The Very Best Gluten Free Christmas Cookies, 2014 edition
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We’ve done it before, and we’re doing it again (2012’s gluten free Christmas cookies are here and here; 2013’s gluten free Christmas cookies are here). The Very Best Gluten Free … more »

We’ve done it before, and we’re doing it again (2012’s gluten free Christmas cookies are here and here; 2013’s gluten free Christmas cookies are here). The Very Best Gluten Free Christmas Cookie collage is our chance to review the year’s cookies on the blog, and admire our handiwork. The collage doesn’t have every cookie recipe we’ve made on the blog in the last year. Instead, it has the gluten free cookies for the last year that are simply perfect for your Christmas Cookie Plate. The ones that will impress your friends and family with both taste and presentation. The ones that will have them begging for the recipe, and you’ll have to say “Sorry! They’re gluten free recipes and I don’t know if they’ll work with ‘regular’ flour!” And then you get to feel just a little bit smug since the tables are usually turned. But you’ll say it with love!

There might be another 2 cookie/bar recipes coming in the nick of time next week, leading right up to Christmas, but for now, here’s what we’ve got!:

[Do you know the drill with the clickable collage? It’s easy! Just hover over each photo for the recipe title, then click the picture to open a new window with that post and the entire recipe. Or scroll down to the 10¢ tour of the recipes for a whole other set of links, particularly if you’re on your mobile device]
The Very Best Gluten Free Christmas Cookies 2014

Here’s the 10¢ tour of these 21 gluten free Christmas cookie recipes, and what I love about each and every one of them. There are tons, so we’re gonna zip through ‘em:

Gluten Free Red Velvet Chocolate Chip Cookies: These are the red velvet version of my soft batch chocolate chip cookies. They taste like they’re just out of the oven, but they don’t make a gooey mess like, well, they just came of the oven. They’re soft and lightly chocolatey, just like red velvet is meant to be. The white chocolate chips are a nice touch, too.

Gluten Free Soft Peanut Butter Cookies: Baking with peanut butter typically makes cookies crunchy, like traditional crosshatch PB cookies. These soft cookies are different, and delightfully so—just be sure to use a no-stir peanut butter, the kind that doesn’t separate in the jar!

Gluten Free Starbucks-Style Outrageous Oatmeal Cookies: I’ve done plenty of Starbucks copycat recipes in the last year or so (I’ve really been eyeing their chocolate chip cookies and must.clone.them.), but these oatmeal cookies, packed with dried fruits, these buttery, chewy cookies are the oatmeal cookies to beat. And we all know how I love a copycat recipe.

Gluten Free Chocolate Turtle Thumbprint Cookies: Yes! There was another chocolate thumbprint cookie on the blog. Sadly, a few of the oldest recipes on the blog have just up and disappeared. And I have absolutely no idea why! Forgive me? These chocolate turtle thumbprint cookies are really the only chocolate thumbprint cookie you need, though. Soft and pillowy chocolate cookies that keep their shape—and their thumbprint. Fill them however you like!

Gluten Free Cinnamon Roll Sugar Cookies: So fancy! So easy, though. Really.

Gluten Free Lemon Poppyseed Cookies: Crispy around the edges, chewy in the center, these perfect lemon poppyseed cookies are all that you hope they’ll be. But wait, what’s that? There’s also a lighter version of them? I also lightened up the recipe, cutting the fat in half and the sugar nearly in half. Well I’ll be …

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies: These were a surprise hit on the blog. I mean, they’re deliciously chewy PB/oatmeal cookies, and of course they’re as simple as drop cookie can be, but you really loved them. Me too. :)

Gluten Free Neiman Marcus-Style Chocolate Chip Cookies: What a silly little myth that whole $250-for-a-recipe-story was, right? But never mind—they’re really kind of some of the best CCCs around. Don’t skip the grated chocolate, okay? It pretty much makes the cookie. And I like mine with peanuts, not almonds. Just try it!

