March 28, 2012

Gluten Free Orange Rosemary Ricotta Cookies

So, my car's in the midst of it's death throes. It's really not unexpected, but it's sad. My car's old enough to be getting it's own driver's license, if you know what I'm saying. In some states, it would have already had it for a year. But just the provisional license, of course. It's not old enough for a full license. And I've found that I not only know absolutely nothing about cars, but can be swayed by the cute and the pretty.

Case in point, I found this adorable yellow car for well under my max price point, with just under 60k miles (for what I can spend, that's generally the best I can find) and I fell in love. I decided that I would name it Bumblebee and pretend that it's really just a sentient alien rather than a car and play the Transformers theme song all the time and we'd go on adventures, and I'd always be happy when driving, because really how can you not be happy driving a yellow car? Turns out this car has an engine that pretty much craps out at 60k miles and is pretty cheaply made. But a part of me still wants it because it was adorable. And yellow. So now my family is helping me look because they're all secretly afraid that I will just buy the cutest car that I can find, regardless of how good it is.

I'm not really bothered. Car shopping might not be my thing, but I can out-bake any one of them.

I'd been interested in gluten free baking for a while now. And since I have a cousin who recently learned she's allergic to wheat that might be coming over for Easter, I figured now was as good a time as any to start. I don't have the making-of photos because what with the car shopping and other things, I wasn't really mood, but rest assured, the hardest part about making these cookies was finding the specialty ingredients such as the gluten-free flour, the almond meal, and the xanthan gum. But you should be able to find them in any reputable health-food store. Actually, most grocery stores around here do carry gluten-free flour, but not the xanthan gum, which is extremely frustrating since you need the xanthan gum as a binder in place of the gluten. I ended up getting mine from Wegmans.

Oh, and if you're wondering why my cookies are so shiny, it's because I added an orange glaze to them. It was hard to gauge how much sugar I needed because I couldn't really taste the batter (well, I could, but uncooked gluten-free flour is seriously nasty) and they ended up being not quite sweet enough. A simple glaze made out of orange juice and sugar fixed that up right quick.

For my first attempt at gluten free baking, these turned out pretty well. The texture was a little odd, leaning a little towards rubbery. My mother says they're "spongy." I don't know if this is because the cookies are gluten free, or if it's because I, as usual, made it up on the spot. If anyone with a little more experience can answer that, I'd be grateful.
And watching How to Train Your Dragon while waiting for my brother to give me a lift to work has made me realize that instead of a car, I need a dragon. Anyone know where I can find one? Anyone?

Gluten Free Orange Rosemary Ricotta Cookies {Printable Version}
Yield: 36 cookies

For the cookies:
1 (15 oz.) container ricotta
2 eggs
¾ cup sugar
½ tsp. gluten free or imitation vanilla extract
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
1 tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
1 ½ cups gluten free all-purpose flour mix (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
½ cup almond meal
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. xanthan gum

For the glaze:
¼ cup fresh orange juice
¼ cup sugar

Preheat the oven to 375°. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the ricotta and eggs until smooth and creamy. Mix in the sugar and vanilla extract. Add the zest and rosemary and mix well. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, almond meal, baking powder, salt, and xanthan gum. Gradually add the flour mixture to the ricotta mixture, mixing well. Drop the dough by the tablespoon onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat mat. Be careful to leave at least an inch between cookies. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the cookies begin to brown along the bottom edge and spring back when pressed. Cool completely on wire racks.

For the glaze: In a small saucepan, add the juice and sugar and heat over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a simmer and continue to cook until the mixture becomes thick and syrupy. Let cool. Use a pastry brush to brush the cooled cookies with the glaze.

Recipe by Kim

Okay, failing the dragon, anyone know where I can get one of these?