[photo: Celine Saki]
I’d been wanting to develop a Christmas sugar cookie for years. My first attempt was a wonderful variation with spelt flour and agave nectar, but when I reaffirmed my commitment to the anti-candida diet and cut gluten out, I had to find an alternative.
I worked on dozens of iterations of this cookie for my first book, Naturally Sweet and Gluten-Free, and am happy to report that this cookie is perfect in both texture and appearance! It also can be rolled and re-rolled almost indefinitely.
This is a great way to introduce healthful, sugar-free treats to your family in a way that won’t raise any “oh-if-it’s-healthy-I-don’t-want-it” alarm bells!
Here’s to your very happy holidays!
Sugar-Free Sugar Cookies
reprinted from Naturally Sweet and Gluten-Free, ©Ricki Heller, Sellers Publishers
These simple, not-too-sweet cookies are the perfect base for cutouts or decorations. The dough remains soft and workable even when rolled and recut several times, but these will work well as drop cookies, too. They are great to make with kids — and don’t worry if they snack on the raw dough, as it doesn’t contain eggs!
6 Tbsp (90 ml) light agave nectar or low glycemic fiber-based sweetener
1 Tbsp (15 ml) finely ground chia seeds (from about 1-1/2 tsp or 7.5 ml whole seeds)
2 Tbsp (30 ml) plain or vanilla soy or almond milk
1 tsp (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) pure lemon extract
2 cups (265 g) Ricki’s All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour Mix
1 tsp (5 ml) xanthan gum
1-1/2 tsp (7.5 ml) baking powder
1/4 tsp (1 ml) fine sea salt
1/2 cup (120 ml) coconut oil, at room temperature, preferably organic
Preheat the oven to 350˚F (180˚C). Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper, or spray with nonstick spray. In a glass measuring cup or small bowl, whisk together the agave nectar, chia, milk, vanilla, and lemon extract. Set aside while you prepare the other ingredients, or at least 2 minutes.
In the bowl of a food processor, briefly process the flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, and salt. Drop the coconut oil in chunks over the flour mixture, then process again until incorporated. The mixture should appear crumbly, but hold together when squeezed in your hand. Pour the wet mixture in a ring over the dry and process until it comes together in a soft, sticky dough.
To make drop cookies, use the dough immediately. Drop from a small ice-cream scoop or tablespoon (15 ml) onto the prepared cookie sheets about 2 inches (5 cm) apart. Flatten slightly with your palm (or use a silicone spatula).
For rolled cookies, gather the dough together and form it into a disk. Wrap the disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about one hour. Once firm, remove the dough and roll out on a piece of waxed paper to about ¼ inch (6 mm) thick. If it’s very firm, it may begin to crack as you roll it, but if you persist, the dough will begin to warm and will roll beautifully. Cut into desired shapes and place 2 inches (5 cm) apart on the cookie sheets. Gather any remaining scraps of dough together and roll again; repeat until all the dough is used.
Bake for 10 to 13 minutes, rotating the sheets about halfway through baking, until the edges are golden. Cool completely before removing from the cookie sheets and decorating as desired. May be frozen.
Suitable for: ACD Stage 3 and beyond; refined sugar-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, egg free, soy-free, nut free, vegan.
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