So I’ve officially dived head first into the elimination phase of the Low FODMAP diet. So far its been… not easy, but not as hard as it would’ve been if I hadn’t spent the last month eating all the foods I love and researching the hell out of the diet. Also, I came back from California with a WHOLE EXTRA SUITCASE of wheat-free products and corn tortillas 🙂
Still, completely turning your diet around is never easy, especially when it is halloween time, and especially when your dietitian happens to be even more strict than the people at Monash University and has completely cut you off all candy and ALL chocolate! I happen to be addicted to sweets– maybe the root of my problems. In any case, I decided to make these festive Halloween-themed cookies to cheer myself up. Thank goodness butter has low enough levels of lactose, so it is allowed under the FODMAP diet!
To make these cookies I simply took my standard recipe and traded out the flour for gluten-free flour (Trader Joes brand in this case). Now I’ve always made my roll-out doughs the German way: using a board (or the table) instead of a mixing bowl and my hands instead of a stand mixer. After all, all the best things in life make a bit of a mess! (Also good for when it is your boyfriend’s turn to do the dishes and all the mixing bowls are dirty)
To use this technique do the following:
Measure out and dump all the dry ingredients on your board and mix.
Take your butter, the colder the better, and chop it into the dry mixture. This pastry cutter tool is awesome for this, but any old knife will do!
Once your butter is cut into small pebble sized pieces and mixed into the dry ingredients, form a small “volcano” in the center. This is where you put your eggs and vanilla (or any other wet ingredients you prefer).
I usually start mixing with my chopping tool for the first very slimy part before digging in with my hands. The dough may seem crumbly at first, but fear not! The warmth from your hands will slowly melt the butter as you knead and soon the dough will come together so that you can form it into a nice little ball. You only need to work the dough until it gets to this point– any longer and it will get sticky!
Now it is ready to be wrapped in plastic wrap and popped in the fridge. This cools the butter again and makes it easier to roll out later. I would recommend at the very least a 1/2 hour, but ideally 2 hours. In general I would say making cut out cookies is more of a marathon than a sprint. By the time you’ve finished decorating them you may think to yourself that you will never do it again… until you taste them! 🙂 In any case, it helps to spread out the process a little bit, start by making the dough before dinner and then give yourself a break.
**seasonally inappropriate break photo**
Now the dough is ready to be rolled out! Be sure to coat your working surface and rolling pin, either with more GF flour (for less sweet cookies) or with powdered sugar. I’m sure cornstarch would also work for a cheap alternative. If your dough has been in the fridge for long enough then you should only need very little, as the dough will not be too sticky. I rolled mine out to just under 1/4 inch (1/2 cm). The most important thing is to have them all be the same width so that some don’t bake faster than others. Then you can start cutting!
Put them on a lined baking sheet with room to grow, because they will!
Now pop ’em in the oven (350 F/175 C) and watch carefully after about 5 minutes for when they start to turn juuust golden brown around the edges.
Transfer to a cooling rack and wait for them to cool before icing. We aren’t so big on icing ourselves in my household, so I didn’t want to completely coat all the cookies. Personally I think they are sweet enough to eat as is! For the bats I sprinkled them with cinnamon sugar before putting them in the oven instead (for a snickerdoodle type taste). For the rest of the cookies I made a simple icing by mixing lime juice (because I was out of lemons), powdered sugar, and some food coloring.
These cookies can keep for several weeks in the right airtight container, in fact some people think they get even better after a few days as they soften up! [This of course also depends on the icing you use and how long it is good for.]
German butter cut-out cookies:
(Makes about 4 dozen)
2 cups gluten free flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
[1/2 tsp salt- if using unsalted butter]
3/4 cups (about 165 g) cold butter
1 egg + 1 egg yolk (save the white for your next omelette!)
splash of vanilla essence
1. Mix dry ingredients on a board or flat surface.
2. Add the cold butter by putting it on top of the dry ingredients and chopping with a pastry cutter or large knife until you have small pebble-sized pieces.
3. Make a small hole in the center of your mix and add the eggs and vanilla.
4. Knead until the dough comes together without crumbling.
5. Wrap in plastic and put in the refrigerator for about 2 hours.
6. Preheat your oven to 350 F (175 C)
7. Roll out the dough to a thickness of about 1/4 inch (1/2 cm) using flour or powdered sugar to keep it from sticking….and begin cutting!
7. Bake on a parchment lined or silicone baking sheet for 6-8 minutes, or until the bottom of the cookies are a deep golden-brown.
8. Cool before decorating!