Sugar Cookies

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I got these summery beach-themed cookie cutters and just had to try them out!  Although this gluten-free dough works best for slice-and-bake cookies, you can use cookie cutters too.

 

Sugar Cookies
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours

Yield: 50 slice-and-bake cookies

  • 2 cups gluten-free flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3-1 cup sugar, depending on how sweet you like desserts
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

  1. Working with a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat butter at medium speed for 1 minute, until smooth.
  2. Beat in sugar and continue to beat for 2 minutes, until mixture is light and pale.
  3. Add egg and yolk and beat for another 1-2 minutes.
  4. Beat in vanilla.
  5. Beat in salt and baking powder.
  6. Reduce mixer speed to low and steadily add in flour.  The dough will be very soft and very sticky.
  7. The dough needs to be refrigerated before it can be shaped.  I found that it works best if you make slice-and-bake cookies.  Divide the dough in half and shape each half into a sausage about 1-2 inches in diameter.  Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 2 hours.  If you want to use cookie cutters, divide the dough into several balls in the bowl, cover the bowl tightly, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.  (If it’s well wrapped, you can refrigerate dough for up to 3 days or freeze it for up to 2 months.)
  8. Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350ºF.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
  9. If you’re making slice-and-bake cookies, use a sharp thin knife to cut the dough into 1/4-inch-thick rounds.  Arrange them on baking sheets, leaving 2 inches of space between them.  If you’re using cookie cutters, take out one ball of dough from the refrigerator at a time.  Grab a handful of it, pat it on the baking sheet to 1/4-inch thickness, plant the cutter in it, and scrape away the excess with your fingers.  The dough will get more and more gooey as it warms up, so try to work quickly.
  10. Bake the cookies one sheet at a time for 12-15 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through.  The cookies will feel somewhat firm but will not color much.
  11. Remove cookie sheet from oven and let cookies cool on it for a few minutes before you try to remove them.

Ladyfingers

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Ladyfingers are light, fluffy desserts that are good to eat in hot weather.  My gluten-free, corn-free ones turned out to be distressingly sticky (maybe a final sugar dusting just before serving would have helped), but other than that, my friends liked them.

Ladyfingers
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking Chez Moi

Yield: 24 ladyfingers

  • 1/4 cup gluten-free OR all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca starch OR cornstarch
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

 

  1. Cut a piece of parchment paper the size of your baking sheet.  Working the long way, draw two lines spaced 4 inches apart.  Leave some space and draw another 4-inch-wide band.
  2. Flip paper over and line the baking sheet.
  3. Fit a pastry bag with a plain 1/2-inch tip or have a large zipper-lock bag ready.
  4. Sift flour and starch together onto a piece of parchment or wax paper.
  5. Working in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the whites at medium-high speed until they turn opaque, begin to thicken, and hold their shape.
  6. Very gradually beat in the sugar and, when it’s fully incorporated, increase the mixer speed to high and beat for about 2 minutes more, or until the meringue is firm but still glossy.
  7. Whisk the yolks in a small bowl just until smooth.
  8. Gently spoon about 1/4 of the meringue over the yolks and whisk to blend.
  9. Scrape the yolks into the bowl with the meringue and, using a flexible spatula, fold the mixtures together lightly.  (Don’t be too thorough; you’ll mix it more later.)
  10. Add dry ingredients to the bowl, using the paper as a funnel, and start folding for real.  Work quickly and lightly, and don’t be discouraged when the meringue deflates a little.  Just blend the batter as completely as you can.  Make sure there are no pockets of flour, but specks of egg white are fine.
  11. Fill pastry bag or zipper-lock bag with half of the batter.  If using the bag, snip off a corner to make a 1/2-inch opening.
  12. Working with a long side of the baking sheet toward you, pipe out fingers.  Start at the top line of one of the bands and pipe to the bottom, making the fingers 4 inches long and 1 inch wide.  (You can pipe the logs so close together that they almost touch; they’ll bake together and you can separate them when they cool.)
  13. Repeat with the rest of the batter.
  14. Dust the tops with confectioners’ sugar and let them rest for at least 15 minutes while you preheat the oven.
  15. Preheat oven to 400ºF.
  16. Dust ladyfingers again with confectioners’ sugar and bake for 8-10 minutes.  The ladyfingers will be a pale golden color.
  17. Lift parchment from baking sheet onto a cooling rack.  Let ladyfingers cool to room temperature.
  18. To remove the ladyfingers, run a long offset spatula under them to ease them off the parchment.  Use a long sharp knife or pizza wheel to cut into individual ladyfingers, if necessary.
  19. You can serve them plain, or accompanied by whipped cream, mousse, or jam.  You can also dust them with confectioners’ sugar one more time before serving.
  20. The ladyfingers can be stored for up to a week.  Layer them between sheets of parchment paper and keep them in a closed container in a dry place.

Banana Bread

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If you have overripe bananas, here is one way to turn them into a delicious snack!  The batter is very quick to make (great for a weekday evening), and then you just toss the loaf in the oven for an hour.

Original recipe

Banana Bread
Adapted from All Recipes

Yield: one 9″ x 5″ loaf

  • 2 cups gluten-free OR all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar (see here to make your own)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 1/3 cups mashed overripe bananas (roughly 3 bananas)

 

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Lightly grease a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar.
  3. Stir in eggs and mashed bananas until well blended.
  4. Stir in baking soda and salt.
  5. Stir in flour, just to moisten.
  6. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
  7. Bake for 60 to 65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.