Tag Archives: tapioca starch

Gluten-Free Pressed Lemon Butter Cookies

Gluten-free pressed lemon butter cookies

Today I am thankful for my Bialetti coffee maker, my mother, and Jeanne from The Art of Gluten-Free Baking.  My coffee maker because it makes delicious espresso that I can sit with for a few minutes, pretending it’s caffeinated and will give me more energy when it’s really decaf and I just love the way it tastes.  My mother because she gave me a cookie press for Christmas a few years ago that only today saw the light of day (other than when it was moved to this, its third home).  And Jeanne because I just stumbled on her blog and love it!  I only slightly changed her Pressed Butter Cookie recipe, using my own gluten-free flour blend and adding a little lemon to make it more of a tart Spring cookie.  Her site is incredible and her directions are so clear and helpful.  Until I come up with my own tips and techniques I’m just gonna keep sending people to her.  And she has chickens!  If you read my posts with any sort of regularity, you’ll understand my delight with anyone who has chickens (I’m dying to make a little NYC rooftop garden and have a few of my own!).

Lots of cookies!

At this very moment my kitchen is a mess.  Gluten-full cookies in the shapes of crosses are ready to receive dark black royal icing and letters etched into them for a benefit I’m in on Saturday.  And now these little melt-in-your-mouth babies are cooling alongside to be tenderly packaged.  I’m covered in flour, there’s no surface not covered with something.  And I’m out the door in about 20 minutes!

Dusty, dusty, dusty!

I’ve just concluded that there’s no way I’m going to frost all these cookies before I go.  The boyfriend doesn’t know this, but he’s learning how to pour royal icing tonight and we’re getting take-out!

Dusty cookies!

Notes: Now, as you can see from these pictures these cookies are incredibly delicate – so, so delicate.  I found that my thick, industrial cookie sheets didn’t work well – the shape was perfect but they crumbled when I removed them.  Thinner pans gave the cookies more hold but because of that they were a tad brown on bottom. I’m not sure how I’m going to fix this next time.  Suggestions?

Also, they came out better when the dough was cooler.  My press recommended keeping them at room temp but once I stuck the dough in the fridge for a bit, they pressed better.  And then I stuck the prepared pans in the fridge until the oven was ready for them , and their shape held much better.


Gluten-Free Pressed Lemon Butter Cookies

Adapted with thanks from Jeanne at The Art of Gluten-Free Baking


  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 3 large egg yolks (I see macarons coming with the whites!)
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 3 1/4 cups gluten-free flour (I used my gluten-free cookie flour.  Make sure yours has xanthan gum in it, and if not add 1 tsp xanthan gum)


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Make sure your flours are whisked / sifted well and add xanthan gum if not included.
  • In the bowl of a standing mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter until fluffy, then add sugar and cream together.
  • Add egg yolks, one at a time, and beat to incorporate.
  • Add lemon zest, extract and juice and beat in.
  • Add flour and slowly beat in, then increase speed until incorporated.
  • Fill cookie press and press onto ungreased cookie sheets.
  • Bake one sheet at a time for 12-15 minutes, or until the edges are lightly browned.
  • Let cool on sheets completely before removing, gingerly, with a thin spatula.

Gluten and Dairy-Free Irish Soda Bread

Back-story to this recipe: In a few weeks I’ll be hosting my annual St. Patrick’s Day party.  It started several years ago, when my boyfriend-at-the-time-now-best-friend moved in with me in Queens.  He’s from an Irish family (Ruark Michael Downey – you don’t get more Irish than that!) and I’d been to Ireland several times at that point.  What naturally followed was a succession of parties where we’d bring in a keg of Guinness, bottles of whiskey and Irish cream, and I’d make a full boiled dinner.  The second year I made lamb stew and corned beef and cabbage.  Subsequent years brought us to the point where we were making 9 corned beefs and I was whipping up car-bomb cupcakes by the several dozen.  We needed nothing more than good food, good booze and the company of our lovely friends.

This year I’m doing a bit of experimenting with gluten-and-dairy-free recipes to include with the traditional ones I’ll be presenting.  For this  I found the most traditional Irish Soda Bread recipe I could find, having discarded anything fancy and landing on one with thorough directions and a bit of history.

