12. You have such an inspiring story that shows us all how much we have to be grateful for!
    Your cookies look so beautiful!

  13. Love another Gluten Free Recipe! THANK YOU!

  14. Liz

    Beautiful cookies!!! I’m so glad you have overcome all obstacles with diet changes…not easy, I’m sure, but you’ve done it!

  15. Happy you’re feeling good and your cookies are beautiful! So fun and festive.

  16. charlene

    Hi there. thank you for this recipe we made them for our cookie exchange and they were enjoyed as much by the people who could eat gluten as well. I have a friend who is 87 and has been having to do without the treats she has been used to in the last few years and she was delighted when we gave her a box for Christmas.
    Could you tell me whether the dough can be frozen and for how long? thank you
    Charlene

  17. Pingback: Milk Bar Mondays – Carrot Cake Truffles (gluten and dairy free) | The Dusty Baker

  18. Pingback: Roasted Kabocha Squash with Cassava Bread Stuffing (vegan, gluten free) – Burwell Recipe Swap | The Dusty Baker