Gluten Free: Making Lace Cookies

Gluten Free: Making Lace Cookies, originally uploaded by Kate Chan.

I’m in the midst of family-loving.

And my labrador is going to sleep well tonight!

Not only are there 8 people here to love him, but he swam in the ocean, ran on the sandy beach dunes, chased the sea gulls and then had a “spa” appointment for a wash, nail trim and a little bit of pampering. Needless to say, he is the only one sleeping at the moment. The rest of us are playing Guitar Hero, talking, cooking or out shopping for allergy medication.

This post is for Dayna. I promised to post this a while back and while it didn’t slip my mind, I did get delayed. Between the end of school and my family festival, I got a bit lost. (Sorry, Dayna!)

Dayna saw these photos on my flickr pool and wanted the recipe. I made these cookies as thank you gifts for the secretaries at school. They didn’t even realize that the cookies were gluten-free until I took a bite of one. (I *love* that!)

I chose to make lace cookies with pine nuts and candied (and regular) ginger. I hadn’t seen any gluten free lace cookies but thought they would be easy to make. Lace cookies don’t always call for a lot of flour, but timing is everything. Here are a few tips:

  • Don’t make more cookies in one batch than you can move/curl easily. (I chose to make 4 at a time.)
  • Have your curling items set up before you begin baking. (I used a rolling pin, a tea cup (pictured) and a wide-edged bowl.)
  • Use a wide spatula to move the cookies easily. Once they come out of the oven you have 2 minutes (or less) before you have to make your move. The cookies need to set up *A BIT* on the cookie sheet and then you quickly move the still drooping cookie while it’s still hot.
  • Once the cookies have cooled, they will hold their shape. Don’t try to change the shape once they begin to set. It will be too late.
  • Allow the cookies to cool completely before storing them.

I would love to see the pictures or hear about your adventures in lace cookie making. This recipe is easily adaptable to other nuts or flavors. We are making candied-lemon and almond lace cookies this weekend. (But only after my niece and I make her pink cupcakes…those come first as per demand.)

I’m off as soon as I get this recipe typed… it’s my turn to play Guitar Hero and the new Aerosmith Wii game is calling my name (along with my family…)

Gluten Free Pine Nut & Ginger Lace Cookies
Makes about 2 dozen, depending on size.

5 1/2 Tablespoons sorghum flour
3 Tablespoons potato starch
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup GF rolled oats
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 Tablespoon finely minced/chopped candied ginger
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
6 Tablespoons butter, melted
2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
2 Tablespoons half-n-half or other cream


  1. Preheat the oven to 325F.
  2. Blend all together until even.
  3. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper (or use a silpat).
  4. Drop by the tablespoon (4 at a time at most) on to the parchment paper. Be sure to place them far apart as it will spread.
  5. Bake for 8 minutes at 325F.
  6. Allow to partially cool (enough to handle).
  7. Carefully slide still hot cookies onto a parchment covered rolling pin or tea cup (etc). Push the cookie quickly to make the shape you want or allow it to drape naturally. (I had fun experimenting with the shapes I liked best.)
  8. Cool completely before storing in an airtight container on the counter.

Happy GF eating all!

XXX – GF BBQ Treats!

No worries.
These treats are kid-approved and not obscene at all.
They are NOT the naked man cookies.
And even those are kid-okay.
Well…wait…that all depends on your cookie cutters.

But I’m NOT going there.
And MY cookie cutters are good to go. 🙂

Instead, let me just tell you that I am in family heaven. Well – Near it anyway. My side of the family is missing as are many from my love’s family. However, I am soaking in the conversation from an uncle I haven’t seen in several years and my father-in-law (who doesn’t really speak English). WE are having a BLAST. Seriously. Oh how I LOVE these men.

While the night is upon us, let me just paint this picture for you. My love and I have a futon in the family room (where the only TV is). Here we are all gathered. My mother-in-law and niece are asleep on the futon (it’s opened). My father-in-law sits on the edge of the futon reading the Chinese newspaper to me. My uncle is using a laptop across from me and watching a movie from Hong Kong because the soccer games are playing on the TV. And my love? He is fixing yet another laptop that they brought with them from Chicago for him to fix. Oh, yes. And the dog is laying on my father-in-law’s feet.

Every sixth or seventh sentence is in English. The rest is Cantonese.
Life is good.

Today before they came, I made some XXX cookies. Nothing perverse. XXX (XXXX) is actually a baker’s term for confectioner’s sugar – or powdered sugar. And no, I didn’t know that. While I might be a mighty geek (and klutz if we are going to get technical), I actually did a little research in the letter “x” and food for the BBQ.

Since everyone was avoiding “x” and “z”, I spent some time researching and developing recipes for both. I figured I should “woman up” (sorry, had to say it) and take the “x”. After all, I’m the dork that put the alphabet challenge out there. I had to make sure we could actually finish it!

