Sunday, January 8, 2012

Gluten free sugar cookies that taste great!

No, I have not fallen off the planet
I have taken a much needed break from kitchen duty.  I have been filling my days with taking down the Christmas decorations, being sad about the older kids leaving, and doing a much needed dietary detox.  Oh, and exercising.  It's been a party.

Instead of counters full of icing and cookies, it has been looking more like this.

I found a killer recipe from the Gluten free Goddess for Mulligatawny detox soup that is really good and packed with healthy ingredients.  So I am drinking detox tea, eating fresh whole foods, and eating boatloads of detox soup.  


Not easy for someone who's blog is called the enchanted oven.  Sigh.

I began with lots and lots of research as to how to cut out gluten, refined sugar and minimize fat.  I read, planned, shopped for ingredients, and concocted a grand scheme for the healthiest cookie on the planet.

Only one problem.  It was inedible.  Really.  I will spare you the recipe (you're welcome).  This kitchen nightmare had gluten free baking mix, pumpkin puree instead of butter, and sweetened with agave nectar.  My icing was a lovely combo of arrowroot powder, stevia, and almond milk.  And, are you ready for this?  I decided to tint my icing with BEET JUICE.  

My dog Nellie didn't even want it, and she eats snot filled tissues out of the wastebaskets like it was her job.

Time for plan B.  

I used a gluten free recipe that I found on the Land O Lakes website, but used rice flour instead of the prepacked gluten free baking mix.  In my humble opinion, that stuff is the devil in a bag.  AND, it is very expensive.  I figured, how bad can rice flour be?  I also found it for very cheap at Walmart in the Hispanic food aisle.  Because of humiliating level of my failure, I chose to use organic brown sugar for sweetening and butter for the fat in the recipe.  Even if I couldn't eat them, these babies were not going in the trash.  

I ate one, and I loved it.  My husband ate a couple and loved them.  Insert sound of a choir of angels singing. 
They are delicate and so need to be handled with care.  In fact, I let them sit on their baking sheets for about six minutes before moving them to a cooling sheet. 

They remind me of Keebler pecan sandies, which is a very big improvement over the first attempt.  They still contain sugar and fat, but hey, nobody is perfect.  I just have to keep MY hands off them.  

I hadn't decorated any sugar cookies since before Christmas, so I was ready to get back to work.  To cut down on the sugar, I chose to not flood the cookie, instead just doing designs in bright colors.  Because I am in a yoga/healthy eating/zen kind of mood, and I am big fan of patterns found in nature - my yellow cookies were a lotus blossom pattern.

The orange were a chrysanthemum pattern.

The red cookies had spider webs.

The green's had a leaf pattern.

Blue was a snowflake.

And purple was a spiral.

Put it all together, and you get a crazy rainbow of gluten free cookie goodness.  

Before I share this great recipe with you, I would like to share one of my pet peeves with you.

I HATE it when healthy recipe is touted as wonderful when it isn't.  When they are as hard as a hockey puck and taste like Milk Bones dog treats or worse, they aren't good.  So if I tell you it is good, well, it is good.  Really, really good.  I plan on continuing my experimentation with a healthier roll out cookie this week. I have a couple of ideas (none of which involve beet juice...) but I'll be honest, a scoop and plop cookie is a lot easier to make healthy and tasty than a roll out.  The problem for moi, is that I need a roll out to decorate.  

You see my problem, right?  

Gluten free sugar cookies adapted from Land O Lakes 

1 cup organic brown sugar
1/2 cup softened butter
2 egg yolks
1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract
2 1/4 cups rice flour
1/4 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  
Cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy.  Add egg yolks and extracts and mix well.  Slowly add dry ingredients.  At this point I typically chill my dough for at least 4 hours, but this one didn't require nearly that amount of time.  Roll out, place on lightly greased baking sheet and bake for 6 minutes.  Allow to cool on pan for 5 to 6 minutes and then carefully transfer to cooling rack.  

I hope we are all going to be able to have our cookies and eat them too!


  1. These cookies look beautiful and I trust your "taste" O Highness Queen of all Cookies!!! :) I have heard lots of good things about rice flour used as a coating for veggies, etc. when frying. Bobby Flay loves it. I also have heard of coconut flour. I think I will give this a try, not right now, but eventually. xo

  2. Gorgeous Cookies! So funny about your dog not touching them! Your final cookies look great. I have never tasted or even looked for rice flour but a healthier option does sound interesting. I have always tried to healthify cupcakes, well not always but over half the time, but no clue with cookies where to start. I have used unsweetened applesauce for half of butter in cookies with no major change in the final product. Your designs on the cookies all look great, the purple is my favorite, love the color!

  3. Wow, how amazing! There is a lot of celiac on my husbands side of the family so we are always cautious - gluten seems to be an issue for several people. Your cookies are stunning as usual. I love the rainbow, perfect theme for the new year. I think I might try this rice flour, I know they have it at TJ's. Hugs. Trish

  4. Lisa,
    These are amazing! So pretty to look at.

  5. OMG, I am IN LOVE with the designs and patterns you made.. ESP the BLUE.. Sooo creative!! I LOVE it..Totally off to indulge in so much inspirational posts here!! Would LOVE if you could PLEASE link via Pin'Inspirational Thursday happening right now if you have a moment..
    Sincerely would love to share and PIN this to my artsy inspirational board.. SO unique.. Wishing you an amazing weekend ahead.. THANK YOU..~Marilyn<--your newest happiest follower here~!

  6. Lisa, these are works of art that I can just really enjoy, I know they would be delicious, but I would just have to sit and really the beauty before I could eat them. Thank you so much for sharing with our 1st Anniversary Party at Full Plate Thursday. Have a great week end and come back soon!
    Miz Helen

  7. Thanks SO much for linking up last week. THIS IS ONE OF THE FAV from last week. SO creative and BEAUTIFUL.. I PINNED IT !! LOVE LOVE LOVE... You are featured tonight ;)) Please stop in and snag a button.. THANK YOU SO MUCH again Hope you are back again this evening.. Wishing you an AMAZING evening..