Saturday, March 8, 2014

Gluten Free Bite Size Peanut Butter & Peanut Blossom Cookies

I've been toying with the idea of going gluten free/gluten limited myself. So far, I've been gluten free for six days. My life has not completely changed so far, but I'm looking out for it. I've been craving the Bite-Size Peanut Blossom Cookies I made around Christmas time and thought this was a perfect time to try making them gluten free. I've discovered two things with this experiment: 1. These cookies taste excellent gluten free, and 2. It is not necessary to form balls of cookie dough before baking them. I used my new favorite method of portioning dough--refrigerating cookie dough in a pan and cutting squares/cubes from the resulting slab of dough. It makes life so much easier, and they taste just as good. There's no law that says cookies must be round, right? Thank you refrigerated cookie dough manufacturers for giving me the idea.
So, gluten free peanut butter cookie fans out there, give these a try. You'll love them. I promise.

Gluten Free Bite Size Peanut Butter & Peanut Blossom Cookies
    --Adapted from King Arthur Flour

Prepare a metal brownie pan (I used a 7 cm x 11 cm pan) by lining it with parchment or wax paper. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, peanut butter, and the sugars until fluffy. Add the egg, milk, and vanilla and beat until thoroughly mixed. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt and mix on low until combined. Do not overmix.
Transfer the dough to the paper-lined brownie pan and smooth it out until you have an even layer. Place plastic wrap on top and then gently pack the dough in and leave the plastic wrap on top of the dough. Place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours to chill.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit about a half hour before you plan to form the little cookies. Then line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and place about 1/3 cup granulated sugar in a bowl that you will use to coat dough pieces.
Once dough is thoroughly chilled, remove from the refrigerator. Lift the dough out by using the edges of the paper. Cut the dough into about 1 cubic centimeter pieces, so that you end up with about a half teaspoon of dough. At this point, you can either roll each cube into a ball, roll in sugar, and place on the prepared baking sheet, OR you can just toss the little dough cubes in the sugar. Shape didn't matter to me today, so I used the cubes--much faster.  Leave about 1 1/2 inches between dough balls/cubes. If you plan to make blossoms, put them in the oven at this point. If you want just peanut butter cookies, use a fork to press a criss-cross pattern on the top of each dough ball/cube. Bake cookies for about 5 minutes at 375 degrees, or until they are puffed and slightly cracked. 
Remove from oven and immediately top each peanut blossom cookie with a milk chocolate chip, pressing down to secure the chip. You need to move quickly because you have a lot of cookies and they start to cool pretty quickly. Allow cookies to cool on the pan for about five minutes.
Move cookies to a wire rack to finish cooling. Wait until the chocolate has solidified again before storing or serving.
Makes approximately 150-175 mini cookies

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