Almond Crackle Cookies

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Almond crackle cookies are deliciously crunchy and fragrant, as well as amazingly easy to make.  In the time that your oven preheats, you mix together three ingredients and then dollop the batter onto baking sheets.  Voila – cookies!

Baking notes:

  • Dorie Greenspan also gives instructions for making the cookies in muffin tins, which leads to a prettier shape, but getting them out of the tins is finicky.  Perhaps I shouldn’t have let them cool for longer than 10 minutes, but by the time I tried to remove them, all but five (pictured above) were stuck fast.  The good news is that if you soak the tins in the sink, the cookies will soften and you can clean out the tins.  The bad news is that you won’t have many cookies.
  • If you bake the cookies on cookie sheets, they will be thinner and more crunchy, which I personally prefer.
  • The batter is fairly robust: The second time I made the cookies, I only had 1 cup of almonds, so I cut the sugar to 5 tablespoons and kept the full egg.  The cookies still tasted good.

 

Almond Crackle Cookies
From Dorie Greenspan’s Dorie’s Cookies

Yield: 20 cookies

  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/4 cups sliced almonds (blanched or unblanched)

 

  1. Position racks to divide oven into thirds and preheat to 325°F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.  Have a small cookie scoop or a teaspoon at hand.
  2. Whisk sugar and egg together in a bowl for a minute or so, until well blended and just a bit thick.
  3. Add the almonds and whisk until evenly coated with the mixture.  You need to use the batter right away — it separates as it stands.  In fact, it’s good to give the batter a stir or two as you’re spooning it out.
  4. Each cookie needs 2 teaspoons of batter.  Scoop the batter onto the baking sheets, leaving at least 2 inches of space between the mounds of batter, and flatten each mound with your fingers or the back of a fork.
  5. Bake for about 20 minutes.  Rotate the pans front to back and top to bottom midway through baking. The cookies should be toasted-almond beige, and dry and crackled on top.
  6. Transfer the baking sheets to racks and let the cookies cool for about 10 minutes.
  7. Carefully lift cookies off sheets with a wide spatula.  (If you used parchment paper, they release very easily.  You probably don’t even need to use a spatula.)
  8. If your kitchen is cool and dry, you can keep these in a tin or paper bag overnight. Keep them longer, and they might soften, a condition easily reversed: Place the cookies on a lined baking sheet and warm them in a 350°F oven for about 6 minutes; cool on the sheet.

Flourless Peanut Butter Jelly Cookies

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It’s America’s favorite lunch in cookie form!  These flourless cookies are very simple to make and have an intense peanut butter flavor.  Top them with your favorite jam or jelly.

Original recipe

 

Flourless Peanut Butter Jelly Cookies
Adapted from AllRecipes

Yield: 12-16 cookies

  • 1 cup peanut butter (I used smooth, but I’m sure chunky works just as well)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • Jelly or jam, of your choice

 

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
  2. In a mixing bowl, stir together peanut butter, sugar, and egg until smooth.
  3. Drop spoonfuls of dough, about 2 tablespoons each, onto the prepared baking sheet.
  4. Use the tines of a fork to press a crisscross pattern across the tops, flattening them to about 1/2 inch thick.
  5. Drop 1/2-1 teaspoon of your favorite jelly or jam in the middle of each cookie.
  6. Bake 6-8 minutes.  Do not over-bake!  The cookies will still be extremely soft and just barely brown on the bottoms.  Leave them on the baking sheet, and they will harden as they cool.

 

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

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These cookies combine three different forms of chocolate and have a deliciously soft texture.  The gluten-free version have great structural integrity and don’t spread out very much when baking.

 

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Wolfgang Puck

Yield: 30 cookies gluten free, 24 with regular flour

  • 1 3/4 cups gluten-free OR all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 oz (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into small pieces
  • 3/4-1 cup light brown sugar (depending on how sweet you want the cookies)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2-2 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted
  • 1 3/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)

 

  1. With an electric mixer on medium speed, soften butter.
  2. Add brown sugar and beat together on high speed until fluffy.  Stop machine to scrape down the sides as necessary.
  3. Decrease speed to medium and beat in eggs and vanilla.
  4. Stop machine, scrape in melted chocolate, and beat on medium speed until thoroughly combined.
  5. Beat in cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
  6. On low speed, gradually beat in flour.  (If using all-purpose flour, beat just until combined.  Luckily, over-beating is not a worry for gluten-free flour.)
  7. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts, if using.
  8. Position racks to divide oven into thirds and preheat to 350ºF.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
  9. Shape dough into 2-tablespoon balls and space them 2 inches apart on baking sheets.
  10. Bake about 15 minutes, or until slightly firm to the touch, reversing the trays front to back and top to bottom halfway through.
  11. If making gluten-free cookies, leave them on the sheets for a few minutes after they come out of the oven so they harden a little more.
  12. Cool cookies on wire rack.

 

Chocolate Wafer Cookies

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Chocolate wafer cookies are great to have around, not only for snacking on but also for, say, crushing and turning into cheesecake crusts.