Gluten Free Half Brownie Half Cookie Cookies: Looking back, I should probably just have called these half-brownie-half-cookie cookies “brookies.” If you know them at all, that’s how you know them. *New Year’s Resolution for Nicole: stop standing on ceremony.*

Gluten Free Oatmeal Lace Cookies: Light, crispy oatmeal lace cookies are not really the sort of cookies you want to pack up and send through the mail. They’ll break. But they’re the perfect cookie to enjoy with a cup of tea, if you’re not traveling too far. :)

Gluten Free Cowboy Cookies: Did Tipper Gore really think that she was going to win with gingersnap cookies? Do you think she knew that Laura Bush was making these chewy, decadent cowboy cookies? Please tell me she didn’t know.

Gluten Free Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies: These are true PB&J cookies. There is both PB and J in the cookies themselves—plus a dab of jelly on top. Plain vanilla cookies with a dollop of PB and a drop of J on top? Not the real deal.

Gluten Free Apple Pie Cookies: All the taste of apple pie, but in a sweet, chewy cookie. C’mon.

Gluten Free Hot Cocoa Cookies: Chewy cocoa cookies with … a marshmallow sandwiched in between. What if you had them with a cup of cocoa? Mind—blown.

Gluten Free Browned Butter Nutella-Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies: These are the cookies that my oldest child talks about all the time. It’s just enough Nutella in the center that you taste it, but it doesn’t overpower the chewy on the inside, crispy on the outside cookies. The browned butter takes them right over the top.

Gluten Free Rainbow Cookies: These were already on a Gluten Free Christmas Cookie 2012 list, but then I went and did a reshoot and, well, they really brighten up a cookie plate. And a cookie collage, for that matter. Don’t you think?

Soft Gluten Free Gingerbread Men Cookies: If you’re building a gingerbread house, well then you want the traditional crispy gingerbread men dough. But otherwise? I really think these soft and chewy men take the cake. Get it? Cookies take the cake. *hardy har har*

Gluten Free Shortbread Cookies, 5 Ways: One basic (really basic) cookie base, 5 different cookies. Just be sure to use one of my recommended gluten free flour blends (not all so-called all purpose gluten free flour blends are created alike!), and measure by weight. Such a simple recipe really requires baking precision.

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Banana Cookies: We had PB and J, now we have PB and banana. Soft, pillowy PB and banana cookies. A delight!

Gluten Free Candy Cane Sugar Cookies: Much the same as the dough from the cinnamon roll sugar cookies above, these candy cane sugar cookies are just super festive and fun. They’re easy too! The dough holds up amazingly well, and has great texture both raw and baked. No cracked cookies here!

Gluten Free Chocolate Cheesecake Cookies: These are your last minute, super-easy-but-still-impressive rich chocolate cheesecake cookies. All the taste of chocolate cheesecake, no springform pan and no water bath. What’s not to like?

Love,
Me

 

P.S. Are you thinking of giving the gift of Gluten Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread for the holidays? There’s still time! Hurry hurry!

Recipe Available at: http://glutenfreeonashoestring.com/best-gluten-free-christmas-cookies-2014-edition/
Gluten Free Chocolate Cheesecake Cookies
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I’ll best honest—I don’t really like store-bought cake mixes. But I know that they’re still super popular, and I don’t deny that they can seem like a great convenience (I’m … more »

Gluten Free Chocolate Cheesecake Cookies—made from a cake mix!

I’ll best honest—I don’t really like store-bought cake mixes. But I know that they’re still super popular, and I don’t deny that they can seem like a great convenience (I’m convinced their popularity is because the ingredients are measured out with precision, something you can do with that digital kitchen scale I’m dying for you to use!). That’s why I have a whole chapter devoted to make-your-own gluten free cake mixes in my second book, Gluten Free on a Shoestring Quick & Easy. They do make things easier! This recipe for gluten free chocolate cheesecake cookies can be made with a store-bought gluten free chocolate cake mix, if that’s your preference (no judgment!). Or they can be made with my Make-Your-Own Gluten Free Chocolate Cake Mix on page 191 of Quick & Easy (reprinted here on the blog, without even telling my publisher, since I want to make sure you can make these super easy cookies toDAY). Oh, and by the way these cookies really do have allllll the taste of chocolate cheesecake, but with the convenience of a neat little cookie. It’s a Christmas Cookie miracle!

