Gluten-Free Snickerdoodle Cookies

We’re heading into the home-stretch of the holiday madness. But there is still some time to get your cookie-baking on! And thanks to my fellow foodie, Emma Caperelli Loerky, we have a great recipe for Gluten-free Snickerdoodle Cookies! These look just like the snickerdoodle cookies that my Grandmother used to make, so I am sure that Emma’s recipe is sure to please!

GLUTEN-FREE SNICKERDOODLE COOKIES
By Emma Caperelli Loerky 

While deciding which recipe I should share with you all next, I realized that not only has it been about 3 months since my last post (how did that happen?!), but it has also been quite some time since I shared a gluten-free recipe with you. So, I suppose it is only fair that my next recipe be GF. Which, by the way, is very convenient since I just baked up a fresh batch of gluten-free Snickerdoodle cookies for my husband.

I adapted this recipe from here: http://www.bakerella.com/snickerdoodle-duo/. I have not tried making the cupcakes gluten-free…yet. I promise to report back if/when I get the chance. In the meantime, you will be happy to know that these cookies turned out great and are super easy to prepare – which is a good thing because I have a feeling my husband is going to be requesting them often.

Makes approximately 20 cookies

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups gluten-free flour mix 

1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (Note: Check to see if your flour mix includes xanthan and/or guar gum. If so, omit the xanthan gum)

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

1/4 cup shortening

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg, room temperature

1/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons cinnamon

Directions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, sift together gluten-free flour, xanthan gum (if using), cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Or, if you’re like me, place all the dry ingredients in the bowl and whisk together well.

In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter, shortening, and sugar on medium speed for about 2 minutes.

Add the egg and mix until combined.

Add the flour mixture and beat until combined.

Mix sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.

Use a small 1 1/4 inch ice-cream scoop to form balls and roll it in the cinnamon-sugar until it is coated. If you do not have a small ice-cream scoop, simply use a tablespoon to scoop the dough and gently roll it in the cinnamon-sugar until it is coated and formed in a ball. Place the balls at least 3 inches apart on the prepared sheet to allow room for the cookies to spread. These cookies spread A LOT during baking so be sure to leave ample room.

Bake for about 10 minutes or until the cookies begin to crack.

Remove and let cool on a wire rack.

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Hot Pepper Salad

December 18, 2011 Appetizer, Menu, Salads No Comments

Like the star that led the Wise Men to the stable, it’s the hot pepper salad that leads my family to the table! Hot pepper salad, which is a staple Condo family recipe, has been served at many graduation, confirmation and communion parties, and at every major holiday dinner for as long as I could remember. However, Christmas Eve is the biggest meal that features the hot pepper salad. To this day, I still think back with a warm smile to when I was a child, helping my Grandparents mix up the salad, days before my family all gathered together to celebrate our biggest meal of the year – the Feast of the Seven Fishes. It was also for this meal that we would add one additional ingredient – anchovies (filette di alici) – which would then allow the salad to count as one of the Seven Fishes.

 

 

THE INGREDIENTS
Because we would serve the hot pepper salad at the  beginning of our holiday meals, I would classify it as an antipasto. The recipe is very simple, consisting of just six basic ingredients.
Equal parts of the following:
• cherry peppers, stems removed
• jumbo pitted black olives
• jumbo pitted green olives
• marinated artichoke hearts
• marinated eggplant
• marinated button mushrooms
Again, you can also add anchovies to the salad for extra taste and to count it as one of your Seven Fish dishes. Shrimp would also work very well!

You can adjust the amount of each ingredient to your liking. For example, if you’re not a big mushroom fan, but if you love black olives, double up on the olives! Or you could do what many in my family do…just pick out what you like, and trade up with someone else for their favorite ingredients. Whatever preference you have will work well here.

All of the above ingredients are available in most major supermarkets, jarred and marinated. You can also buy the fresh ingredients at any Italian specialty shop, if that is what you prefer.  One jar of each ingredient combined will make enough salad to serve 6-8.

THE PREPARATION
The preparation of this dish is very basic and easy. Simply drain and mix all ingredients in a bowl, maybe add a little Italian seasoning and red pepper flake for some extra flavor and heat if you prefer, stir and refrigerate for at least 24 hours to allow all of the flavors to marry together. Be sure to remove from the refrigerator at least an hour before serving. Stir well to mix up the oils (don’t worry if any of the oils solidified while chilled, it will all liquify when brought back to room temperature). You can add a quick drizzle of olive oil too, if needed.

