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.
Gluten-Free Tagalongs, or Peanut Butter Patties
Gluten-Free Shortbread Cookie
- 1 cup gluten-free flour blend (I used Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour Mix)
- ½ cup cornstarch
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter
- 1 egg
- ½ teaspoon salt
- In a large mixing bowl, mix all the ingredients for two minutes, until the mixture clumps together in a ball.
- Shape dough into an evenly rolled log that’s 1½ inches in diameter. Wrap log in waxed paper and refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight.
- Pre-heat the oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Slice the log of dough into circles that are ¼-inch thick. Place dough circles on parchment paper, about one to two inches apart. Bake cookies for 15 minutes, until lightly golden brown on edges. Cool.
Yield: About 30 cookies
Peanut Butter Filling
- 1½ cups creamy peanut butter (I used processed peanut butter, not natural peanut butter)
- 1¼ cups powdered sugar
- Pinch salt
- In a large bowl, mix peanut butter, powdered sugar and a pinch of salt until well combined.
- Use your hands to roll peanut butter mixture into ¾-inch balls; roll balls quickly so your hands don’t get sticky. Flatten the balls into discs, using the palms of your hands.
- Place peanut butter discs on top of shortbread cookies, pressing ever so slightly, so the peanut butter layer sticks to the cookies.
Milk Chocolate Topping
- 4 cups (23 ounces) milk chocolate chips (milk chocolate chips work better than semisweet chips here)
- Place milk chocolate chips in a large bowl. Heat in the microwave for 1 minute on half-power (such as power level 5). Stir chocolate thoroughly. If not melted, pop bowl in the microwave for subsequent 30-second intervals, stirring until chocolate is melted.
- Use a fork to lower a peanut-butter-topped cookie into the melted chocolate. Spoon chocolate over top of cookie. Gently scrape the bottom of the fork against the side of the bowl to get off excess chocolate. Transfer chocolate-coated cookie to parchment paper and refrigerate for at least one hour.
Yield: About 30 chocolate-covered peanut butter patties