Monday, December 17, 2012

Cookies, Cookies, Cookies!!

Gluten Free Nanaimo Bars
Yummm!! Mom and I have been baking up a storm for Christmas. We're also giving away a bunch of baking to several people we appreciate, our mail carrier, our building manager etc. We've had some spectacular success, you can read all about our first terrific gluten free recipe over on Dion's blog where my latest "When Artists Cook" is up now.

The one recipe we've been dreading is a good sugar cookie recipe. Coming up with a successful gluten free recipe filled us with trepidation. In this last year we've learned that many cookie recipes when made gluten free are so bad they're nearly inedible. It's either the texture (sandy feeling in your mouth) or a funny aftertaste from one of a half a dozen flours and additives you have to use to try and mimic what gluten does in a baking recipe. All these concerns were added to the fact that we NEEDED the recipe to also totally keep it's shape through baking. See, we have these new and awesome cookie cutters that I bought last Christmas and we so totally wanted to use them.

Mom and my Aunt Mic were talking last Christmas, remembering when they were young and my grandmother used to use special cookie cutters every Christmas. These cutters were actually also molds. You pressed them into the dough and they added a relief pattern on the top of the cookie! I quipped that I bet I could find them on the internet somewhere. Mom looked at me balefully. She reminded me that they were really poor when she was little so it's not as though Gramma would have purchased the cutters, they would have been a "send in a dozen box tops  and get these cookie cutters" kind of deal. Now I was determined to find these illusive cookie cutters and bring back a happy memory for my mom. 

It took me three days of searching and endless "Are these them?" questions, before I finally came across mom's santa, stocking, tree and star cookie cutters. When I found them I ordered the 60 year old cutters and had them under the tree for Christmas 2011. When mom opened them she was so happy and we decided they would be THE recipe we did for Christmas 2012!!

Fast forward eleven months and thirteen days, :o). Now we absolutely NEEDED a sugar cookie recipe that was both gluten free and kept it's shape while baking. It would also be good if they tasted a little like sugar cookies, lol. (But as mom said, "life is a series of looking good" and if they don't taste wonderful we'll deal with that using the icing!) It took a total of two days of slaving and finding a good recipe but then having a notorious time trying to successfully unmold the cookies, we finally came up with the best way to get perfect cookies. FINALLY. 

That evening, while resting up from all the darn baking struggle we discussed the cutters. While staring at the twenty four naked sugar cookies we had managed to produce over an entire day of baking, Mom and I agreed that the cutters were just too much work. Sadly, we decided to sell the cutters. With the dawn of the new morning I got down to the task of icing twenty four very cool looking molded cookies and about a thousand plain little hearts, hehehe. I'm lucky to have all of my cake decorating supplies from the days when I owned my own wedding cake business so I had my choice of hundreds of paste and powdered food colorings and all the requisite tips for cookie decorating. :o)

When I finished decorating santa I knew I was totally in love! After finishing all the decorating I turned to mom and told her I definitely wanted to keep these cutters. I got an enthusiastic thumbs up from mom. We're both so thrilled with the cutest darn cookies we've ever produced, and that's saying something since we're both enthusiastic bakers and artists to boot. I can't get over how gorgeously these turned out, they're so totally worth all the work.

What I'm learning this Christmas is that all the work to be gluten free is worth it. We can find great recipes and with a little work and perseverance I can stay healthy and still achieve my own childhood Christmas memories. Thanks mom and Mic for doing so much work on my behalf. Love you both. :o)

Sending much Christmas love to you all. I'll be back soon with some art and other little announcements. See you soon, K? Yes?? Good!!

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  1. Oh, they are absolutely wonderful pieces of art! I'd love to know the glutenfree recipe. Have a wonderful Christmas, Jenn!

  2. That has to be difficult finding a good recipe for gluten-free cookies. These do look wonderful! :)

  3. Your cookies look fantastic!!! I am sure it will be a great pleasure for the group of "several people" who will receive a bunch of them.

  4. Utterly gorgeous cookies, Jenn! I made some too -- NOT non-gluten, as I'm not as adept at modifying old recipes -- and certainly nowhere near as gorgeous. In fact, my spritz cookies (while VERY tasty) spread like mad while baking so one can barely make out the pressed shapes. They were so misshapen that my daughter Emily refused to take any to add to her family cookie trays to be taken to the in-laws. Harumphf, more for me! :) Merry Christmas. I hope Santa arrives soon in Nanaimo with a goodie package from Warminster!

    Much love,


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