Shooting the Moon

“You’re making chocolate chip cookies? That means there’s a stash of chocolate chips for me to munch on.”

“No, babe. I’m making snickerdoodles.”

“Even better. Where are those Snickers bars?”

You see, this is what my life’s like. This is the guy I live with, cook for, clean up after, and love more than I ever thought humanly possible. But I bet he’s not unlike a lot of you out there, is he?

For one, not only does he think about the finished product of the dish in progress, but he also thinks about the steps leading up to said finished product, and what can be snacked on along the way. I find no fault in this thought process, actually.

Second, he thinks that snickerdoodles are cookies with bits of Snickers candy speckled throughout. C’mon – he isn’t the only one, is he? I mean seriously, I thought the same until less than exactly five years ago. I can’t tell you how many times I proclaimed (silently) that my snickerdoodle holiday coffee did not taste one iota like Snickers and come to think of it, really just tasted a lot like cinnamon.

Now that I finally get it, I still don’t completely understand the name behind the cinnamon-laden holiday cookie, but I’m ok with that. Maybe there’s no explanation other than the fact that someone wanted a persnickety name for a simple cookie? (Also, I love the word persnickety. Persnickety. Persnickety. Persnickety.)

Third, he is one competitive guy, and this has nothing to do with these fine cookies other than the fact that they were made as a snack during a night of Hearts and tostadas with Jennifer & Jon. Hubs always wins when we play Hearts, even against my pops, and he’s been playing Hearts since the 60′s. Two of my lifelong goals are related to the 52-card deck – to beat Hubs at cribbage, and to beat him at Hearts (without cheating, of course).

I’m still workin’ on the former (although I swear I’ve beat him before, although I just can’t remember when!), but these cookies and the fact that I ate exactly 8 of them (give or take) must have made me lucky, because by golly I ‘shot the moon’, took him out, and never looked back. Add in a couple of victory-laden snickerdoodles, and the food coma fast approached – my excuse for being unable to successfully defend my title the second time around.

Gluten-Free / Dairy-Free Snickerdoodles
Adapted from Eat the Love via Gluten-Free Girl & the Chef; makes ~48

time commitment: 1.5 hours

these cookies are gonna be good gluten-free or not. i put what i did first and in parentheses what you can do differently if you don’t need a gluten or dairy free recipe {the vegan butter makes them dairy free and the flour substitutions and addition of xantham gum make them gluten free}. i also didn’t have enough eggs, so i used a trusty (and healthier!) substitute – 1 T ground flax + 3 T water for each egg. you can cut out the flax and water and instead use 2 eggs (plus the yolk of a third, as in the recipe) if you have them.

printable version (cookies and gf ap flour recipe)

ingredients
1/2 c (1 stick) vegan butter spread (or regular butter)
1 T g cinnamon
3 T + 1 1/2 c sugar, divided
2 T flax seed
6 T water
1/2 c vegetable shortening
1 large egg yolk
2 t vanilla extract
2 t cream of tartar
1 t baking soda
1/2 t kosher salt
1 t xantham gum (leave out if not making gf)
465 g all-purpose gluten-free flour, recipe below (or regular ap flour, ~2 3/4 c)

instructions
Cut vegan butter or butter into 1/2″ pieces and add to bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet or cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Combine the cinnamon and the 3 T of sugar together in a shallow bowl. Put aside. In blender, grind flax seeds until fine; add water and blend until a smooth paste forms (i did this in a spice grinder, using 1 T flax and 3 T water at a time; it was a little messy, but the spice grinder probably grinds the flax better). Pour into small bowl and sit aside (if you’re using eggs, omit this part, obviously).

Add shortening to butter and mix on medium until well-blended. Add the remaining sugar and continue to beat until light and fluffy. Add the flax paste (or 2 eggs, one at a time beating after each addition), the egg yolk, and then the vanilla, beating and scraping down the sides with a spatula after each addition. Add the cream of tartar, baking soda, salt and xantham gum into the butter mixture and beat well. Add the flours and beat until all ingredients are incorporated and the dough is smooth.

Roll 1 T amounts of dough into balls and roll around in the sugar/cinnamon mixture. Place onto baking sheets about 2” apart. Bake for 12 minutes or until the tops of the cookies start to crack a little. Let them cool on the sheet for 3 minutes and then move them to a rack to cool.

Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour
Adapted from Gluten-Free Girl & the Chef; makes 1000 g of ap flour

i’m definitely NOT a gluten-free expert, but Shauna certainly is. in the past, I’ve somehow managed to avoid making my own gf ap flour, but i finally caved in and did it, once i realized i had a decent amount of gf flours on hand. if you’re only cooking gf for someone occasionally, you may be better off buying a pre-made gf ap flour (like Bob’s Red Mill) which will usually work just fine. however, if you make a lot of gf stuff (or don’t but like the challenge AND hate that your gf friends get left out way too often), making a batch of gf ap flour using Shauna’s suggestions will serve you well. but remember, it isn’t just about using gf ingredients – you have to be sure your cleaning surfaces, etc are gf too. if you’re unsure about something you’re making for someone who eats gf, just ask them – they are (usually!) more than happy to talk about it and give you pointers.

this recipe is one i made using Shauna’s suggestion of 60% starch flours, 40% whole-grain flours. visit the link above for suggestions if you don’t have these exact flours on hand (and for her tried and true ap version, which i’m sure works better than mine!). you’ll notice the flours are all in grams – precision is key here!

printable version (flour only)

ingredients
225 g brown rice flour
175 g sorghum flour
250 g sweet rice flour
200 g potato starch
100 g arrowroot
50 g tapioca flour/starch

instructions
weigh each flour out and mix together  in a large container, preferably one with a lid. once they’re all in there, whisk them together for a few minutes, or snap the lid and shake the hell outta the container until well blended.

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