Gluten Free Chocolate Cheesecake Cookies—made from a cake mix!

They really are as easy as they look—even if you make your own chocolate cake mix. The hardest thing you’re going to do is, well, not eat the cookie dough before it goes into the oven.

Gluten Free Chocolate Cheesecake Cookies—made from a cake mix!

These puffy little numbers are deeply rich and chocolatey, but without being at all heavy. Can you taste them yet?

Gluten Free Chocolate Cheesecake Cookies—made from a cake mix!

They’re a perfect last-minute addition to your Christmas cookie plate, if you’re reading this in December. They’re also the perfect cookie to throw together in 15 minutes flat (really!) when you get a call from friends and family that they’re planning to stop by just because they’re in the area and isn’t that fun!

Oh, and if you’re “not really a chocolate person” (who are you?), try the Cheesecake Cookies from Quick & Easy (reprinted here on the blog). Hey, I bet both recipes together would make an amazing half-and-half cookie, like these half-CCC-half-brownie cookies. Mmmmm…..

Prep time: 7 minutes       Cook time: 8 minutes       Yield: 18 cookies
Ingredients

2 tablespoons (28 g) unsalted butter, chopped

2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1 (16-ounce) box gluten-free chocolate cake mix, or 1 recipe Gluten Free Make-Your-Own Chocolate Cake Mix (page 191 of Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Quick & Easy)

8 ounces mascarpone cheese or cream cheese, at room temperature

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 eggs (120 g, weighed out of shell) at room temperature, beaten

Directions
  • Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper and set it aside. In a small, heat-safe bowl, place the chopped butter and chopped chocolate. Place over a small saucepan of simmering water, making sure the water doesn’t touch the bowl. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the butter and chocolate are melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool until no longer hot to the touch. Alternatively, melt the butter and chocolate in the microwave in 30-second bursts at 60% power.

  • In a large bowl, place the cake mix, and whisk to break up any lumps. Add the mascarpone or cream cheese, melted butter and chocolate, vanilla, and eggs, mixing well after each addition. The dough will be thick.

  • Drop the dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheet, 1 inch apart. With wet hands, roll each piece of dough into a ball, and then flatten into a disk about 1/2-inch thick. Bake the cookies in the center of the preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until puffed and beginning to take on a crackled appearance on top. Allow to cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

  • Adapted from the Cheesecake Cookies on page 153 of Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Quick and Easy: 100 Recipes For the Food You Love—Fast!

Love,
Me

 

P.S. Don’t forget the Gluten Free on a Shoestring Cookbooks! They make great holiday gifts, and when you buy one it’s a gift of support to me!

Recipe Available at: http://glutenfreeonashoestring.com/gluten-free-chocolate-cheesecake-cookies/
Gluten Free Rum Cake
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This simple gluten free rum cake is a ridiculously moist, not-too-sweet bundt cake with a butter rum glaze that will make any occasion festive—and not just because it has booze. … more »

Gluten Free Rum Cake—from Gluten Free on a Shoestring

This simple gluten free rum cake is a ridiculously moist, not-too-sweet bundt cake with a butter rum glaze that will make any occasion festive—and not just because it has booze. In fact, the rum baked into the cake is minimal and bakes off (at least mostly), and the way I make the buttered rum glaze, most of the alcohol has a chance to boil off there, too. Since I know you love to tinker, I have provided as many substitution suggestions as I can (and you’ll see soon enough that I have a whole, detailed section on ingredients and substitutions in Gluten Free Classic Snacks, as I love you and I want you to be happy).  It is a rum cake, though, so if you try to eliminate rum altogether, well, then it’s not a rum cake. You get the idea!

