So, these are officially my favorite cookies, in the world, made by one of my favorite people! My dear friend Cathy (aka: mrs cathy), without whom I wouldn’t have my sweet kitteh Callie, made these awesome cookies gluten free for a brunch celebrating Callie’s 5th year living with me. These cookies are melt in your mouth great, beautifully crisp and have a gorgeous depth of flavor from the combination of brown sugars and a lovely warm bite of spice. I asked Cathy to share the recipe here and a little of the cookie’s background. Here’s Cathy…
More than a sweet treat for me, these are the cookies of my people. Everyone in my family adores them. I’ve tinkered with the basic recipe for years, so when my sister went gluten-free I couldn’t wait to bake her a batch, thanks to Cup 4 Cup flour and the encouragement of my favorite GF blogger. They were terrific, with a melt-in-your-mouth quality that demands you eat another. I brought some to Lisa of KMGFB, who agreed and invited me to share them with you.
The original recipe is from Dorie Greenspan’s marvelous Baking: From My Home to Yours. My friend Dorie does a typically brilliant thing: to the warm spices she adds heat, in the form of ground black pepper. I thought the gentle burn and fruity depth of Aleppo pepper would be even better, and it was. (Few things aren’t improved by a shot of Aleppo pepper.)
I made them with molasses until dear friends in Kentucky introduced me to sorghum. The flavor is a bit lighter than molasses, complex and honeyed, and it plays nicely with the brown sugar and spices. I was thrilled to discover a local source: Wood Homestead Maple Farm in upstate New York sells their excellent Blenheim Hill sorghum at several NYC farmers’ markets.
Any honest brown sugar will work, such as a mix of sucanat and dark brown. But nothing compares to the rich, earthy granulated piloncillo from Rancho Gordo, produced by a small cooperative in Mexico. To echo its caramel flavor, I roll the balls of dough in turbinado sugar; the crystals also give the cookies sparkle and crunch.
One more Kentucky-inspired tweak: Cebah, the late, beloved mama of my clan and a legendary country cook, made her cookies almost the same way Dorie does. But instead of creaming the butter, she melted it. No mixer required!
Future plans for playing around include chopped candied and/or fresh grated ginger. Maybe a half-cloak of melted bittersweet chocolate? I hope you enjoy these cookies as much as my family and friends do, and that you’re inspired to ring some changes of your own.
Sorghum Spice Cookies (adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking – if you don’t have this book, you need it)
2 1/3 cups (11 oz) Cup 4 Cup gluten-free flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp Aleppo pepper (or pepper of your choice, to taste)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1 1/2 sticks (6 oz.) unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar (or a mix of light and dark)
1/2 cup sorghum syrup (or molasses)
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 cup turbinado (or plain white) sugar for rolling
Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt and spices. Set aside. Melt butter. (I do this in the microwave, in a mixing bowl.) Let cool. Blend in brown sugar and sorghum syrup, stirring until melted butter is fully incorporated.
Stir in the egg.
Mix in dry ingredients thoroughly. The dough will be soft.
Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Preheat oven to 350º and line cookie sheets with parchment paper or non-stick liners. Pour ½ cup turbinado sugar into a small bowl.
Scoop up about 1 T of dough – I use a medium cookie scoop – and roll into a smooth ball. Drop the ball into the turbinado, rolling around to coat. Place on cookie sheet. Continue, placing the balls 2 inches apart. With the bottom of a glass, flatten each ball to about ½” thick.
Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until the tops feel set to the touch.
Transfer cookies to a rack and cool completely. They keep well and freeze beautifully. Yield: about 50 2 ½” cookies