I’m just going to post the recipe quick. That way I can get back to my soccer-kung fu movie watching, newspaper reading, snoring, sleeping and all around good-loving family quickly.

These cookies were made for my niece, Valerie. Because really….. I’d rather her skinny-self ate them so I could actually LOSE some weight this summer. She’s already eyed the cookie tub in hopes of finding some goodness within. She was not sad to see the colorful sugar cookies beckoning to her after dinner. She munched on one with her white peach as a snack before bedtime. And then she checked the tub again…. just to make sure there were enough there for the rest of her visit here. I assured her we could make another batch together if we ran out.

I hope you get a chance to have a little XXX adventure of your own. These are tasty and roll out nicely, although the dough is soft unless you chill it in the fridge for a little while. (I didn’t chill it. I’m not that patient. LOL)

XXX Sugar Cookies
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar (XXX sugar!)
1/2 cup. white sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon GF vanilla extract
2 or 2 1/4 cups GF flour mix (rice-based)
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
Decorative sugars (I use India Tree Decorative Sugars. See Note Below)


  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Beat together butter and cream cheese in mixer for 3-4 minutes until creamy and light.
  3. Add powdered sugar and sugar. Cream together for an additional 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy.
  4. Add egg and vanilla. Beat together to incorporate evenly.
  5. Dump in gluten-free flour mix and xanthan gum. Beat together.
  6. Scrap into a ball. The dough will be soft, but NOT sticky. If it is sticky, add a little more GF flour to the mix. It should not be stiff/crackling. If it is, add water by the tablespoon until you have achieved a soft dough.
  7. Roll the dough into 1 inch balls. Roll the ball into decorative sugars. (I use India Tree decorative sugars. See note below.)
  8. Place on parchment paper or a silpat. Flatten with the bottom of a glass to a 1/2 inch thickness.
  9. Bake for 9 – 11 minutes or *just* until golden on the edges.
  10. Cool slightly before moving to a cooling rack.
  11. Store in an airtight container at eye level for your six year old niece.
  12. She will love you forever and the cookies will last for at least the first week of her visit.


NOTE: I use India Tree decorative sugars. To be certain of their gluten-free status, I recently called this Seattle company (6/2008) and received confirmation. These are beautiful sugars. You can see a variety of them here on Amazon. I chose these as I enjoyed the different depth of colors they offer. Check out their site for more information and product choice.

GF: Buckwheat Double Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies with Cocoa Nibs and Fleur de Sel

Every Thursday I spend my immensely lavish 23 minute lunch period in a meeting. It’s not as if our teaching days are scheduled with millions of opportunities to return phone calls, actually go to the bathroom, etc so those 23 minutes are a precious commodity. To have it become a “working lunch” is well, a little difficult. However, it is the only time of the day when most of the ladies in my department have the same scheduled break. (Everyone but me, so I just flip things around on Thursdays.)

In the last couple years, these lunch meetings have been everything from serious discussions to birthday celebrations. Lately, my colleagues have really been understanding that I can/cannot eat certain things and have brought treats to share on our celebratory days that i can eat too. It feels great to be included with the food too.

Today’s topic is serious. And people may be stressed. So I made chocolate cookies to share with my serious chocoholic colleagues. These ladies eat more chocolate than I have ever seen consumed. Seriously. So I made a chocolate cookie that will satisfy their cravings for a crunchy, chocolaty cookie. (If you want a softer cookie, just add an egg to the mix.)

The best part? It’s gluten free.
Even better? it uses healthier grains too.

So how does a Buckwheat-Sorghum Double Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookie with Cocoa Nibs and Sea Salt sound to you? Sounds tasty, but the name is to long. Sadly, the name idea is beyond me. I’d name them after my favorite jazz singer or something else to evoke the idea of night and a good cup of coffee. But really, these are just the best stinkin’ chocolate crunchy cookie. And I didn’t want to name them that either. If you can think of a name for these, let me know. I’m just content to eat them. 🙂

Here’s hoping the rest make it to lunch with the ladies today….

GF: Buckwheat Double Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies with Cocoa Nibs and Sea Salt
Recipe makes 15 3″ cookies.