Sugared Pecans for Gluten Free Rum Cake

Ah, nuts in baked goods. How do you feel about them? My opinion has changed over the years. I used to consider nuts (especially in brownies!) to be sacrilege. These days, I realize that it has to be the right nuts for the occasion, and they have to be treated appropriately. In this rum cake, I found that I rather like pecans scattered on (what becomes) the top of the cake—particularly when they’re tossed with vanilla and a bit of sugar. If you’re anti-nuts-in-baked-goods, just leave ‘em out!

Gluten Free Rum Cake—How to Step-by-Step

Well if this just isn’t the prettiest little bundt cake process, I don’t know what is. Can you see how the cake just soaks up that glaze like nobody’s business? Mmmmmm…..

Gluten Free Rum Cake—from Gluten Free on a Shoestring

Not only does the glaze flavor the cake so beautifully, but it also keeps it fresh for days on end. This cake can easily be made days ahead of time (my last cake is at 4 days covered on the counter at room temperature, and still going strong) and you can still proudly serve it to guests. It’s just that good. But don’t refrigerate it, whatever you do, as the refrigerator dries out baked goods in a flash. Either keep it on the counter, covered, or wrap it tightly in freezer-safe wrap and freeze for longer storage. But it’s so good when it’s warm out of the oven and has just been glazed. So, promise me you’ll try it at least once that way?

Prep time: 15 minutes       Cook time: 45 minutes       Yield: 1 bundt cake
Ingredients

For the Cake
1 cup (120 g) chopped raw pecans (or walnuts)

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 1/4 cup (225 g) granulated sugar

1 3/4 cup (245 g) all purpose gluten free flour (I used Better Batter once, and my Better Than Cup4Cup Blend once—both worked great)

3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)

3/4 cup (72 g) nonfat dry milk, ground into a finer powder (for dairy free, you can try an equal amount, by weight, of blanched almond flour)

3 tablespoons (27 g) cornstarch (or try arrowroot)

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup (112 g) canola oil (or try another neutral oil, like peanut)

3 tablespoons (3 fluid ounces) gluten free rum*

4 eggs (240 g, weighed out of shell) at room temperature, beaten

1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces) milk, at room temperature (any kind will do)

For the Glaze
6 tablespoons (112 g) unsalted butter, chopped (for dairy free, try Earth Balance buttery sticks)

3 tablespoons (1 1/2 fluid ounces) water

3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

6 tablespoons (3 fluid ounces) gluten free rum*

Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

*Pure rum, without flavorings or additives, is gluten free. You can use anything from dark rum to light rum, depending upon your taste preference. If you would like to try to make this cake completely alcohol-free, try using water in place of the rum in equal measure, but add a fair amount of rum extract. As always, feel free to experiment!

Directions
  • First, make the cake. Preheat your oven to 325°F (or 300°F if you are using a dark-colored bundt pan). Grease well a standard bundt pan. In a small bowl, place the chopped raw pecans, vanilla extract and 1/8 cup (25 g) granulated sugar, and toss to combine. Scatter the sugared nuts evenly on the bottom of the prepared bundt pan, and set the pan aside.

  • In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, nonfat dry milk, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, salt and remaining 1 1/8 cups (225 g) granulated sugar, and whisk to combine well. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and add the canola oil, rum, eggs and milk, beating to combine after each addition. The batter should be thickly pourable. Pour the batter evenly on top of the chopped nuts in the bundt pan and shake into an even layer. Place the bundt pan in the center of the preheated oven and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out mostly clean, or with a few moist crumbs attached (about 45 minutes—or 40 minutes for a dark bundt pan). Be careful not to over bake the cake, as the bottom will burn easily. Remove the cake from the oven and allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes.

