A cookie can be more than your average treat this holiday season. Out do yourself and step outside your comfort zone with delicious detours and tasty twists on some favorite holiday baked goods.
This year, add a little spice and a dash of zing to the traditional with new recipes sure to tempt the taste buds. Try one of these holiday recipes that feature a mix of familiar flavor with contemporary style:
• Gluten-Free Allspice Gingerbread: treat yourself and cater to dietary needs at the same time with these thin and crispy cookies, full of the flavors of ginger, cinnamon and cloves.
• Raspberry Limoncello Linzers: This easy-to-make Linzer cookie tops the traditional raspberry filling with a bright Limoncello glaze.
Gluten-Free Allspice Gingerbread
Makes three dozen cookies.
2 1/3 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour mix
1 cup almond meal or almond flour
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum powder (optional)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
2/3 cup natural, unsulfured molasses
1 large egg
Colored sugar, for decoration
In medium bowl, combine flour mix, almond meal, xanthan, baking soda, allspice, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, pepper and salt; set aside.
Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add molasses and egg; blend well. Add dry ingredients in three batches, blending just until fully incorporated. Dough will be stiff. Divide dough into two balls, flatten into discs, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least three hours or up to three days.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove one dough disc from refrigerator and roll out between two pieces of parchment paper or on lightly gluten-free floured work surface to 1/8-inch thick. Cut into desired shapes and place on parchment-lined baking sheets. Sprinkle cutouts with colored sugar, if desired.
Bake nine to 13 minutes, until edges of cookies are crisp. Cool cookies on sheet two to three minutes. Remove cookies to wire rack to cool completely. Store in airtight container for up to one week.
Notes: Gluten-free flour mix and almond meal or almond flour can be found in the gluten-free or natural food section of most stores.
Xanthan gum powder will improve texture of cookies but is not required to make this recipe. It can be found in health food stores and baking or gourmet markets.
Raspberry Limoncello Linzers
Makes two dozen cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 3/4 cups flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 cups seedless raspberry jam
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
3 tablespoons powdered egg whites
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/2 to 3/4 cup Limoncello liqueur
In large bowl, cream together butter, cream cheese and brown sugar using electric mixer. Add egg yolk and extracts; mix well. Gradually add flour and cornstarch; mix just until blended. Divide dough in two pieces, flatten into discs and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, 30 to 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On lightly floured surface, roll chilled dough to 1/8-inch thick and cut into desired shapes. Place cookies on parchment-lined baking sheets and bake nine to 11 minutes, until edges begin to brown and cookies are firm. Cool cookies on sheet three to four minutes. Remove cookies to wire rack to cool completely.
Meanwhile, in small saucepan, bring raspberry jam to simmer over medium-high heat, insert candy thermometer. Simmer, stirring constantly, until jam reaches 225 degrees; cook one minute more. Remove from heat, cool slightly. Spread one heaping teaspoon jam in center of each cookie.
In medium bowl, combine confectioners’ sugar and egg white powder. Add lemon juice and zest; stir in Limoncello beginning with 1/2 cup, add more, if necessary, to reach desired consistency. Pipe or drizzle cookies with frosting; allow frosting to set before serving or storing.
Store cookies in airtight container, separating layers with parchment paper, for up to one week.
Visit ButterIsBest.com to find more holiday cookie and candy recipes courtesy of America’s Dairy Farmers. While there, sign up for the daily holiday cookie e-newsletter, “Better Baking with Butter,” available to subscribers through Dec. 25. : :