This summer I learned that I could not eat gluten anymore. It was the reason for the physical symptoms that I had been dealing with for a long time. It was such a wonderful relief when my symptoms went away after eliminating gluten, but then I was faced with learning how to cook and bake gluten-free. I have spent the last 3 months trying many various kinds of gluten-free products. Some met with success and some with failure. The product that I have had the most success with when baking is King Arthur Flour gluten-free multi-purpose flour. It is wheat free, soy free, and nut free; a great flour option for someone with gluten-intolerance or some other food intolerance or allergy. I tried several other baking mixes and was not happy with the taste that they gave to the baked product. And the other baking mixes did not pass the kid test either; both of my kids did not like the taste. The King Arthur gluten-free baking mix has been more successful with the whole family. My daughter, who has a well-developed sense of taste, does not like chocolate chip cookies baked with this mix but she does like all the other cookies that I have made with it. I have some other non-wheat flours that I am experimenting with, but it is still quite nice to have a baking mix on hand that can easily be used in place of regular flour in any baking recipe.
With the holidays right around the corner, I have been working on making some yummy gluten-free holiday treats. My kids and I love to bake Christmas cookies together and I do not want to forgo that tradition just because I can not eat gluten anymore. And what is Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie? I have been working on a walnut crust for pumpkin pie, which is quite good but still needs a little more tweaking before it is ready. But one recipe that is ready to share is this recipe for pumpkin and spice cookies topped with a creamy vanilla frosting. Because of the pumpkin in the cookies, the recipe only needs 1/2 cup of butter. And the frosting only takes 1/4 cup of butter. So for the whole cookie, you end up with a lower fat cookie than any other standard cookie recipe that calls for 1 cup of butter and this cookie has frosting on top! And just wait until you taste the frosting! Everyone that sampled my cookies thought that the frosting was cream cheese, when in fact it is the coconut milk that gives the frosting that rich and creamy flavor.
I cannot wait for you to try this recipe. Be sure to let me know if your family and friends are surprised when they find out that the delicious cookie that they just ate is a reduced fat, gluten-free cookie frosted with, not a cream cheese frosting but a coconut milk frosting.
Frosted Pumpkin Spice Cookies
1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 c. packed dark brown sugar
15 oz can of pumpkin (or 1 3/4 c. of fresh pumpkin)
1 tsp. pure vanilla
2 1/4 c. King Arthur Flour gluten-free multi-purpose flour
1 tsp. xanthan gum (adds volume and airiness to gluten-free baked products)
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, xanthan gum, baking soda, salt and spices. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the butter and sugar. Mix until well blended. Add the pumpkin, vanilla, and eggs; stir until combined. Add half of the dry ingredients and mix until it begins to combine. Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Do not over mix the batter or the cookies will be tough.
Scoop out tablespoonfuls of cookie dough and drop onto a cookie sheet. The cookies do not spread when they bake, so flatten out the tops of the cookie dough slightly with the back of the spoon. Bake for 12-15 minutes, depending on the size of the cookies. When the cookies are done, the bottom edges of the cookies will be a light golden brown. Do not under bake these cookies or they will be doughy when you eat them.
Coconut Milk Vanilla Frosting
1/4 c. unsalted butter, very soft
1 1/2 c. confectioner's sugar
2 tbsp. original coconut milk
a drop of pure vanilla extract
Cream all the ingredients together until creamy and smooth. Spread about 2 teaspoons on the top of each cookie.
Store cookies in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Makes 4 dozen cookies.