  • While the cake is cooling, make the glaze. In a small, heavy-bottom saucepan, place all of the glaze ingredients except for the rum. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, over medium heat. The mixture will begin to bubble. Remove the pan from the heat, add the rum, and mix to combine. The rum will cause the mixture to bubble up quickly. Just stir until the bubbling subsides, which will happen quickly. Return the saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the glaze is reduced by nearly 1/4 (about 5 minutes). The glaze should bubble gently while it is reducing. If it bubbles too fiercely, reduce the heat.

  • Glaze the cake. Pour the hot glaze evenly over the warm cake, still in the pan, and allow to sit until the cake has absorbed the glaze (about 10 minutes more). If the glaze is slow to absorb into the cake, pierce the top of the cake in a few spots with a butter knife. Carefully pull the cake away from all of the edges of the bundt pan with a butter knife before inverting it onto a serving platter to unmold it. Dust lightly with confectioners’ sugar and serve warm.

  • Adapted from allrecipes.com, as selected by you from my Must Make Gluten Free Pinterest Board.

Love,
Me

 

P.S. Don’t forget the Gluten Free on a Shoestring Cookbooks! Your support means so much to me. And the books make great holiday gifts, too. :)

Recipe Available at: http://glutenfreeonashoestring.com/gluten-free-rum-cake/
Gluten Free Candy Cane Sugar Cookies
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I did it! Last night, we put together 18 sweet boxes of gifty Christmas cookies: all of them gluten free, all but 1 for recipients who can (and do!) eat all the … more »

Gluten Free Candy Cane Sugar Cookies

I did it! Last night, we put together 18 sweet boxes of gifty Christmas cookies: all of them gluten free, all but 1 for recipients who can (and do!) eat all the gluten they like. Ask me if they’ll know (or even care) that any of the cookies are gluten free. Go on! Ask!* The whole purpose of baking cookies for the holidays (to give as gifts, or to share at your holiday parties alike) is to show them that they’re worth some trouble. You cared enough to take time out of your day (or days!) to bake cookies that you weren’t going to eat yourself. You had to make sure you had all the ingredients on hand, at the proper temperature, and sometimes you even used some food coloring (like in these gluten free candy cane sugar cookies) so your hands got all messy. You can guess how many times I had to explain this to my children over the last couple weeks, as I baked batch after batch of cookies that were never gonna pass their lips. Oh how they suffered!

*They won’t care—they might know, since these are the people my husband works with (most of whom work under him), and, well, they know what I do for a living, so, you know. Plus, they eat various gluten free baked goods all year long since, as you can imagine, I have lots and lots and lots to give all.year.long.

Gluten Free Candy Cane Sugar Cookies—Step by Step

If you google “candy cane sugar cookies,” you’ll find a whole bunch of recipes and methods. Some may even be gluten free, too. But I present to you that this is the gluten free candy cane sugar cookies recipe to beat: the dough is simple to work with, and it won’t crack or split during shaping—or during baking. The method is easy enough, but a visual never hurt anyone. Keep in mind that you don’t want to go overboard on your twisting. A few (3?) turns on opposite ends of the bi-colored dough is all it takes. Then bend one end over, and you’re all set (remember that you’re shaping candy canes, not question marks, so the other end should be straight up and down!).

Gluten Free Candy Cane Sugar Cookies

And, as always, if you just.won’t.abide.food.coloring, don’t use it! Make candy cane shapes colored au naturel. And if your cookie recipients are deserving of their bounty, they won’t mind one bit. Happy happy merry merry!!

Prep time: 15 minutes       Cook time: 9 minutes       Yield: About 40 cookies
Ingredients

3 cups (420 g) all purpose gluten free flour (I used Better Batter)

1 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)

1 1/8 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar

1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon (36 g) confectioners’ sugar

13 tablespoons (182 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

3 eggs (180 g, weighed out of shell) at room temperature, beaten

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon pure peppermint extract (or more vanilla extract)

Red gel food coloring (AmeriColor brand is gluten free)

Directions
  • Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line rimmed baking sheets with unbleached parchment paper and set them aside.