So, the Irish are famous for soda bread for two reasons: the abundance of soft wheat with a lower gluten content and the availability of fuel for home fires and therefore the ability to bake bread at whim.  Simple ingredients (flour, milk, salt and baking soda) create a quick bread that’s delicious with a bowl of thick stew or layered around cold meat.  Since you don’t want the gluten to develop (as you would with a harder wheat and yeast combo), this makes this bread perfect for a gluten-free version.  I tried to approximate the taste of flour I remember from my glutenous soda-bread days, so threw in some oat and quinoa flour with the bulky rice flour and starches.  And I soured unsweetened almond milk, hoping that the vinegar would produce the proper chemical reaction with the baking soda.

The result?  This bread is delicious!  Deceptively sweet, especially as it contains NO SUGAR.  And popping warm, it’s perfect with a touch of Irish butter.  I gave some to my friend Lynn and her boyfriend Griff, who’s from Ireland.  His response: “this is a very close approximation of the bread of my people”.  They gobbled them up.

For this go around I made 8 mini loafs from the recipe to cut down the baking time dramatically.  For St. Pat’s I’ll be making two full loaves along with a wheat-flour version.  I have a feeling the recipe is equally successful either way.


  • 1 cup gluten-free whole-grain oat flour
  • 1 cup white rice flour
  • 1/2 cup quinoa flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour / starch
  • 1/2 cup arrowroot starch
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp sugar (optional – I did not use)
  • 8-10 oz buttermilk or soured milk of choice at room temperature (directions below)
  • 1/2 cup dried currants (optional)


  • Preheat oven to 45o degrees.  It should be fully preheated and nice and hot before you put the bread in.
  • Lightly flour a heavy baking sheet with gluten-free flour.
  • In a large bowl, sift together the flours, salt, sugar and baking soda.  Gather and sift again, so that the baking soda is fully dispersed.  Make a well in the center.
  • If using regular milk or milk alternative: measure one Tbsp white or red wine vinegar in a 2-cup measuring cup.  Add enough milk to make 10 oz.  Use a fork to mix thoroughly.
  • Slowly pour about 8 oz of the milk into the well of flour, and quickly start blending with fork until it starts to pull together.  The mixture should be rather lumpy and on the drier side, but pulled together.  Add currants and fold in gently.  If too dry, add remaining milk until mixture pulls together.
  • Turn onto a slightly floured board and knead just until the dough is one, about 15 seconds / 6 kneads.  Don’t over knead.
  • Break dough into 8 balls, and press into slightly flat disks.  Using a sharp knife, cut a cross in each loaf about 1/3 into the dough.
  • Place in hot oven and bake 13 minutes, or until the tops are slightly brown.  If you tap on the bottom of  a loaf, it should sound hollow.  The dough in the center should be slightly soft though.
  • Cool before eating or enjoy warm with melted butter.

One-loaf Option: Shape into one loaf, slice the cross in, and bake for 10 minutes at 450 degrees, then decrease heat to 400 degrees and bake for 25 minutes longer or until crisp on top and sounding hollow with a tap on the bottom.

Note: This recipe is dedicated to my lovely roommate, Erika.  She’s been working so much lately that she hasn’t been able to (in her opinion) contribute to the upkeep of our generally clean apartment.  So she paid someone to come in and wash and scrub everything, and we lounged in our immaculate living room, catching up.  And less than an hour later, I was in the kitchen… and it got a bit dusty.

Baked Blackberry and Lemon Pancake

Ginger Ann

This recipe is inspired by my very dear friend Amie, an amazing mom to two very young daughters that I love to death and sometimes get to have dance parties with, decked out in tutus and tiaras, in their living room.  One of Amie’s many impressive breakfast creations is a baked apple pancake.  While I’ve never tasted it myself (gluten and dairy), it looks amazing, and the girls gobble it up.

