Being a perfectionistic sucks. I’m pretty sure a large portion of my neuroses can be blamed on my perfectionism. For example, my inability to accept that I will never look like a model. (Turns out, there’s not many 5’5″, Portuguese-Irish-Danish models out there.)
Being a perfectionistic and a gluten-free baker sucks even harder than my everyday neuroses. You see, gluten-free baking is a seemingly never-ending quagmire of disappointment. I’m actually surprised at the level of success I’ve had, which I would estimate at about 80%. But I say that as I have a disaster of a cake cooling in the fridge, and gluten-free bread? Yep, it’s still my white whale. Or, as others might call it, my door stops.
The good news is, there are some recipes that translate to Gluten-Free Land insanely easily, so easily that I’m pretty sure no one could screw them up (not even me!). One of those recipes is the homemade Oreo-style cookies I first blogged about in 2011. It’s as simple as a 1:1 sub of likely any gluten-free flour mix (I use Bob’s Red Mill) for the original recipe’s all-purpose flour, a teaspoon of xantham gum if you feel like it (but it works without it as well, which is good since I forget to add xanthum gum about two thirds of the time), and voila! Crack cookies that even GF folks can enjoy.
I first de-gluten-ified this recipe back in December, and anticipating making a blog about Christmas cookies, gave them some holiday pizazz by adding peppermint extract to the filling. Unfortunately, I lollygagged for so long on posting the recipe that the holidays are now long over. But if you do want to give them a kick, give the peppermint a shot. They were quite a big hit at the holiday party I took them to!
Gluten-Free Oreo-Style Cookies
For the cookies:
- 1 1/4 cups Bob’s Red Mill GF All Purpose Baking Flour (other GF mixes will probably work just as well; these are very forgiving cookies!)
- 1 tsp xantham gum (optional–if you have it, use it, if you forget it, don’t lose any sleep)
- 1/2 heaping cup unsweetened cocoa (the darker, the better)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups sugar (I use 1 cup sugar, and 1/4 cup Splenda)
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) room-temperature butter (can carefully microwave for 20-30 seconds if need be)
- 1 large egg
For the filling:
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) room-temperature butter (can carefully microwave for 20-30 seconds if need be)
- 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
- 2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, or 3-4 teaspoons peppermint extract (the peppermint is really toned down in the finished product, so don’t be afraid to use a lot)
- One tiny drop gel food dye for a hint of color, if desired
Preheat oven to 375°F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
Mix together the GF flour mix, xantham gum, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar by hand or with a stand mixer at the lowest setting. Add the butter; with paddle of stand mixer, mix until dough is a consistent, crumbly consistency. Add the egg and continue mixing until the dough comes together in a mass.
Form small, rounded teaspoons of dough into balls by hand. (They really need to be small unless you want giant cookies!) Place the rounded balls on the cookie sheets, approximately two inches apart. Flatten each ball ever-so-slightly with your finger tips after placing them on the cookie sheets. Bake for 9 minutes, rotating the sheets top to bottom and front to back after 4 minutes. Immediately remove the cookies from the sheets and allow them to cool on a rack.
Meanwhile, to make the filling, put the butter and the shortening in the mixing bowl of the stand mixer. At low speed, blend together, then gradually beat in the powdered sugar approximately 1/2 cup at a time, sifted. Add the extract and the food dye (if desired) and mix until well-blended. Beat on high speed for 2 to 3 minutes until filling is light and fluffy.
Once the cookies have cooled and the filling is finished, make cookie pairs until all of the cookies are paired up. Roll roughly teaspoon-sized balls of filling by hand, placing a filling ball in the center of each cookie pair. When all of the filling is portioned out (you very likely will end up with enough to go back and add filling to some cookies), lightly press each cookie pair together, evenly spreading the filling in the process.
And voila! You’ve just successfully made a gluten-free cookie. Deceptively easy, no?