I can honestly say that bringing Gluten Free Living to my kids’ classrooms has not been easy. It seems that there is always one party after another. It is hard enough when you cannot eat those cookies or cupcakes you always loved, but when everyone around you is eating them IN FRONT OF YOU, it is sure to make a 7 year old feel sad and left out. Not to mention the 23 times a year when classmates bring in their favorite gluten laden birthday snack.
The first thing I do in August when my children are assigned their classroom schedule and teacher is I talk to their teachers individually. I explain to them that they have non-life-threatening food allergies, to gluten, soy and chocolate. I then ask them to give me a list of situations where this will be a problem.
For my oldest, who is in sixth grade, she had one class that had ‘Literature Parties’ and kids would be able to bring goodies. I asked the teacher to please email me, or notify my daughter so that she can come prepared with her own treat so she does not feel left out. I always have a substitute for whatever might be served, such as cookies, cakes, donuts, crispy rice treats or even brownies! My youngest not only has to deal with birthday snacks, but also several parties that take place throughout the year. Again, being notified, and planning ahead for these classroom events, can make everyone feel better. Knowing that my girls ate something good for them, instead of something that was going to make them sick, makes me feel better and it allows them to actually enjoy the party.
I will be sharing a number of recipes to substitute those special treats you might find at birthday parties, school parties, sleepover parties, and other special occasions throughout my articles. I already shared one a few weeks ago that I used for both my girls’ birthday parties this year.
Here is a recipe that my daughter and I adapted from a Science Extra Credit Experiment. She was told she had to make these sugar cookies for extra credit and that we could modify the recipe to make it gluten free. You might wonder what this had to do with science, but all the measurements were originally in metric, including the oven temperature! These cookies are great for making ‘shaped cookies’ and this month we made them into Valentine heart cookies for a school party. Even gluten lovers will LOVE these cookies!
Soft Vanilla Sugar Cookies
1 ½ cups GF flour
½ t baking soda
½ t salt
1 t xanthan gum
1 ½ tsp egg substitute w/ 2 T warm water
½ c butter
1 t vanilla
¼ c brown sugar
¼ c white sugar
In a small bowl, mix the dry ingredients. Beat egg substitute in small dish with the water and set aside. Put butter into a large mixing bowl and stir to soften. Add the sugars and beat until creamy. Add the egg and vanilla.
Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients. Shape dough into a ball and place in an airtight container in the refrigerator overnight.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Get out dough ball. At this point, you can either shape it into a long roll about 2 ½ inches in diameter, and cut into ¼ inch slices. OR you can roll out the dough about ¼ inch thick and use the cookie cutters of your choice to cut cookie dough into shapes and reuse excess dough to roll out again. Bake cookies for 7 minutes.
Let cool. Makes about 30 cookies that are now ready to frost.
The key to the success of these cookies is the frosting because the cookies absorb the moisture from the cream cheese which softens them up while they are stored in an airtight container.
Cream Cheese Frosting
Please refer to this recipe when making other cakes or cupcakes you would like to frost to look festive.
2 cup powdered sugar
½ cup cream cheese
4 T butter
2 drops food coloring
Mix all together and spread generously on cooled cookies.
Entire recipe frosts about 40 cookies.