Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Soft Cake Like Sugar Cookies

These cookies are soft and yummy.  My one biggest challenge of baking gluten free cookies was  making my sugar cookies so they did not get too crunchy.  I actually took a poll on my Facebook page to see what the most popular preference was.  It was chewy by a landslide.

Problem #1:
Every gluten free cookie and gluten free sugar cookie recipe I tried to date resulted in a crunchy cookie.  Like ginger snap type crunch.  They were good tasting cookies but I'm on team chewy cookie!!!

Problem #2:
I need them to end up resembling the shape I am cutting them into (for the kids sake) and not result into a soft puffy blob (which are good to eat, but not to decorate).

I decided to go a different route in my pursuit of a good sugar cookie and use a regular gluten filled recipe instead and use some of the tips I looked up in the back of my cook books.  I started with the recipe that came with the cookie cutter I ordered from CopperGifts.com.

I used a sword cookie cutter in honor of my son's Black Belt Birthday.  By frosting these cookies with a Royal Frosting, they allowed this larger sized cookie to be more stable and not fall apart during transport.  I gave these as hand outs at my son's birthday.  I simply placed them in a Cello bag decorated with a nice ribbon.  They were a HIT!

Below you will find the recipe I ended up with.



21 ounce Vanilla Cake Mix (I used this because I had tons of it)
1/4 cup Additional Flour Blend
1 cup Butter flavored Crisco
1/2 cup Butter, room temperature
1/4 cup Sugar
2 Whole Eggs
1 Egg Yolk
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt

  • Gently mix butter and sugar, beating until light and creamy.
  • Beat in eggs and vanilla.
  • Add baking powder to cake mix and add 1 cup at a time.
  • Beat until completely blended.
  • Divide dough in half.
  • Roll out cookie dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper. 
  • Use a rolling pin (with spacer rings if you have it to get perfect spacing) roll out to 1/4 inch thick layers.
  • Continue rolling remaining dough between parchment paper.
  • Place in stacks on a cookie sheet, cover with foil.  
  • Chill dough overnight or 1 to 2 hours at a minimum.
  • Remove one sheet of the dough at a time and cut into shapes.
  • Bake on baking sheet at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes and edges start to brown slightly.
  • Makes a dozen cookies

And because my sole purpose in life is to save you from having the aggravation of trying to figure this out for yourself like I did, here are some hints and some trouble shooting techniques for cookies that I found from various sources, including Joy of Baking. The tips below will help you achieve the cookie YOU desire.

Flat
If you want your cookies on the flat side, you can do some or all of the following things: Use all butter, use all-purpose flour or bread flour, increase the sugar content slightly, add a bit of liquid to your dough, and or bring the dough to room temperature before baking.

Puffy
If you like your cookies light and puffy, try some of the following tricks. Use shortening or margarine and cut back on the fat, add an egg, cut back on the sugar, use cake flour or pastry flour, use baking powder instead of baking soda, refrigerate your dough before baking.

Chewy
If chewiness is your desire remove the cookies a few minutes before they are done, while their centers are still soft and not quite cooked through. The edges should be slightly golden but the middle will still look slightly raw. Use brown sugar or honey as a sweetener. Try using egg yolks instead of whole eggs. This will add some extra moistness to the cookies thus helping to be a bit more on the chewy side.

Crispy
For crisp and crunchy cookies, bake your cookies a few minutes longer than suggested and immediately remove them to a wire rack to cool. Cookies made with all butter and high amounts of white sugar will also crisp quite nicely. Another trick is to use bread flour.

Common Cookie Problems

Cookies brown too quickly 
The oven is too hot or baking pans are a dark color. Try baking at a lower temperature, longer or use heavy gauge aluminum baking sheets.

Bottom of cookies brown too quickly
Same as above, or the oven rack is too low, or too much sugar is in the cookies.

Top of cookies brown too quickly and bottoms are not cooked
The rack is too high in the oven

Cookies spread too much
The dough is too soft - refrigerate for 15 minutes; warm baking sheets were used; too much butter, oil, or margarine was used - try using a 50/50 mix of shortening and butter.

Cookies do not bake evenly
Your cookie sheet may be warped or the temperature throughout the oven is not even.
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