The real gift is, if you have anyone in your extended circle who wants or needs to be wheat- or gluten-free, you will be giving them a way to once again enjoy something that they thought would be permanently off-limits!
— Lida Frankel, Porter Ranch
Gluten-free wedding cakes
Total time: 1 hour, 10 minutes, plus cooling time for the cookies
Servings: Makes about 3½ dozen cookies.
Note: Adapted from Lida Frankel. Xanthan gum is available at health food stores, select well-stocked markets, and cooking and baking supply stores. To make gluten-free flour, combine ½ cup brown rice flour, ½ cup sweet rice flour, 2/3 cup potato starch and 1/3 cup tapioca flour or starch (this makes about 2 cups flour, more than is needed for the recipe; the gluten-free flour will keep, tightly covered in a cool, dry place, up to 1 month).
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar, plus extra for rolling
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup raw, unsalted pecans or walnuts, finely chopped
1 3/4 cups gluten-free flour (see note above)
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon finely ground sea salt
1. Heat the oven to 300 degrees. Lightly grease cookie sheets or line them with parchment.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl using an electric mixer, cream together the butter and powdered sugar until well-blended. Beat in the vanilla and nuts to combine.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, xantham gum and salt. Add this to the butter mixture and beat just until incorporated and a dough is formed.
4. Scoop about 1 teaspoon of dough and roll into a small ball. Place the dough on a prepared cookie sheet, and repeat with the remaining dough, spacing the cookies about 1 to 1½ inches apart.
5. Bake the cookies until set and a light golden-brown on the bottom, 30 to 35 minutes. Set the cookies aside to rest for 5 minutes, then roll in powdered sugar to coat completely. Once they are cooled, roll the cookies again in sugar to cover.
6. The cookies are best made one day in advance.
Each of 42 cookies: 82 calories; 1 gram protein; 7 grams carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 6 grams fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 12 mg cholesterol; 2 grams sugar; 26 mg sodium.