I promise to catch up and post some great treats I've made this year including: lemon ricotta cake, cupcakes, squash risotto and many more delicious things.
And, of course, Christmas cookies. I started late but it has been a full on job the past few days as I'm home with the family getting ready for Christmas. It has been five years since we have all been at home as we have spent the other years in Mexico! Last year was my first gluten-free Christmas and it was fine (besides that cake I bite into by accident as I was told it was ice cream), but this year we are at home and looking to bring back our holiday traditions.
An all time family favourite is my mom's mocha shortbread. I'm not sure where this recipe came from originally but my mom's copy is typed up on some circa 1990 computer/printer combo and there is no longer a digital version to be found. After a few days of searching, the recipe appeared. We were going to make these with regular flour but I didn't want to spend time making something I couldn't eat so I decided to try them gluten free. It was pretty simple and they turned out great. The photo is from them fresh out of the oven not 30 minutes ago...delicious! I cannot wait until they cool for a treat with breakfast (shortbread really does benefit from cooling unlike other types of cookies).
My flour mixture was passed on to me last year at a program with the Gluten-free Vancouver. The mixture is 1:1:1 tapioca flour, sorghum flour and rice flour (I use brown rice for everything). I made up a mix of 1 cup of each flour, shook it all together and got ready to make these cookies.
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup icing sugar
2 teaspoons strong brewed coffee (we use espresso)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
2 1/2 cups gluten free flour mix (as above) or regular flour for the gluten-eating folks
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 tablespoon fine-ground coffee
1/4 cup granulated sugar, optional
In bowl or mixer, cream butter with icing sugar until fluffy; beat in liquid coffee, vanilla & almond extract. Stir together flour, xanthan gum, cocoa powder, & ground coffee. Blend into butter mixture, using hands if necessary.
On waxed paper, shape into a rectangle about 2 inches wide and 1 inch thick. Wrap in wax paper and chill in the refrigerator for an hour or more until a harder form. I found with the gluten free version of this recipe, the dough was pretty soft from the butter and really needed the fridge.
Remove from fridge and cut into 1 inch slices. Bake on ungreased baking sheets at 350 degrees fahrenheit for 20 minutes or until firm & lightly browned on the bottom. Remove from oven and lightly press tops into granulated sugar. We found the gluten-free form were really fragile when warm so we sprinkled sugar on top while they cooled instead.
My mom used to make these a month before Christmas and would store in tins in cool places (garage, shed, trailer). They improve with age but as I made mine tonight, they will be eaten right away.
As they are fragile, I would consider adding potato starch to the 1:1:1:1 mixture of flours next time in equal portion. The mocha, vanilla, almond flavours should cover the potato taste and it may make it stick together better. I'll try it next time and post the results.