The versatility of cookies
Growing up, I ate cookies for breakfast. Chips Ahoy, Oreos, and those little E.L. Fudge cookies were dunked in 2% milk. Thinking about walking into the store--or opening a pantry cupboard--and grabbing any bag of cookies in there, then dunking them in milk that is not somehow derived from a plant, is laughable. Sure, I could buy Glutino's Chocolate Chip Cookies, but I could also spend that $5 on a Brunehaut Amber at one of the bars in Boulder. My priorities have evolved.
That doesn't mean I have stopped eating cookies. For me, baking gluten-free cupcakes is easier than cookies. Cupcakes are forgiving. If they fall and are all sunken-in because you're trying to alter glutenous recipes and didn't get it quite right, just cover those cupcakes with a little extra dairy-free buttercream, and everyone will rave about the deliciously sweet frosting (can you tell this has happened to me before?).
Also, have you noticed that holidays revolve around cookies? I'm generalizing here. When I think of Memorial Day, I think hot dogs, hamburgers, and a mountain of potato salad, but I live for the Christmas holiday season. My Christmas celebrations require cookies. Cut-outs, pizzelles, chocolate Italian cookies, figs--the list goes on. And now you're thinking, "Ashley, it's September! Why are you thinking about Christmas cookies?" As fall approaches, I crave the smells of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and anise. The leaves change color, the days grow colder, and I dream of sipping hot apple cider and reading Jane Eyre.
Fall and holidays also indicate pumpkin. Pumpkin lattes. Pumpkin pie. Pumpkin candles! My pumpkin chai addiction has returned, but I like to save the pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving. So, to satisfy my fall flavor craving, I opted for glazed chai shortbreads.
The orange sprinkles made them even more fall-like.
1 cup earth balance vegan butter, softened
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 cups gluten-free flour (like Bob's Red Mill)
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1-2 tsp water
Combine butter, brown sugar, and 1 tsp vanilla in the bowl of your stand mixer. Beat until creamy. Reduce speed to low and add all remaining cookie ingredients, beating until the dough forms.
Divide the dough into thirds. Shape each third into a square log about 6 x 1.5 inches. Wrap each log in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least an hour.
Heat oven to 375º.
Cut logs into 1/4-inch slices with a sharp knife. Place cookies 1-inch apart on your cookie sheet. Bake 8-11 minutes, or until lightly browned on the edges. Cool 5 minutes on the cookie sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Combine powdered sugar, 2 tsp vanilla, and 1 tsp water. Stir until combined. If you want a runnier consistency, add water 1 tsp at a time. Drizzle the glaze over cooled cookies and let the cookies stand until the glaze it set.
I'm also not a pro at baking gluten-free cookies. The recipe says 8-11 minutes. After checking them at 8 minutes, I thought they needed another 3. I pulled the first batch out of the oven and they looked perfect. I drooled over them for a minute and watched them begin to turn from golden brown to crispy, burnt-brown. Gluten-free baked goods seem to have a longer post-oven baking time. The first batch ended up being a little over-done. The perfection you see in the photograph above is the second batch. Eight minutes in the oven, cooled for 4ish minutes on the cookie sheet, then transferred to a cooling rack.
The cookies are soft, yet crumbly, and not overly sweet. They're the perfect afternoon tea treat! They're also the perfect treat to bring a friend who has just begun a gluten-free adventure. So start thinking about what gluten-free cookies you can bake to survive holidays that are generally gluten-filled. Just because you can't eat gluten doesn't mean you can't celebrate with cookies.