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Jen recently wrote about a cookie disaster she had in her post My Christmas Cookie Escapades. I was reading it and thinking of all my cookie failures and, naturally, thought to myself: CHALLENGE ACCEPTED. So I rushed home after work today and swept everything off the kitchen table (not literally) and got to work making this recipe gluten free, and sans xanthan gum. I’ve made one key substitution here (well, two if you count the flour): butter for shortening (so should we call them Shortening and Jam Thumbprints now?) Read on:

Ingredients:

1 3/4 cup of gluten free flour mix (I only use Silvana’s)
3/4 cup of shortening
2/3 cup of sugar (plus extra for coating)
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Your choice of preserves/jams

Steps:
Preheat the oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the shortening and sugar in a bowl and mash together with a fork. Add the egg and vanilla, scramble on the side, and then combine with the shortening mixture. Add 1 cup of flour and the baking powder, combine well, and then add the remaining flour. Roll the dough into little balls, roll in a bowl with sugar to coat, and place on the parchment paper. Gently press your thumb into the tops of each cookie ball and then spoon in a tiny little bit of jam (side note: foodnetwork.com, who have you has perfectly round thumbs? All of my prints into the cookies are slanted so the jam oozes out a little, making for not a perfect picture.) Anywho, I tested a batch of only 4 cookies, just to see if there was anything else I needed to do to the batter. So now while we wait, I’ll explain: why shortening? Because butter actually contains a lot of water, which quickly melts and is released when baking, and even more so when you don’t have that expensive thickening agent known as xanthan gum. How can we get around this if we don’t want to use it? Shortening, that wonderful lard has a much higher melting point so it can hold our cookies together long enough to give them shape but with a texture that will crumbly melt in your mouth. 🙂 Also, my cat just walked into the kitchen completely covered in Christmas tree needles…wonder where he’s been…

Has it been 15 minutes yet? Let’s check! Eeeeee I think it’s working! I feel like a mad scientist. Let’s bake the rest! (also, you can totally eat this batter, it’s yummy yummy.)

So, what do you think? I say: SUCCESS! Muahahahahaha!

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