11 T. butter (1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons)
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon coffee extract
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1/3 cup dark chocolate, unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon Fleur De Sel + additional for sprinkling on top of the finished cookie.
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup cocoa nibs
1/4 cup dark chocolate chunks/pieces


  1. Cream butter until light and creamy, about 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add extracts and sugars. Beat together for an additional 3-4 minutes. Be sure to scrap down the sides of the bowl to mix all ingredients together well.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together flours (buckwheat, sorghum, tapioca), cocoa powder, xanthan gum, salt, and baking powder.
  4. Add dry ingredients to creamed butter/sugar mixture and mix until just blended. Do not overwork the dough, just mix until blended.
  5. Add cocoa nibs and chocolate chunks and mix to evenly distribute.
  6. At this point the mixture will not be sticking together like traditional cookie dough, however, you should be able to pinch chucks together as it is still moist enough to form small balls. Scrap the dough into a large Ziploc bag. Squish the dough into a long long. (I use the gallon size bags and make a log as long as the bag – about 11″ long (? – sorry, I don’t have one near me for reference at the moment). The log should be about 3 inches wide by 2 inches. I made my log into a rectangle, not round. Refrigerate the log for at least one hour but it made be refrigerated overnight.
  7. Preheat the oven to 325F.
  8. Prepare two cookie sheets with silpat or parchment paper linings.
  9. Cut the log into cookies, about 1/2″ thick. (You will be able to make about 14-15 cookies of this size from your log). Cutting the log can be a bit difficult as the cocoa nibs are hard. Try to keep the cookies into one slab cut, but don’t worry too much if pieces crumble. You can use these crumbles on top of the cookie slabs without any problems.
  10. Lay the cookies at least 1″ apart on the prepared cookie sheets.
  11. Bake for 14-15 minutes.
  12. As soon as the cookies have been removed from the oven, crush some finishing salt in your hand and sprinkle it over the top gingerly and lightly of each cookie. (The salt adds a great flavor and enhances the chocolate taste.)
  13. Cool for 5 minutes before moving to a cooking rack. (I just slide the whole parchment paper onto the cooling racks to avoid breaking the cookies.)
  14. Allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

The cookies are chewy when warm (and definitely need some milk served along aside if these are your baking treat) and crunchy when cool. If you would like a chewier texture when cool, you can add one egg to the mix when you all the sugars and extracts.

Happy Cookie Baking!

GF: 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 = YUM!

Sometimes, in the middle of the week, when I don’t feel like cooking, I fall back on an easy, well-known flourless peanut butter cookie recipe. There’s nothing difficult here, but it sure is tasty and worth every minute of the 25 minutes it takes to make it.

I made these cookies as a thank you for a couple students, actually one student in particular.

On Tuesday I had to go to a Physical Therapy session that came as a bit of a surprise (some surprises are not fun). This meant that I was leaving early from school – about 30 minutes early. I felt badly.

My students in the morning were not flying through the lesson as easily as I thought they would. I was a bit panicked about leaving them in the lurch with a sub that teaches Geometry. Not exactly what they needed.

So in a pinch, I asked a senior to fill in for me and “teach”. She was amazing – and my students were amazing too! They figured out what we were practicing with her help and were very supportive of this student taking over and teaching the class. I love it!

While it’s been a busy week, I wanted to get a quick thank you gift to my “substitute teacher”. She’s a dream kid with a gem of a sense of humor and a wicked wit to match. And… she is incredibly compassionate. This kid made Rhubarb Crisp for all of the exchange students because she knew they would have not eaten much rhubarb in their home countries. So she cut and prepared rhubarb from her own garden and then made a crisp.

What makes this story special? Not only did she make a delicious crisp for them, but she researched how to make a gluten-free crisp for me too!

Since she didn’t want to worry me with any cross-contamination issues, she brought the chopped rhubarb to school for me with a GF crisp recipe she had printed off along with her recipe from home. Ya know what? That sweetheart made me giggle when I saw the recipes. She didn’t know that I was food blogging at the time and the recipe she handed me said “Gluten Free Gobsmacked” across the top and was my own crisp recipe. Boy, did she get a hoot out of this when I called to thank her and tell her about the funny coincidence.

So, what kind of a thank you do you give a high school kid like this? Beyond an iTunes card for the latest Juanes CD, I made peanut butter cookies. (Seriousy, I dare you NOT to get hooked on Juanes or the cookies!) These are easy – and we both munched on them today over lunch. Cookies are great community builders, ya know. Before we knew it, the cookies were gone. But the laughter remained.

I hope these cookies bring you some love and laughter too! If you don’t have someone to make them for, no worries! Make them for yourself! There are a million things to be thankful for! (Like warm socks on rainy days… but that’s another story.)

GF/Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies
Makes 1 1/2 dozen cookies
1 cup peanut butter (I used crunchy, but creamy works too!)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
+ turbinado sugar (or sugar in the raw) to sprinkle on top once they have come out of the oven.


  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Beat together all ingredients (except turbinado sugar).
  3. Form into 2″ balls and place 1″ apart on a silpat/cookie sheet.
  4. Press each cookie ball with the tines of a fork in a criss-cross pattern.
  5. Bake for 9 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. Remove from oven and sprinkle the tops with turbinado sugar.
  7. Allow to cool completely before attempting to remove from the pan (they will firm up and crisp up, I promise!).
  8. Store in an airtight container for up to a week… or until lunch the next day.

Happy Cookies & Friendships to all!

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