It was nearing the end of the baking marathon. I’d been anticipating making my all time favorite cookie, Snowflake Bakery-like butter cookies pressed into shapes and dipped in chocolate with holiday sprinkles. Along with Half Moons, these were another favorite cookie when I was a little girl and Snowflake Bakery was my Mecca.
As I stuffed the dough into the press the mechanism stalled and cracked. The very Grinchy cookie press pushed out half formed cookies and then just snapped, spraying plastic shards all over the kitchen.
Never one to leave any cookie dough to wallow without purpose, I chilled the remaining dough until it could be cut into slices with fluted edges. Baked and cooled, dipped in tempered chocolate and dusted with holiday sprinkles, they still looked a little like bakery cookies – if your bakery was maybe located on Sesame Street and supplied by Easy Bake Oven Elves.
But it didn’t matter. They tasted like a holiday cookie should – over the top good.
These gluten free butter cookies are almost a twin to regular spritz dough and similar to French Sables, but ever so slightly different. They will need to chill slightly to make them pop out of the cookie press. Be sure to skip the silpat and the parchment and don’t bother greasing the cookie sheet. The press works best by letting the dough grab the metal baking pan. They have plenty of butter in them to not stick. And only bake them until they are just barely golden. And if you are press-less, like me, roll the dough into a log, chill it well and cut it into rounds.
Tempering the chocolate means you can keep them at room temperature and the coating will never be sticky and they’ll look fabulous. Add sprinkles to the chocolate coating for a festive look. Don’t skip this step unless you are a Grinch. Sprinkles are not just for kids or holidays.
I call it cookie couture.
Gluten Free Chocolate Dipped Couture Dressed Butter Cookies
- 1 ½ sticks of room temperature unsalted butter
- 1 extra large egg yolk
- 1 extra large egg
- ¾ cup ultra fine sugar (whiz regular sugar in a food processor if you must)
- Generous pinch of kosher salt
- 2 scant cups of gluten free flour mix or about 260g (I like a mix of white rice, brown rice and cornstarch)
- 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ teaspoon almond flavoring
- ½ teaspoon Fiori Di Sicilia Flavor (available here) or substitute more almond flavoring
- 1 tablespoon of your favorite liquor (I like Frangelico for this recipe)
- 8 ounces of good bittersweet chocolate (I like Ghirardelli for these cookies)
- Sprinkles (India Tree brand are swell)
Weigh and mix flours in one bowl. Add the xanthan gum, salt. Mix well with a whisk to lighten. Cream butter and sugar in a stand mixer until fluffy. Add flavorings, liquor and the egg yolk and whole egg. Beat the mixture until incorporated.
Slowly add the flour mix until it just comes together. Turn off the mixer and with a spatula, mix in the remaining flour just until it seems like you could roll out little balls or turn it into a log. It will (or should) be slightly sticky. Hold back more flour until you are sure you need it all.
Chill the dough slightly until it is cold, but not stiff. Stuff it into your cookie press and click out the shapes you like. Or you can roll it into a log about 2 inches wide on parchment paper and chill until quite cold. Slice into ½ inch or less rounds and place on a cookie sheet.
For either, place about ½ inch apart. Bake at 350 for about 4 minutes and rotate. Bake about 5 minutes more until pale golden. For thicker rounds, add a minute or two. Cool completely.
To temper the chocolate use your microwave. This method (thank you Ina Garten) works like magic. Chop the chocolate into small shards. Hold out about a ¼ of the pile of shards. Place in a microwave safe bowl (not plastic) and zap for 20 seconds on high. Give it a stir. There should still be shards in there. Zap again another 20 seconds only. Stir. Keep doing this and stirring. Don’t heat it again unless it is totally not melting and cooling off. Tempering happens at a lower temperature than just melting chocolate and you don’t want the mixture too hot. To absolutely make sure I tempered it, I use the ¼ pile of chocolate shards and add them after the last 20 second zap (I needed three zaps altogether) and stirred until the whole thing was smooth. The heat of the last zap will melt the new chocolate and help drop the temperature. Anyway it worked well and if I can do it – you can for sure. For more reading on tempering click here.
Once the cookies are cool and the chocolate is melted but not hot, spoon some over one end of the cookie on both sides and let it drip off. Then over a separate container shake on some sprinkles and then place the cookie on parchment. It takes 30 minutes to an hour to harden. Don’t refrigerate unless the tempering failed which you will know in an hour if it is still gooey. No worries – the big chill will harden the chocolate.
Hint: save yourself some time and buy some great plain cookies, or make an extra large batch of spritz or other rolled cookies and dress them up with the tempered chocolate dip and sprinkles.
Instant cookie couture!