Lucy Jane

By the way, I dare you to tell me that these aren’t two of the most precious children you’ve ever seen.  And, come on, Ginger Ann and Lucy Jane?!?!  They slay me.  Though I hope Amie won’t for my putting a picture up with Ginger’s face covered in food.  And I think about two minutes after the picture of Lucy I couldn’t save her beautiful sweater from the hot chocolate I ordered her.  But Ginger looks awesome in those Yoko Ono sunglasses, no?  I digress.

Anyway, Amie gave me her basic process for this pancake, and I locked it away to make for myself when the time was right.  This morning, the time was right.

I decided to use Bob’s Red Mill Pancake Mix as the basis for the pancake so I can make these at my parents’ or boyfriend’s homes – which are the places I usually make such decadent things for breakfast.  And while baked apple pancakes are divine, I wanted to work into the recipes the berries that are actually delightfully sweet right now (thank you, product of Mexico) with the tartness of organic lemon juice and the sweetness of xylitol.

A note on xylitol. I try to use sweeteners as little as possible when I bake which, I know, is blasphemous in most kitchens.  When I do, I usually try to keep it to maple syrup, which has all the glorious nutrients of the trees it came from.  But because I wanted to blend some sweetness in without the caramel flavor of maple syrup, I used xylitol.  My doctor recommends this as a sweetener and, yes, I do always listen to what he says because he’s the genius that got me healthy again.

What is xylitol? It’s a natural sweetener that has 30% less calories, 75% less carbohydrates and causes relatively little change in insulin levels, so it’s safer for those with diabeties and hypoglycemia.  It’s also great for teeth (in some toothpaste) and aids digestion.  And it’s just as sweet as white sugar, with only a slightly larger grain, so it’s easy to use in baking.  It can be found, affordably, at most natural health markets.

Now, to the recipe!

If you think this is not the best picture, I agree. Leave a comment encouraging my photographer boyfriend to step in more - or I'm afraid more of these are coming


  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 1/2 cups rinsed blackberries
  • 3 Tbsp xylitol (or sweetener of choice), separated
  • 1 1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill Pancake Mix
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (or soy, cow, rice etc.)
  • 4 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp starch (I used tapioca, but you could use corn or potato)


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F with a rack in the middle.
  • Toss blackberries with 2 Tbsp sweetener or sugar in a bowl and let sit.
  • Combine the pancake flour, eggs, baking powder, milk and 2 Tbsp lemon juice in a separate bowl.  Whisk thoroughly to combine, incorporating as much air as possible.
  • Melt 2 tbsp butter in saucepan on medium heat.  When melted, be sure to make sure all surfaces of the pan are coated.
  • Quickly toss the blackberries in the butter, and spread out evenly in pan.
  • Pour on the pancake batter, smoothing over until the blackberries are completely covered, and put pan (without a lid) into preheated oven.
  • Meanwhile, in a (very) small bowl, combine 2 Tbsp lemon juice, 1 Tbsp xylitol (or sweetener of choice) and 1 tsp starch.  Blend thoroughly with a fork.
  • When the pancake has been baking for about 5 minutes, make a few slices in the top, pour on the lemon mixture, and return to oven.
  • Continue baking for another 15 minutes or until slightly browned.
  • Remove from oven and let sit for five minutes before running a metal spatula around the sides of the pan.

The Dusty Baker’s Notes:

Now, I used a 3.5 quart stainless-steel Cuisinart saute pan that could go easily from the stove to the oven.  Other amazing options would be a cast iron skillet (yay!) or a Pyrex dish.  If using Pyrex, simply melt the butter and pour it into coat.

To present the pancake, I recommend NOT flipping it to expose the blackberry top.  There are a lot of delicious berries in this recipe, but because of the thickness of the berries, it’s not gonna be the most beautiful thing you’ve seen from that angle.  Rather, I’d cut slices and present with the browned top exposed.  You could also sprinkle the top with your sugar of choice after adding the lemon drizzle for a prettier finish.

This pancake was deliciously sweet to me – not too much that it tasted like a dessert, but enough that I actually didn’t use syrup with it.  The sweet blackberries in a light and neutral pancake compliment each other well, along with the tang of lemon.  To pump it up a notch, I’d using the zest of an entire lemon in the pancake batter (this was a step I had completely forgotten I wanted to include that I’ll definitely try when I make this again this weekend).


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