TO CHOP OR NOT TO CHOP?
My family has served the pepper salad both chopped and whole, depending on the meal. For Christmas Eve we would keep the pieces whole, which allows it to work well as an antipasto. Rough chopping it allows it to work better as a topping, especially on sandwiches or pasta. If you have a food processor, you can give the mixture a few quick pulses. Be sure to keep the pulses quick and short, because the oils that are incorporated will cause the salad to become a pasty puree if chopped too fine.

Whichever method and ingredients you prefer,  I hope that you find this special dish to be as tasty and enjoyable as my family and I do for every holiday meal.

Buon Natale!

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Upcoming Appearances and Other Fun Stuff!

December 9, 2011 Menu No Comments

Although the year is quickly wrapping up, there are still some fun things planned here at Cucina Domenico before we dip our toes into 2012. This past year has given me the opportunity to share with you some tasty and interesting recipes, not only from myself but also from my fantastic co-bloggers, Una Mamma Italiana and Emma Caperelli Loerky. I am very excited to tell you that Una Mamma and I have one more ‘battle’ planned before the end of the year that is sure to add some spirit and cheer to your holiday menu! More details to come in the next week. You can also look forward to more fantastic recipes from Emma in the near future!

I am also very happy to announce that you can now catch me and the rest of Lorraine Ranalli’s Cucina Chatter cast every Tuesday morning at 10:00AM EST on WWDB 860AM. You can hear both Una Mamma and myself in the Upstairs Kitchen segment during the second half of the show! Be sue to tune in! You can also hear rebroadcasts of the show every Tuesday afternoon at 1:00PM EST on WBCB 1490AM, and archived weekly at The Delaware County Daily Times.

And finally, be sure to tune into The Delaware County Daily Times’ Video Podcast on Wednesday night, December 14th at 7:00EST, as I join Lorraine Ranalli, Chef Jacquie Peccina Kelly and Chef/actress Natalie Stone as we discuss The Feast of the Seven Fishes! Pull up a chair and watch as we offer some real-deal, Italian-American kitchen table warmth and humor!

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Chocolate Cherry Bread

December 4, 2011 Dessert, Menu No Comments

This weekend we spent the day with some of our oldest and best friends at their new house. It was the perfect opportunity to try out a recipe that I came across as part of their housewarming gift – chocolate cherry bread. As I’ve said many times before on this blog, I am not a baker. However, I have been wanting to dabble in bread baking for a while and this recipe was one that sounded like a unique winner. The cherry and chocolate add just the perfect amount of sweetness and tartness, without going overboard. I would say that it is a perfect breakfast or dessert bread, topped with just a bit of butter.  It’s also a very simple recipe to follow, and it easy to make…as long as you have a Kitchen Aid mixer and dough hook. And I’m glad to say that it got thumbs up from everone who tasted it. Glad you enjoyed it, Jackie and Dan…and all the best in your new house!

CHOCOLATE CHERRY BREAD
Originally printed in the cook book Ratio, by Michael Ruhlman

20 ounces bread flour (approx. 4 cups)
12 ounces water
2 tspn salt
1 tspn active yeast
3 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup dried cherries

Preheat oven to 450˚ approximately 45 minutes before you are ready to bake the bread.

Place flour in mixing bowl. Add water and salt. Add yeast over the surface of the water to let it dissolve. Using the paddle attachment, mix on medium speed to combine all ingredients. Switch over to the dough hook and blend on medium speed, until dough is smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes). About mid-way through mixing, add the chocolate and cherries.

Remove bowl from machine, cover with plastic wrap and let rise to twice its size. Push a finger into the dough. It should give some resistance, but not bounce back. If it springs back, let it rise longer.

Turn dough on a floured surface and knead to expel  excess gas and redistribute yeast. Shape into a ball, cover with a towel, let sit for 15 minutes.

Shape dough by pushing it back and forth in a circular motion on floured surface into shape of a round, smooth ball. Cover the dough with a towel and let it rise for about an hour. When ready to bake, slice an ‘X’ into the top of the loaf to help it expand. Bake at 450˚ for 10 minutes. Lower the temperate to 375˚ and bake for another 45 minutes.

Wrapping courtesy of my wife!

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