  • Make the cookie dough. In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, salt, granulated sugar and confectioners’ sugar, and whisk to combine well. Add the butter, eggs, vanilla, and optional peppermint, and mix to combine. The dough will be thick and smooth. Divide the dough into two equal pieces. Wrap one piece in plastic wrap and set it aside. Place the other half of the dough on a piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap, and add about 1/8-teaspoon of the red gel food coloring. Knead in the food coloring until the color is uniform throughout the dough. Divide each half of cookie dough into teaspoon-sized pieces of dough, about 10 grams each. Roll each piece of dough tightly into a ball, and cover the balls of dough with plastic wrap to prevent them from drying out as you shape the cookies.

  • Shape the cookies. Working with two pieces of each color of cookie at a time, roll each ball of cookie dough into a rope about 4-inches long. Pair together one plain rope and one red rope along the length of each, and press together carefully but firmly so they adhere lightly to one another. Holding the now-doubled rope at each end, twist the rope in opposite directions to twirl the ropes. About 3 turns should do it—don’t go overboard or the dough may crack or tear. Bend one end of the twisted rope into a hook so it resembles a candy cane. Repeat with the other pieces of dough, and place about 1-inch apart from one another on the prepared baking sheets. Repeat with the remaining dough of each color.

  • Bake the cookies. Place the baking sheets in the center of the preheated oven, one at a time, and bake until the cookies are puffed and just beginning to brown around the edges (about 9 minutes). Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on the baking sheet.

  • Cookies adapted by adding a tablespoon of butter and another egg to my Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies recipe.

Love,
Me

 

P.S. If you don’t have one yet, don’t forget to pick up your copy of Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread! And (if I may be so bold) preorder Gluten Free Classic Snacks, for copycat recipes of allllllll the packaged snacks you’ve been missing. Your support of the books keeps the blog going!

Recipe Available at: http://glutenfreeonashoestring.com/gluten-free-candy-cane-sugar-cookies/
My Favorite Kitchen Cooking and Baking Equipment, Large & Small
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Come Look Inside My Kitchen! I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love getting a peek inside other people’s kitchens. What cookware and bakeware do you have? Do you … more »

Come Look Inside My Kitchen!

I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love getting a peek inside other people’s kitchens. What cookware and bakeware do you have? Do you love it? Where did you get it? Did you have something else before that made you cry until you finally found the “best” pan? You get the idea. Since we’ve already done a peek inside my gluten free baking pantry, it’s about time we did a peek inside my kitchen cabinets. No one is paying me to recommend these brands (although most of the amazon links are affiliate links—except not all of them since I got lazy toward the end; any link to any other site like Kohl’s, Sur la Table, Bed Bath & Beyond or Williams-Sonoma is completely without any affiliation), and this is not a “sponsored post.” If you can find these items for a better price elsewhere, by all means buy them elsewhere! I have bought a lot of these items on amazon.com, but many I have also bought at a local kitchen supply store that regularly has 20% off coupons (and it goes without saying that I would never shop at Bed Bath & Beyond without a 20% coupon!). These are just the items that make my kitchen work, and I thought you might like to have a look. And if you’re shopping for the holidays for someone who likes to cook and bake, you might find some gift ideas here.

One note before we begin: These photo collages are (unfortunately) not to scale. Sometimes, you’ll see an item that is clearly way bigger than another one in real life, and it looks tiny in the photo.  Like the 12-inch pre-seasoned covered cast iron skillet in Cook & Bake that looks smaller than the 8-inch round cake pan, or the 8-quart stock pot that looks smaller than the 1-quart saucepan. Let’s call it poetic license, okay?

Happy shopping!

Essential Cooking and Baking Equipment: Chop & Prep

Chop and Prep:

Epicurean 15-inch x 11-inch cutting board (8-inches x 6-inches, too): These are the cutting boards that you see me using in my bread-shaping videos. I get so many questions about them. They are dishwasher safe, and don’t dull knives very much. I use them for chopping vegetables, shaping bread, rolling out cookie dough, you name it. Highly recommend!

