Learn a bit about the science of gluten-free cookies, and bake up some great shortbread for your whole family. Enjoy!
Let’s talk about the science of cookies today. Did you not know that there was science to baking cookies? There is, and lots of it. But today we’ll keep it relatively simple and just talk about the most basic cookie ratio:
Flour provides structure. And butter and sugar weaken structure. In this cookie ratio, the “structure makers” and the “structure weakeners” are perfectly balanced. As a result, the cookie dough made with this ratio is workable, but doesn’t spread very much when baked. In fact, it’s a perfect dough for rolling into a log and then cutting the log into rounds for the cookies. And that’s exactly what you’ll do in the gluten free -shortbread recipe.
Now, not everyone wants shortbread all of the time, so people started tinkering around with the cookie ratio to make different sorts of cookies. To help identify some of the common tweaks, I’ll show you the metamorphosis of a shortbread cookie into a chocolate chip cookie in 5 simple steps.
Cookies are very tricky. The amount, type, and even brand, of every ingredient can have a huge impact on the finished cookie. And that’s before you even consider mixing techniques, choice of pans, whether to refrigerate the dough (and for how long, if you do), the spacing of the cookies on the pans, and the oven temperature. It’s daunting, I know. It’s why I don’t teach a gluten free cookie class.
If you start your gluten free baking experiments with cookies and run into some horrible failures, don’t beat yourself up. Try baking some gluten free bread; it’s much easier!
I have tested it with my flour mix and it worked wonderfully. That does not mean that it will work with another flour mix though! The absorbency of the flour is super important in cookie making because they contain so little moisture. However, this recipe makes a pretty small batch of cookies, so don’t be afraid to play around with it. You could even cut the recipe in half for testing purposes.
Add all ingredients to a large mixing bowl and mix the ingredients together until a dough forms. I do this by hand and it can take a good bit of work. If you want or need to use a mixer, then let your butter soften and cream the butter and sugar together before adding the flour.
Once you have a dough, roll it into a log and cut the log into 1/4″ cookies. Bake the cookies on a cooking sheet in a 350 degrees oven until they look (and feel) like they are firming up.
You’ll probably have to poke at them a bit to tell. Take the cookies out and let them cool. If they seem crumbly, don’t worry about moving them until they’ve firmed up. These cookies do not have a lot of sugar, so there’s not much risk of them sticking to the pan.