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Patterned molasses and vanilla cookies

18/11/2016 - 0 Comments - Recipes | Vanilla, Cookies, Molasses, No added sugar, Gluten free, Dairy free, Vegan

I am pretty sure, by all means, that cookies don’t count as “serious eats”. They are treats, tiny gifts to receive someone who comes by to have tea; to cheer up breakfasts by the coffee mug, or afternoon pick-me-ups.
So, the first requirement is to be tasty.
Then, to be good looking.

And, goodness, are there varied ways to look good! The print in today’s cookies is made with the rolling pin by In My Wood (customized with the birds from What is in for Today, in a design by my dear Taís Mahs).

I have tested a couple of recipes to find this one, which is free from animal products (that is to say the recipe is vegan and, consequently, dairy free), and also gluten free. Plus, the cookies hold their shape beautifully.
Let’s get to it.

While I was waiting for the pin to come by mail (from Poland!), I looked through my recipe books, my Grandma’s notebooks, old notes I’ve made, blogs, in search of doughs that won’t take eggs nor baking powder, since these are two ingredients that make the dough puff.

I have tested a few recipes over the last days, and got to the vanilla cookies by the Unconventional Baker – just great! 

The thing about decorating cookies with an engraved pin is that they will not take any additional sugar (as oposed to glazed cookies, for instance). They come out classy, with that “effortlessly chic” feel.

Patisseurs by profession and passion go wild at In My Wood’s site thinking about their doughs, fondants, and so on. There are pins with designs in many themes, and one can always customize with text or images, just like I had mine.
If you are thinking about placing an order, go ahead! With the code “flora” the readers of What is in for Today have 10% off ;)

Well. And what about that vegan, refined-sugar-free, tasty, beautiful, roll-out cookie recipe? How to bake it?

I prepared a small amount like this:
- ¼ cup coconut oil, softened (not enterely liquid)
- ¼ cup molasses (Unconventional Baker says you can use another liquid sweetener, such as maple syrup or liquid stevia)
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract (I make my own, check it out)
- 1 pinch sea salt
- 1 cup + 4 tablespoons gluten free flour* (lately, one can find gluten free flour mix in any grocery store or health store, but I prepared my own. In a large bowl, I sifted together and stirred well:
                                                                         - 1 ¼ cup whole rice flour 
                                                                         - 1 cup tapioca starch 
                                                                         
- ½ teaspoon xanthan gum
I haven’t added at this time, but I missed the lightness of corn starch. Next time, I will add ¼ cup corn starch or arrowroot).
Measures

I started by preheating the oven to 180oC and lining two large baking trays with parchment paper. I set aside the cookie cutters  (one flat round, another scaloped round one, 5cm in diameter), but could have used a cup’s edge as well.
I placed all the ingredientes and measures, a bowl, wooden spoon, wire whisker, two plastic placemats, the rolling pin, and a large blade knife.

In the bowl, I beat the coconut oil with the whisker to make it smooth and slightly foamy. Then I added the molasses, salt, vanilla, and stirred well.
I abandoned the whisker and took the wooden spoon, incorporating the flour mixture little by little, then turning the dough onto the counter to knead until I got a smooth ball.
If it turns out too dry, crumbly, add a tablespoon molasses.
If it turns out too wet, sticky, add one or two tablespoons flour mixture. I didn’t need those.

I split the dough in two equal portions and flattened them as discs (the texture was funny, quite oily, which didn’t prevent the results from being great).

I placed the first disc of dough between the plastic placemats and rolled out with the pin until the dough was about 8mm thick. I removed the top plastic and rolled out one more time, to print my design.
If I felt the need, I’d sprinkle a little bit of flour over the dough to smooth out the surface and prevent it from sticking to the pin. It was not the case with this recipe, but its a good tip for other ones.

I cut the cookies with the cutters, and transferred them to the prepared trays with the help of the large knife, leaving 1cm between one and another.

Be sweetie pies and forgive me: there pictures are of another recipe, just to show how I use a knife to transfer the cut cookies :}

I took the dough scrapes and rolled out again in the same way, ‘till I filled the tray.
The cookies were baked for 11 minutes (until the edges began to get slightly tanned), meanwhile I repeated the procedure with the remaining dough disc.

As I took them out of the oven, I transferred the cookies and parchment paper to a cooling rack, and next removed the paper, with the help of a knife or spatula.

After completely cool, the cookies texture becomes crumblier. 
I got 28 cookies. They can be stored up to two weeks in an airtight container.

* Notes:
- Audrey, author of the original recipe, prepares the gluten-free flour mixture in another way, but I did not find sweet rice flour around here. So, searching around, I found out I could try this ratio I have used. Results came out good, though as I said, I will add cornstarch or arrowroot next time to increase lightness.
The Unconventional Baker uses:
             - 1 cup whole rice flour
            - ¾ cup tapioca starch
            - ½ cup sweet rice flour
            - ½ teaspoon guar gum
- The original recipe recommends you roll out the dough between two parchment paper sheets, but I like using plastic placemats because I think it all comes out the same (except I won’t have as much garbage).
The advantage of this method is to avoid sprinkling flour in the dough, therefore we don’t interfere in its texture. The tip is good to rollout doughs in general.
- I have tried rolling out thinner cookies too. They became really crunchy, but harder to work with (in the picture below, you can check that the thinner ones are kind of crooked. That happened when I transferred them to the baking tray). I think 0,5cm thick yields better results.

So. How about stirring up a treat for someone special this weekend?
Have you guys been experimenting with gluten free recipes? What would you like to see in here?
Share in the comments! 

Tag your pictures with #blogflorarefosco in instagram so that I can see when you cook something from here! Meanwhile, I’ll be around facebook.

See you soon, guys. xo

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