Saturday, November 12, 2016

Pumpkin Cookies

Time to take a short break from the travel journal. After all, life continues to flow on in the here and now.

Election Day in the U.S.A. has come and gone. I'm happy that our local libraries will likely receive more money and that Sweetie will likely continue to be a director of our local fire board. I say 'likely' because there are still something like 20,000 absentee ballots to count. The day after the election there were about 50,000 so I'm hoping that it is down to 20,000 by now. It's a lot of work making elections work.

Not at all happy about the presidential election, but California continued to support diversity in our choices of at least some of the people we are sending to Congress, including a local senator-elect Kamala Harris. Wednesday was a mixed bag.

One of the great things that happened is that on Wednesday my attention was turned to the challenge of making three dozen cookies that were dairy-free, gluten-free and egg-free. I was determined to also make them as delicious as any cookie that has dairy, gluten and eggs. The owner of my gym, DeDe Cool of Cool Fitness and Training, had invited Dr. Kate Tenney, N.D., Integrative Medicine, Clear Center of Health, Inc. to speak at the gym, after hours today, on ways to deal with Lyme Disease. It was a fund raiser for H.O.P.E. for Healing Institute. Dr. Kate asked that the refreshments be those 'free' cookies and the local bakeries either don't make that kind of cookie or wanted $2 per cookie (Whole Foods). I received a 'what should I do?' message from DeDe and I knew just what to do...make them myself.

As you can see, the cookies I came up with were bite worthy...and they were a big hit.

After a short time looking at my favorite cookbooks, plus a copy of one from the library by Alice Medrich (whom I met when she had a fab bakery in Berkeley eons ago), I cobbled together a recipe for Pumpkin Rocks Which Are Gluten-free, Dairy-free And Egg-free.

It's the season for pumpkin! These are yummy, soft, spicy drop cookies with raisins and walnuts and pumpkin. They smell like fall and taste so good that I almost didn't have enough for the event since Sweetie really liked them. The 'Rocks' in their name is because they are bumpy like rocks, not that you should bake them until they are hard as rocks...think soft!

I used Bob's Red Mill gluten free baking mix, but the recipe also has a flour mixture you can mix yourself, if you prefer. I used Ener*G egg substitute and water to replace the egg.

I used dairy-free margarine instead of butter. I used canned solid-pack pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix), but you could substitute fresh pumpkin that you bake, de-seed, and process in a blender or food processor to a puree. If you use fresh pumpkin, you may need to add a bit more flour mixture. When you scoop the cookies onto the parchment paper or foil, the drops should sit up in a mound, not flatten out. If they flatten out, add more flour mixture until they sit in mounds.

They, of course, can be made with regular gluten containing flour and with butter and with an egg, but they are just right without any of those. People with Lymes Disease often have to eliminate gluten, dairy and egg (and sometimes other things) from their diet in order to maintain maximum health and well-being. Since I have to do without dairy now, I know what a difference it can make. Still, with a little bit of effort, you can still have delicious things to eat. These cookies are one of them. Enjoy!

Large, thick, soft, spicy and old-fashioned cookies

Gluten, Dairy and Egg-Free Pumpkin Rocks
Based on a recipe in Maida Heatter's Book of Great Cookies and
a recipe in Alice Medrich's book Chewy, Gooey, Crispy, Crunchy

2 1/2 cups gluten-free flour mixture (Or use the Gluten Free Baking Mixture below)
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/4 teaspoon powdered cloves
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 lb (1 stick or 4 oz.) non-dairy margarine, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
egg substitute for 2 eggs (I used the powder and water mixture amounts on the box to make two eggs)
1 pound (about 1 3/4 cups) canned pumpkin...not pumpkin pie filling
1 cup (5 oz. ) raisins
2 cups (7 oz.) chopped walnuts - medium sized pieces

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Cut aluminum foil to fit your cookie sheets. (I used parchment paper because I wasn't doing the glaze.)

Sift together the flour mixture (see below for how to make flour mixture or use a one-to-one gluten free flour mixture-Bob's Red Mill and King Arthur Flour both have good ones), baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and allspice and set aside.

Cream the margarine in the large bowl of an electric mixer. Beat in both sugars. Add the egg replacer and water and beat to combine. Beat in the pumpkin.

On low speed gradually add the sifted dry ingredients, beating only until thoroughly mixed. Stir in the raisins and walnuts with a flexible spatula or wooden spoon
Use a rounded tablespoonful of the dough for each cookie, and place them 2 inches apart on the cut aluminum foil. Slide cookie sheets under the foil or parchment.

Bake the cookies for about 18 minutes, reversing position of the sheets if necessary for even browning.

Cookies are done when lightly browned and spring back if gently pressed with a fingertip.

Cool on racks if not glazing.

Optional Glaze:
2 tablespoons softened non-dairy margarine
1 1/2 cups gluten free confectioners' sugar
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon soy, almond or rice milk

Place all the glaze ingredients in the small bowl of an electric mixer and beat until completely smooth. The mixture should have the consistency of soft whipped cream. It might be necessary to add more liquid (either lemon juice or nut milk) or more sugar. Cover the glaze airtight when you are not using it to keep a hard skin from forming on top.

If glazing cookies, after you remove the baked cookies for the oven, slide the foil off the cookie sheet and immediately, while the cookies are very hot, brush the glaze generously over the tops. It should be a heavy coating, which should run unevenly down the sides.

With a wide metal spatula transfer the cookies to racks to cool The glaze will dry completely.

Gluten Free Baking Mix For These Cookies

1 cup and 3 tablespoons oat flour
1 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons potato starch
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum

1 comment :

  1. Those look amazing. We haven't really experimented with Ener-G, but my mother swears by it, when she does bake.

    This weekend we visited a lady who is in training to be a raw chef - that was something. I had a cheesecake that I would swear both contained diary and actual cooked ingredients. It was quite something. I'm always amazed what those food scientists get up to in the kitchen. Here's to the lovely, healthy people showing us better ways to eat dessert. ☺