When it comes to food, some people are naturally adventuresome and some are not. My husband is not. In fact, when he was still in a high chair his mom gave him a piece of toast with jelly on it. He was familiar with toast, but not with jelly. He didn’t like the look of it and immediately threw it on the floor. Subsequent attempts to get him to try jelly were unsuccessful. To this day he has not eaten jelly, nor has he eaten many things that are jelly like. A few years ago he did try huckleberry pie (the pie filling had always looked to jelly-like), and he enjoyed it so much he was sorry he hadn’t tried it sooner. However, it didn’t produce much change in the whole jelly eating area. I’m fine with that. It’s not like jelly is a health food.
One of my favorite cookies before going gluten-free was the jelly-topped thumbprint cookie. Maybe because of my husband’s aversion to jelly, I don’t think I have ever tried a gluten-free version. I decided that this year I would give it a go as part of this month’s make a gluten-free cookie challenge. Of course, I also needed to make the cookie dairy free.
Here’s what I did: I started with a basic Betty Crocker recipe, because I think that’s the one I used before going gluten free. The recipe called for shortening and margarine. I used the healthier fat versions that I prefer (see recipe). The recipe called for 1 cup flour. I started with 1/2 cup sorghum flour and 1/2 cup potato starch. I also added 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum. After mixing the dough, it was too sticky to work with, and so I added and additional 1/4 cup potato starch. That made a good texture. I think sorghum can make dough a bit sticky so a different flour may have worked better. I just thought the flavor would be nice for these cookies.
Problems: The cookies rose enough when they baked that the thumbprint almost disappeared. I had to press the centers again as soon as I removed them from the oven. That worked fine. Also, the first cookie I tried was very fragile. I thought I would need to increase the xanthan gum the next time, but I learned that they are fine after cooling completely. I just need to be patient.
How they turned out: They were very good. I enjoy the flavor combination of walnuts and concord grape jelly. You could, of course, vary the nuts and the jelly. The cookie was light with a nice texture. I’ll definitely make these again.
- ¼ cup packed brown sugar
- ¼ cup shortening (I used Spectrum palm oil)
- ¼ cup margarine or butter (I used Earth Balance sticks)
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- 1 egg, separated
- ½ cup sorghum flour
- ¾ cup potato starch
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon xanthan gum
- 1 cup finely chopped walnuts
- Beat together the brown sugar, shortening, margarine, vanilla, and egg yolk.
- Add the flour, starch, salt, and xanthan gum. Mix on low until all the flour is incorporated and the dough holds together.
- Lightly beat the egg white in a bowl. Place the chopped walnuts in another bowl.
- Roll the dough into balls about 1½ inch in diameter. Coat each ball with egg white, then nuts. Reshape the ball with your hand, pressing the nuts in slightly. Place balls on an ungreased cookie sheet about 1½ inches apart.
- Press your thumb into the center of each ball. You want to make a deep impression, but you don’t need to press all the way to the cookie sheet.
- Bake at 350° for about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and use your thumb (be careful!) or the back of a spoon or small scoop to press the middles again. The indentation does not need to be very deep.
- Immediately remove to a wire rack and cool completely.
- Place a small amount of jelly in the center of each cookie before serving.
- Makes about 2 dozen.
This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays.