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GF Ratio Rally: Pinwheel Sugar Cookies

I found out that my new coworkers already read my blog. They asked me questions about my baking on my first day. And they have asked for something spectacular for the company Christmas party. Peppermint brownies? Eggnog blondies? Decisions, decisions.

But, let’s procrastinate those decisions and talk cookies.

These cookies are brought to you by the numbers 3, 2, 1.

Well, sort of.

It is time for this month’s gluten-free ratio rally. And this time we made cookies. (And, these count for my

If you haven’t bought a copy of Ruhlman’s Ratio, go get a copy. It is pretty darned inexpensive, and it will help you understand the differences in types of dough. This time, we are tackling cookies.

gluten free ratio rally logo

You can use the basic ratio and get a pretty good cookie. I used it when I made up my Lemon Thyme Shortbread cookies. And I used it (and then followed his instructions for changing it) and then made magic in the kitchen. With cookies, you can pretty much go to town with the ratio (unlike cakes where you really shouldn’t deviate from a ratio more than 20%) and the ingredients. Eggs are not part of the ratio, but they help give cookies some lift.

The key to making an excellent cookie is understanding your ingredients.

If you use shortening, your cookies will not spread much and will be more crisp. Butter cookies spread and can be a little softer. (They also have better flavor).

 

Your sugar makes a difference too – brown sugar gives you a softer chewier cookie, and white sugar gives you a crisper cookie.

Want a little lift? Add some eggs. Or some baking powder. Or baking soda and an acidic liquid.

gluten free christmas cookie-a-thon

Cookies are the ultimate dessert. And they beg for experimentation. I played it a little safe – I made a traditional slice and bake swirl cookie, but sometimes things are tradition because they are delicious. And that is what these cookies are. Buttery, sugary, chocolat-y cookies. And best of all, they are gluten free.

Cookies might just be the most forgiving thing I have baked. They are also one of this year’s Cookie-A-Thon cookies. Don’t miss out on any of my cookie recipes this holiday season!

Before you go make my cookies, check out all of the cookies the other participants in the Ratio Rally made! A special thanks to Caroline from the G-Spot Revolution for hosting this month!

Amanda | Gluten Free Maui | Simple Shortbread
Amie Valpone | The Healthy Apple | Grapefruit Sugar Cookies
Brooke | B & the boy! | Candy Cane Shortbread
Caleigh | Gluten Free[k] | Mulled Spice Cookies
Caneel | Mama Me Gluten Free | Cardamom Date Cookies
charissa | zest bakery | Coconut Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Caroline | The G-Spot | Double Chocolate Chip Peppermint Cookies
Claire | Gluten Freedom | Chai Latte Cashew Cookies
Erin | The Sensitive Epicure | Spritz Cookies with Jam
gretchen | kumquat | Classic Sugar Cookies
Irvin | Eat the Love | Apple Brown Butter Bay Leaf Spice Cookies
Jean | Gluten Free Doctor Recipes | Reindeer Cookies
Jenn | Jenn Cuisine | Basler Brunsli
Jonathan| The Canary Files | Vegan Salted Oatmeal Cherry Cookies
Karen | Cooking Gluten Free! | Mexican Wedding Cakes
Lisa from Gluten Free Canteen | Molasses Rum Raisin Cookies
Mary Fran | frannycakes | Pinwheel Cookies
Meaghan | The Wicked Good Vegan | Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies
Meredith | Gluten Free Betty | Chocolate Peppermint Cookies
Morri | Meals With Morri| Stevia Sweetened & Grain-Free Thumbprint Cookies with Apricot Preserves
Pete & Kelli | No Gluten, No Problem| Belgian Speculaas Cookies
Rachel | The Crispy Cook | Melomakarona
Silvana Nardone | Silvana’s Kitchen | Old-School Italian Jam-Filled Hazelnut Cookies
T.R. | No One Likes Crumbley Cookies | Cinnamon Lemon Cookies
Tara | A Baking Life | Walnut Shortbread
Shauna | Gluten-Free Girl & the Chef |  Gluten-Free Soft Molasses Cookies

GF Ratio Rally: Pinwheel Sugar Cookies
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 36
 
These simple cookies shine because of the ingredients that make them. Please use real butter if you can eat it. And fresh butter is best. I used Callebaut semi-sweet chocolate (because that is what Whole Foods had when I was shopping, not because I am a chocolate snob). High quality semi-sweet chocolate is also key here.
Ingredients
  • 225 grams (2 sticks) butter
  • 225 grams (1 cup + 2 tablespoons) sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 5 grams (1 teaspoon) baking powder
  • 337 grams (2¾ cup) gluten-free all purpose flour (I used [link url="http://gan.doubleclick.net/gan_click?lid=41000000001214466&pid=4463535&adurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.williams-sonoma.com%2Fproducts%2F4463535%2F%3FcatalogId%3D83&usg=AFHzDLukLd71ssAgLdp2kPWoNZk67EjHrA&pubid=21000000000388039"] Cup4Cup[/link])
  • 2 teaspoons xantham gum (omit if your flour blend already has this)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 85 grams (3 1-ounce squares) bittersweet chocolate
Instructions
  1. Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the vanilla and the egg. Beat well. Add the flour and salt.
  2. Mix to combine and scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure you have a well formed dough.
  3. Divide the dough in half. Place one half in a plastic bag or plastic covered bowl in the refridgerator, and place half of the dough back in the bowl of your mixer.
  4. Add the melted chocolate and stir to combine. Chill the dough for 30 minutes.
  5. On a floured (rice flour works well) parchment paper, roll out the chocolate dough into a 8x12 rectangle, about ⅛ inch thick. It might be longer or shorter, but you don't want it wider than 8 inches.
  6. Square it up, and add the odd bits on the edges and smush them together.
  7. Roll out the plain dough in a similar fashion, but work fairly quickly, the dough gets soft easily. Place it on top of the chocolate rectangle. If it breaks in the transfer, that is ok. Just patch it up once it is on top of the chocolate dough.
  8. Roll the cookie dough up the short edge (you want a long, thin roll, not a short, fat roll).
  9. Put it back in the fridge and preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line your cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  10. Slice the cookies about a quarter inch thick, and leave 2 inches between the cookies because these spread.
  11. Bake for12-18 minutes. When the edges are just golden, they are done.
  12. Pack up the cookies in a box and send them to me.
Notes
Cookies made with some gluten-free all purpose blends have spreading issues. If you are going to use the Jules Nearly Normal flour, please substitute 25% of the butter with shortening. I made these with Cup4Cup Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour. You don't have to use chocolate. You could add 25% more flour and just color half the dough. You can also skip the vanilla and add peppermint extract. For something extra special, roll the log in colored sugar before slicing. Even more cookie magic!

 

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15 Responses to GF Ratio Rally: Pinwheel Sugar Cookies

  1. Rachel @ The Crispy Cook December 7, 2011 at 8:35 am #

    These babies look so beautiful. I’ll bet your coworkers scarfed them up.

  2. Caroline @ The G-Spot December 7, 2011 at 8:41 am #

    These are so fun! I love them — thank you so much for sharing. :)

  3. Annaliese Lemmon December 7, 2011 at 9:03 am #

    You forgot to include the measurement for flour in your recipe. :( Thanks for your tips. I’m trying to make a dairy-free, gluten-free sugar cookie, but my first attempt ended in a crumbly mess. Hopefully with these tips I can do better next time.

    • maryfran December 7, 2011 at 11:00 pm #

      I got the flour added. Thanks for the heads up!

      My first sugar cookies disintegrated into dust when you bit into them. It took a couple of years, but I finally understand a bit more about the science behind the baking.

  4. Erin Swing December 7, 2011 at 10:05 am #

    Nice looking cookies. Merry Christmas!

  5. Lisa @ GF Canteen December 7, 2011 at 10:31 am #

    These look like tasty cookies – Cup4Cup does seem to work quite well.

  6. Heather Brandt December 7, 2011 at 1:33 pm #

    I still don’t see the amount of flour to use!

    • maryfran December 7, 2011 at 10:59 pm #

      I managed to delete it. That will teach me to write up recipes so late at night. It is there now.

  7. Jenn December 7, 2011 at 5:05 pm #

    Oh these are awesome! Love the pinwheel design!

  8. Tara December 7, 2011 at 9:33 pm #

    Lovely cookies! I’ve been tempted to try the C4C flour as well, but the fact that it’s so starch-heavy and contains xanthan gum has made me pause. Seems like it might be more of a special occasion flour than an everyday workhorse, but I’m glad to hear all the great reviews of it! Do you feel that it’s significantly better than flour you blend yourself?

    • maryfran December 7, 2011 at 11:05 pm #

      It depends what I am making. It makes life a gazillion times easier than having to make sure that I have enough of 4 different kinds of flours. I also don’t mind xantham gum. I don’t think it should be in everything (cakes really don’t need it). I know that with this flour that what I bake will turn out correctly (as long as the ratios are all in line). I guess it is mostly a time thing. I have been in flux (surgery, moving and a new job) for the past few months and being able to bake easily has been a huge bonus. As for the starch thing, I am only baking things that a person shouldn’t eat much of anyways, so I am ok with the starches being there.

      • Tara December 8, 2011 at 10:23 pm #

        Interesting. I think you’ve confirmed my earlier suspicions. It sounds convenient and it would be a huge time-saver, which is especially important for people new to gf baking. And I’d be fine with it used in special occasion treats, since I tend to include more starches in those types of recipes, anyway. But for people who might start using it exclusively in all their gf baking, it seems like a less-than-healthy choice, given the wide range of delicious whole grains available today. And although I myself am not sensitive to xanthan and use it often, there is definitely a growing group of people who need to avoid it, and so it’s too bad this flour blend will exclude them (as well as all the dairy-sensitive people). But in the end, I’m just happy that gf baking is becoming accepted and mainstream, so much so that T. Keller and Williams-Sonoma would put their names behind it!

  9. Jonathan December 7, 2011 at 10:29 pm #

    Great tips for baking cookies and a wonderful recipe, too! Can’t wait to hear about eggnog blondies… :)

  10. charissa (zest bakery) December 9, 2011 at 1:12 am #

    i vote egg nog blondies and an invite to your christmas party. :)

    the spirals look adorable and I love two-toned cookies!

    hope you are settling in at the new jobby!

    (psst, did the flour measurement go missing again?)

    • maryfran December 9, 2011 at 11:35 pm #

      I think this post hates me! I fixed it again, hopefully it stays fixed :)

      And I think that both items will need to get made for the party, if I can carry them on the train….

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