Hopefully your Easter menu is all set, you’ve decided where to dine, and you’ve chosen with whom you will be celebrating. So now is the time to direct your attention to the Easter eggs and sweet Easter treats. I’m sure you have a few questions: How to fill a gluten-free basket? What about the Easter egg hunt?
Now is the time to sit down and have that one-on-one serious discussion with the Easter Bunny on what to do to make this a special day for your gluten-free child. And for some of us the challenges go even beyond gluten-free to avoidance of casein, corn, nuts and chocolate. So how can you have a gluten and allergy free Easter without upsetting the children and driving yourself completely bonkers?
There are gluten-free cookies, cakes, cupcakes, and candy to name a few. Many of which you can make from scratch, or for those short on time they can also fairly easily be purchased instead. Either way, as long as we have done the research, no one need feel deprived, and our children will be extremely pleased for Easter. I even suspect there will be some pretty happy adults to boot.
In preparation for the big day, I made a wonderful batch of sugar cookies using a recipe that I adapted from Martha Stewart’s Flower Sugar Cookie recipe. I made these gluten-free sugar cookies with the intention of doing Easter cut-outs, but ran out of time, and decided to roll them into cookie dough logs (similar to those you can find at the grocery store made by Pillsbury, only gluten-free!).
Of course, I still wanted a little pizzazz, some color or something to make them stand out a little. So I rolled the cookie dough into different gluten-free colored sprinkles. I had blue, pink, purple, orange, yellow and green–they were so festive! Once baked, they were a hit with my family, especially my 11 year old daughter, Autumn. The rolled dough is great, because I can put it in the freezer (wrapped in parchment and then placed inside a freezer zip top bag) and any time I need an extra something special for Autumn’s lunch I can simply cut off a couple of slices and bake just what I need, storing the rest. If stored properly in the freezer, this gluten-free cookie dough will keep for several months. *Note: DO NOT roll the dough in sprinkles before freezing, as the sprinkles may become moist and gooey.
With my gluten-free cookie flour (recipe below), which I mix up myself, you can use it one for one (exchanging for wheat flour) with ANY cookie recipe. There is no need to look for a specific gluten-free sugar cookie recipe, just use your regular, pre-diagnosis recipes. My favorite sugar cookie recipe (below) is, as I mentioned, adapted from one of Martha Stewart’s. A few alterations, plus lots of love and you will have delicious homemade cookies that do not cost you $8.00 for ½ a dozen. With any of these flour mixes you will get at least 6 to 9 dozen cookies if not more. Plus you can use any of the below gluten-free cookie flour mixes to make ANY cookies. You are not limited to only 9 dozen of one type of cookie. Now how is that for savings?!
This recipe for the gluten-free cookie flour mix was originally adapted from Bette Hagman’s Featherlight Mix. My dear friend and mentor, Amy Radbill, a culinary genius, further adapted the recipe to have more nutritional value, better texture and flavor by creating the Sorghum Featherlight Cookie Flour Mix. Both Bette and Amy’s recipes are in and of themselves impeccable, but I like to experiment using other flours, which is why I have added coconut flour. The coconut adds a great deal of natural sweetness, fiber, and protein to your cookie mix. Though, when using coconut flour make sure to add in at least ¼ cup more of liquid.
The cookies I wound up with were out of this world, and not only did I get more cookies than in any pre-packaged box of cookies, but they are much less expensive, and taste positively heavenly. Also keep in mind that when you bake the cookies from scratch you are able to control the quantity and the quality of the ingredients that go into your recipe. Plus you can have the kids help you decorate them.
Gluten-Free Cookie Flour Mixes
Amy’s Featherlight Sorghum Flour Mix
For 9 cups:
3 cup sorghum flour
3 cups tapioca starch
3 cups cornstarch or arrowroot
3 tablespoons potato flour
½ teaspoon xanthan gum or guar gum per cup of regular flour. If you are rolling out the dough use a tad bit more.
(*Use as a cookie flour)
Cookie Flour Mix ~ Joann’s Concoction
For 9 cups:
2 cups sorghum flour
1 cup coconut flour
3 cups tapioca starch
3 cups cornstarch
3 tablespoons of Potato Flour
DIRECTIONS TO MIX:
*Choose a mix you would like to make and then mix all of the ingredients in a large bowl or extra large zip top bag and stir with a whisk until completely combined. DO NOT add the xanthan gum until you are working on your actual cookie recipe.
When working on your cookie recipe always mix the dry ingredients, whisking well to make sure you have a good distribution of the xanthan gum, otherwise once the xanthan gum hits the wet ingredients it seizes up and turns into glue. Mix these separately from wet ingredients, minus the sugar. The sugar is usually blended with the butter, and then the wet mixture (eggs, milk, etc.) are added to this. Once you have the wet ingredients mixed and the dry ingredients mixed (in separate bowls) then you may slowly incorporate the dry mixture to the wet mixture.
Gluten-Free Sugar Cookies
These cookies are perfect cut-out and decorated with Royal Icing or any simple glaze. They can also be rolled into logs and sliced for a quick and simple version of sugar cookies.
Makes about 16 large cookies or thirty 2 ½ -inch cookies
- 4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons xanthan gum
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter (room temperature)
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 large eggs (room temperature)
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract, and juice from 1 whole fresh lemon and zest of 2 to 3 lemons
- ¼ cup fine sanding sugar, for decorating (optional)
- In a large bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking powder, and xanthan gum. Whisk these ingredients until well combined. Set aside.
- Use an electric mixer (with paddle attachment) to cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs.
- Add flour mixture, and mix on low speed until thoroughly combined. Stir in vanilla, lemon juice and zest. Wrap dough in parchment and place in a zip top bag; chill for about 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. On a floured surface, roll dough to 1/8 inch thick. Cut into desired shapes. Transfer to ungreased baking sheets; refrigerate until firm, 15 minutes. Remove from refrigerator, and decorate with sanding sugar, if desired. Bake until edges just start to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Cool on wire racks. May be stored in freezer in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Uncooked dough will keep in the freezer as long as it is wrapped in parchment and then placed inside of a freezer zip top bag.
If you don’t have time to bake and are in a rush to find that perfect Easter treat for your little ones or even yourself, check out these tempting gluten-free Easter candy lists, from some renowned gluten-free sources. (You can also find more gluten-free Easter candy by doing a Gluten Free Fox search, just type in “Easter candy.”)
This year there is NO excuse for not allowing yourself and your family to not have an enjoyable, sweet and successful gluten-free Easter Celebration. And as always, May the Culinary Gods Be With You!! And if they’re not, shop ‘til you drop!!