Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Not Your Grandma's Sugar Cookies

For that matter, not MY Grandma's sugar cookies.  In fact, just WHOSE Grandma's Sugar Cookies these are tends to get a little confused.  Because everybody in the family loves these soft, cake-y, almond-y treasures.  They're not crsipy, they're not buttery, but they're very, very Dutch.  Redolent of almond and cream, soft and decadent.  You need to make some.

For the record: these are my Mom's Grandma's cookies.  To get the recipe, Mom actually followed her around the kitchen and jotted down her best estimate of the "bit of this and bit of that" that her Grandma used.  These cookies are now a family tradition, especially at Christmas.  Sometimes with just a little sugar, sometimes with frosting.


Now, Great-Grandma never frosted hers.  But she did keep a constant supply in the Turkey Roaster in the pantry.  And apparently kept a watchful eye on them.  I remember two of her sons discussing it once.  They had a system.  Johnny would go into the kitchen, get a cookie from the pantry, then go and talk to Great-Grandma.  While she was distracted, Hiram would sneak into the pantry, snag three cookies, and meet Johnny behind the house to divvy up the spoils.  When Johnny told this story, Dad laughed and said, "She never cared how many I had."  To which Johnny responded, "I know."

Where Great-Grandma got the recipe is lost to the mists of time.  Possibly it came over on the ship from the Netherlands with her mother.  Though the corn syrup probably was a substitution that came up during sugar rationing and just stuck.  They were such a part of MY childhood and holiday memories, that this is one of the recipes I've put the most effort into converting to a gluten-free version.  Here they are:

1 c. millet flour
1-1/2 c. sweet rice flour
1-1/2 c. potato starch
1-1/2 c. white rice flour
2-1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp salt
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. shortening
1 c. sugar
1 c. corn syrup
1 Tbsp white vinegar + enough cream to make 1 c.
1 tsp. baking soda
3 eggs
2 tsp almond extract

In a large bowl, combine flours, xanthan gum and salt.  Whisk until well combined.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter, shortening, and sugar.  Add eggs, 1 at a time.  Add corn syrup and beat until combined.  Stop and scrape down sides of bowl.

Stir soda into cream/vinegar mixture.  It will foam a little.

With mixer on lowest setting, pour in cream and beat on low until combined.  Add extract.

Gradually add the flour, a little at a time until it's all incorporated.  The resulting dough will be sticky, but if it's still too much like batter, add a bit more white rice flour.

Refrigerated the dough at least four hours, or overnight.  When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line several cookie sheets with parchment.  Use corn starch or sweet rice flour to dust your counter and rolling pin.  Roll the dough out about 1/4" thick.  Cut out with a cookie cutter dusted with starch.  Be warned, this remains a sticky dough, even chilled.  Very intricate shapes are not a good choice.  Really, shapes are not a great choice.  Mom always used a drinking glass.  I do find that the gluten-free version is actually slightly more forgiving the original, and simple bells and other rounded shapes would probably have been OK.

Place on the cookie sheet and bake 12-13 minutes.  Sprinkle with sugar if you don't plan on frosting.  Cookies should not brown or take on much color at all.  Allow to cool on the sheet for a few minutes before attempting to remove.  Cool on a wire rack.

Make frosting:

1/4 c. butter
1/2 c. shortening
1 lb. powdered sugar
1/4 c. milk
1 tsp almond extract.

Cream together butter and shortening.  Add about 1 c. powdered sugar and beat well.  Add extract and a little of the milk.  Beat well.  Continue to alternate additions of sugar and milk until all sugar is incorporated and frosting is a spreadable consistency.  This may require a bit more or less milk.  Tint as desired and frost cookies.  Allow to dry, then store in an airtight containers.  The frosting will remain quite soft, so separate layers with waxed paper.

My eldest helped put the snowflake sprinkles on.  I tried to get a picture, but she took off her little pink apron and wandered off while I was mixing up the last shade of blue.  Her little sister, The Empress of Cute, was quite impressed.  While she's prone to just lick off the frosting, I ask you, could you say "no" to this face?

Enjoy MY Great-Grandma's sugar cookies for a change of pace to the usual crisp, butter variety.


This post is part of the #cookielove bloghop.  Stop by hostess Junia's site for more cookie fun!


3 comments:

  1. YUM... those sugar cookies look fantastic!

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  2. Such a cute story! I bet Johnny and Hiram were pretty frustrated with your dad ;)

    These cookies sound pretty gosh darn amazing. Definitely bookmarking! I still haven't found my go-to for sugar cookies. Maybe this is it!

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  3. Thanks! Johnny WAS a bit displeased, IIRC. Grandpa Hiram was always more phlegmatic about that sort of thing. :-)

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