Original recipe

 

Chocolate Wafer Cookies
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Yield: 50-60 1 3/4-inch wafers

  • 1 1/2 cups gluten-free OR all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 14 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly softened
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

 

  1. In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter and sugar.
  2. Beat in cocoa, salt, and baking soda.
  3. Beat in flour.
  4. Beat in milk and vanilla.
  5. Transfer the dough to a large bowl or a cutting board and knead a few times to make sure it is evenly blended.
  6. Form dough into a log about 14 inches long and 1 3/4 inches in diameter. Wrap log in wax paper or foil and refrigerate until firm, at least one hour, or until needed.
  7. Position the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  8. Cut log of dough into slices a scant 1/4-inch thick and place them 1-2 inches apart on baking sheets (even cookies made with all-purpose flour will spread).
  9. Bake for 12-15 minutes, rotating the baking sheets from top to bottom and back to front about halfway through.  The cookies will puff up and deflate; they are done about 1 1/2 minutes after they deflate.
  10. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets on racks, or slide the parchment onto racks to cool completely.  They should crisp as they cool.  If they don’t, return them to the oven to reheat and bake a little longer, then cool again.
  11. These cookies may be stored in an airtight container for up to two weeks or be frozen for up to two months.

Sour Cream Cookies

This is a tender cookie studded with raisins or cranberries (or even chocolate chips if you prefer).  They spread out more when gluten free, as expected, but not unreasonably so.

Original recipe

Sour Cream Cookies
Adapted from All Recipes

Yield: 24 cookies

  • 1/2 cup shortening OR butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar, depending on how sweet you want them
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3 cups gluten-free OR all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups raisins OR cranberries OR chocolate chips
  • 2 cups chopped pecans (optional)
  1. In a medium bowl, cream together shortening OR butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla until smooth.
  2. Stir in sour cream.
  3. Mix in salt, baking powder, and baking soda.
  4. Mix in flour.
  5. Stir in raisins OR cranberries OR chocolate chips, and pecans if using.
  6. Cover dough and refrigerate for 1/2 hour.  (This step is less important if you’re using gluten-free flour, so I usually skip it.)
  7. Preheat oven to 350ºF.  Grease cookie sheet.
  8. Drop dough by teaspoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheet.  Space cookies 1-2 inches apart, using the larger distance if gluten free.
  9. Bake 15-20 minutes.

Jam Ginger Cookies

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Because a friend of mine loves ginger, I took Dorie Greenspan’s recipe for buttery jam cookies and doubled the amount of ground ginger.  Just for good measure, I also added bits of crystallized ginger to it.  The cookies turned out to have good structural integrity.

 

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

Yield: 36 gluten-free cookies

  • 1 cup gluten-free flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons jam of your choice (apricot, peach, marmalade…)
  • 2 tablespoons crystallized ginger, cut into bits (optional)

 

  1. Position racks to divide oven into thirds.  Preheat oven to 375ºF.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
  2. Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat butter on medium speed until creamy and smooth.
  3. Add sugar and beat for a minute.
  4. Add egg and beat for 2 minutes.  The mixture will be satiny.
  5. Add milk and vanilla and beat just to combine.  The mixture might look curdled at this point, but that’s okay.  It will even out shortly.
  6. Reduce mixer speed to low, add jam, and beat for 1 minute.
  7. Still on low speed, beat in baking powder, ginger, and salt.
  8. Beat in flour on low speed.  The dough will be very thick.
  9. Stir in crystallized ginger, if using.
  10. Spoon the dough by rounded teaspoons onto the baking sheets, leaving about 1 inch between cookies.
  11. Bake for 10-12 minutes, rotating the pans from top to bottom and front to back halfway through.  The cookies will be only just firm, fairly pale, and browned around the edges.
  12. Remove baking sheets from oven and let cookies rest on them for 1 minute.
  13. Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool to room temperature.

Jelly Cookies

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These jelly cookies are deliciously buttery, topped with a dollop of your favorite jelly or fruit preserves.  The gluten-free ones are more crumbly, of course, but they survive stacking pretty well and you can bring them to potlucks.

Original recipe

 

Jelly Cookies
Adapted from All Recipes

Yield: 36 cookies

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 cups gluten-free OR all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar OR white sugar plus a dollop of molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4-1/2 cup of your favorite jelly or preserves (such as raspberry preserves or marmalade)

 

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease baking sheets or line with aluminum foil.
  2. Beat the butter with the sugars.
  3. Beat in the egg and vanilla.
  4. Beat in the baking powder.
  5. Beat in the flour.  The gluten-free dough is wet and sticky, so you could refrigerate it for a few minutes.  It’s not necessary though.
  6. Form dough into 1-inch balls, gently flatten, and place on baking sheets.  Space them about 1 1/2 inches apart.
  7. Make an indentation in each cookie and fill with jelly or preserves.  (I used a heaping 1/4 teaspoon per cookie for the gluten-free cookies.)
  8. Bake for about 14 minutes if gluten free, 12-15 minutes if using normal flour.  Right out of the oven, the gluten-free cookies are fragile, so leave them on the baking sheets for at least 5 minutes to harden before you move them.