Tag Archives: cookies

Gluten-Free Tagalongs, or Peanut Butter Patties

gluten-free tagalongs

Gluten-free version of Tagalong Girl Scout cookies

My daughters always have fun selling Girl Scout cookies – who can resist two enthusiastic, cute kids? I’m impressed that they sold 58 boxes each. But above all, I’m impressed that my younger daughter never complains that she can’t eat Girl Scout cookies, because they’re not gluten-free. This year, we decided to make our own gluten-free version of Tagalongs, or Peanut Butter Patties, so all of us could enjoy them.

Tagalongs were one of the girls’ top sellers this year – behind Thin Mints, of course. Tagalongs are a rich treat: a shortbread cookie topped with a peanut butter layer and enrobed in chocolate. Last year, we made gluten-free Thin Mints, so this year we decided to tackle Tagalongs. It’s a labor-intensive process — first you make the shortbread cookie dough and chill it, then bake the cookies, prepare the peanut butter topping, dip it all in melted chocolate and let it cool — but the results are worth the hassle.

My 10-year-old, who can eat gluten and who has quite a discerning palate, dubbed our homemade gluten-free Tagalongs better than the real deal. “The peanut butter is more peanut buttery, and the chocolate is more chocolaty,” she declared. My mother-in-law agreed.

On a side note, my friend Melissa (Hi, Melissa!) was upset that the cookies are called Tagalongs instead of Peanut Butter Patties. Apparently, there are two companies that bake Girl Scout cookies, and Little Brownie Bakers calls them Tagalongs, while ABC Bakers calls them Peanut Butter Patties. Glad we resolved that mystery. Next year, maybe we’ll tackle making a gluten-free Samoa!

Update 3/27/12: If you have leftover peanut butter mixture, use it to make mini gluten-free peanut butter cups, like mini Reese’s cups. See recipe for Homemade Peanut Butter Cups.

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Gluten-Free Thin Mint Cookies

gluten-free thin mints

Gluten-Free Thin Mint Cookies

This year was my younger daughter’s first year in Daisies, the first-grade Girl Scouts group. She sold 48 boxes of Girl Scout cookies with enthusiastic endorsements: “They freeze well.” “They make good gifts.” “Thin Mints are the most popular.” But, because she has celiac disease and is gluten-free, she has never, ever tasted a Girl Scout cookie, nor will she.

I didn’t want her to be left out of the Girl Scout cookie feeding frenzy. So this year, I developed my own recipe for gluten-free Thin Mints, with a tender gluten-free chocolate cookie enrobed in a minty chocolate coating. It’s just the right combo of chocolate and mint, gluten-free of course.

Although it is expensive, use peppermint oil rather than mint extract, because mint extract often contains both spearmint and peppermint oils. You don’t want the spearmint taste in these cookies, just the peppermint. This recipe is a good chance to use teff flour (which I love for its high protein and fiber content), as teff works well with the chocolate flavors and the slightly dry biscuit base.

This recipe is a bit tricky, in that the batter is very soft, making it hard to form the cookies. Keep the batter chilled so it’s easier to cut out perfectly round circles. Also, chilling the cookies on the tray before baking helps them to keep their shape and reduce spread.

Enjoy!

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Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

These easy-to-make gluten-free peanut butter cookies are sealed with a kiss – Hershey’s Kisses placed on the cookies while they are still warm from the oven.

The bonus: The cookies are naturally gluten free, with no flour at all, making them good crowd-pleasers. Plus, the peanut butter packs a protein punch, which we’re always looking for in our house. Thank you to my friend Rebecca who provided the flourless peanut butter cookie recipe. I just added a kiss.

Peanut butter jars can easily become contaminated by bread crumbs spread on a sandwich knife. We always have two jars of peanut butter and two jars of jelly in our house, marked in permanent marker: GF ONLY and NOT GF. My mother has a squeeze bottle of jelly, so crumbs don’t get in the jar.

I’m a crunchy, natural peanut butter fan. True, natural peanut butter is a pain. The oil separates, so you need to plunge your knife into the jar to mix it up, inevitably resulting in an overflowing mess.

