Candy Cane Blossoms

Greetings, Gentle Readers.  It's the Holiday Season, and I'm going to try to think of you a little more in the upcoming future.  I know I haven't done so well for the last month, but I'm going to queue up some posts in the hopes of aiding you in your holiday baking.

(And, as a side note, I'm looking at updating my template for Blogger.  I'll have to redo all of the graphic design - which has its faults as it is, but hopefully I'll gain threaded commenting and maybe even get the Recipe Index to WORK.  Opinions on this move are solicited, especially if you have experience with Blogger to share).

For the start of the Holiday Season I'm kicking off my holiday baking with a twist on a classic.  I love peanut butter blossoms.  But my youngest daughter's school has a strict "no peanuts" policy due to some severe allergies.  So I give you Candy Cane Blossoms:

 They're delightfully chocolatey with a kick of peppermint.  Great for cookie swaps!  (Well, if you can find enough people in your neck of the woods for a gluten-free cookie swap.  If you can, you have my envy!!)

Candy Cane Blossom Cookies

1 Bag Hershey's Candy Cane Kisses
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, slightly softened
1-1/2 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 c. chocolate chips (I used ghiradelli 60%)
1 Tbsp coconut oil (or vegetable oil if you must)
2-1/2 c. Fancy Flour Blend, other GF AP flour OR
1/2 c. millet flour
1/4 c. sweet rice flour
1 c. white rice flour
1/2 c. + 2 Tbsp tapioca starch
2 Tbsp potato starch
1-1/2 tsp guar gum
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 c. high quality cocoa powder (such as Penzey's or Droste)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl, combine flour, guar gum, soda, salt, and cocoa.  Stir to combine, and set aside.

In a small bowl, melt chocolate chips and coconut or vegetable oil.  You can do this in a double boiler, or in the microwave.  If in the microwave, heat for 20 seconds at a time and stir in between until chocolate is smooth and melted.

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or just a medium sized bowl, if you have a spunky hand mixer) cream together butter and brown sugar.

Add eggs, one at a time, and vanilla extract.  Scrape down bowl and beat until smooth.

Add 1/2 of flour mixture, beating until just combined.  Add chocolate mixture, beating again until well mixed. Then add remaining flour mixture.  Turn mixer on low and allow to mix for 2-3 minutes.  The nice thing about gluten-free baking is that it's impossible to make things tough by overmixing.  So take a moment and make sure things are well blended.  It will also give your flours time to hydrate a bit.

Form into 1-1/2" balls and place on a baking sheet.  Or use a 1 Tbsp disher, leveled off.  Bake for 10 minutes. rotating the tray at least once if you get hot spots in your oven.  Pull the cookie sheet and allow cookies to cool on the sheet for about 2 minutes before pressing one kiss onto each cookie.

Since the candy cane kisses are a bit softer than chocolate, they may sort of "pool" rather than stand up and retain their peaks.  Just press them down far enough that they won't run off the cookie.

Put a pot of coffee on and you're ready for company.  They won't even know these are gluten-free if you don't tell them!


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