Still, one look at the ingredients and you’ll be convinced to go natural. Most peanut butters contain sugar and hydrogenated vegetable oil. Even mainstream natural brands like Skippy Natural and Jiff Natural contain added sugar, palm oil and salt.

By contrast, Trader Joe’s organic crunchy unsalted peanut butter has one ingredient: peanuts. And the Whole Foods 365 Everyday PB has two ingredients: peanuts and salt (though, curiously, their 365 Organic brand has added palm oil).

While you’re at it, check your jam or jelly. Most contain high-fructose corn syrup. Who needs that? Buy a brand that contains simply fruit or is sweetened with other fruit juices.

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Please, sir, I want s’mores

gluten-free s'mores1

gluten-free s'mores2

It was cold and rainy in Chicago the other day, on our bumpy path toward spring. When my kids came home from school, they asked for hot chocolate and gluten-free s’mores. I was happy to oblige, because I had a couple packets of hot chocolate mix that I wanted to use up and I had gluten-free graham crackers in the cabinet.

Gluten-free graham crackers are hard to find. I’ve yet to discover one that comes close to the sweet, nutty taste of whole wheat graham flour with a tender texture that crumbles in my mouth.

S'moreables

In the past, I’ve bought Jo-Sef’s Square Cinnamon Cookies, which are chunky, cinnamon-flavored gluten-free graham crackers, and Health Valley Rice Bran Crackers, which are thin cookie/crackers with a graham taste. Recently, I bought Kinnikinnick’s S’moreables, which have a honey-molasses flavor and are sturdy enough to stand up to s’mores (though there were quite a few non-sturdy broken crackers in the box).

While all of these store-bought cookies are good for snacks or s’mores, I wouldn’t use them in a graham cracker pie crust. They’re too expensive and too sugary. For a graham cracker crust, you’re better off with crushed gluten-free gingersnaps or crushed gluten-free animal crackers. Or bake your own gluten-free grahams with a recipe from Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef.

S’mores — toasted marshmallows and melted chocolate sandwiched between two graham crackers — are campfire favorites that are so good that you beg for “some more.”

One of the best things about camping is skewering a giant marshmallow on a long stick, holding it over the campfire and watching the marshmallow puff up and turn golden brown (or thrusting it into the flames and watching it catch fire, with flames leaping into the night sky and charring the marshmallow charcoal black).

It’s much tamer to watch the marshmallows turn a pleasant tan in the toaster oven, but you’ve got to take what you can get.

Marshmallows are generally gluten free, but check the ingredients to make sure. When we made our s’mores this week, I had only mini marshmallows on hand, but the bigger ones ooze more (and oozing is good). Hershey’s chocolate bars, the classic chocolate for s’mores, are gluten-free. But I had only dark chocolate chips at home, so I used those, though chocolate chips don’t melt as well.

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Chocolate Chip and Double Chocolate Meringues

gluten-free meringues

Chocoloate Chip and Double Chocolate Meringues

There’s something wintry about meringue cookies. They look like pure white mini snowballs that seem so right for the season. It’s actually better to make meringues in winter. The air is dry, which helps keep meringues crisp.

With winter hopefully ending soon (bright sun is streaming through my window and the temps in Chicago have been above freezing), it’s time to sneak in a batch of meringues before it’s too late.

Meringues are a great dessert to make for guests, as they are naturally gluten-free. My kids’ friends wolf down these sugary treats, taking extras home with them. Meringues also make great Passover treats, since all the ingredients are kosher for Passover.

Though I do like the look of snowy white meringues, I recently needed a chocolate fix (no surprise there). So in addition to adding chocolate chips to the meringues, I also added cocoa powder to half the batch to make double chocolate meringue cookies.

To shape the meringues, I drop spoonfuls of the mixture on a cookie sheet, because that’s the easiest thing to do. If you want to be fancy (my kids’ favorite word), omit the chocolate chips and pipe the meringues into prettier shapes using a pastry bag.

You’ll want to dry out the meringues, so keep the heat low and slow. I bake them at 250 for one hour; some recipes say to leave meringues in a turned-off oven overnight. If the temperature gets much higher than 250, your meringues will turn tan, which might be a good look for you but not for your meringues.

Click for Chocolate Chip and Double Chocolate Meringues recipe

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