OXO Two-Fold Grater: I used a cheapo grater from Ikea for a very, very long time because I just couldn’t decide what type of grater would work best for my needs. I don’t like box graters since I find them to be too confining, and too difficult to clean—especially when they are closed on the bottom, which seems helpful but never actually ends up helping at all. Everything just gets stuck in there, and the enclosure fills up way too quickly. This two-fold grater is perfect. It’s stable, has the only 2 size graters I ever need (other than a microplane (see below)), and is easy to clean. Love it.

OXO Good Grips Food Mill: A food mill is so incredibly unnecessary, but this is not a list of everything you must have. It’s just a list of what I do have, use and really like. A food mill is great for making things like mashed potatoes, since you want them very smooth but if you put them in a food processor (see below), they’ll turn to liquid from the heat of the machine. It’s also great for making slightly chunky soups, like tomato soup.

Food Network Hand-Held Mandoline Slicer (from Kohl’s): I have bought more than one mandoline in my time, and I have sadly given them all away after I nearly killed myself. (Should I have thrown the offending mandoline away, instead? *perhaps*) The most promising one, before I landed on this one, was a Japanese model that people on amazon seem to love. I think they’re all nuts. Again, nearly killed myself. This Food Network brand mandoline is simple, safe and easy to use (and to clean). And I haven’t killed myself yet. Plus, it’s cheap. Sold.

Set of 3 Cuisinart Mesh Strainers: Self-explanatory, right? Cheap, incredibly useful, dishwasher safe.

Stainless Steel Colander: For a long, long time (years, even), I didn’t use a colander at all for making pasta (I had a tiny one I used for other tasks, like rinsing tomatoes). I always felt like they never really got clean, and so I just used the lid of the pasta pot to drain off the water. What a pain! I finally took a chance on a metal colander, and now of course don’t know why I waited to so long to “solve” this problem.

Stainless steel bench scraper: For portioning and for scraping cookie dough and bread dough. Nice clean edges. Good buy.

Ateco large plastic bowl scraper: Speaking of those bread videos, this is the large plastic scraper I use. This gets a regular work-out in my kitchen.

If You Care unbleached parchment paper: Unbleached parchment paper is flexible, unlike bleached (white) parchment paper. It is perfect for rolling out dough, lining baking sheets, and all-around kitchen use. And I use each sheet multiple times before tossing it, unless I make something particularly messy.

Ateco 11-piece plain round cookie cutter set: Love cookie cutter sets. Concentric circles in every imaginable necessary size, in a neat case. I use them all.the.time. I even use them as biscuit cutters because why not.

Ateco 24-piece small geometric cutter set: These are great for smaller shapes when you want something neat. Not essential, but very useful.

Ateco 9-piece plain oval cutter set: Same as the round set, but oval. You get the idea. Indestructible.

7-inch Santoku Knife (Victorinox): This isn’t the exact knife I have (I have a Wusthof), but mine is considerably more expensive and I’ve held this Victorinox brand santoku knife in my hand; I really like it. I’ve had my knife for nearly 15 years and I think it’s time for a new one since every time you sharpen a knife, you lose some of the knife. This is the one I’ll purchase. I really like a santoku knife for general knife needs, rather than a traditional “chef’s knife,” as I find it easier to handle.

4-inch Paring Knife (Victorinox): The perfect paring knife: perfectly weighted, perfectly sized.

Schmidt Brothers 9-inch Bread Knife: This bread knife is not a typical large serrated bread knife, but I actually like it better than my traditional serrated bread knife. I think it cuts cleaner. It’s not cheap, though.

4 1/2-inch Tomato Knife: For slicing tomatoes, and well, any time you need a small serrated knife.

French rolling pin: Don’t ever buy a rolling pin that has separate handles. You have no control over what you’re doing. Trust me. Get a French rolling pin and you’ll never go back.

Microplane Zester: This isn’t pictured, but it’s very useful for zesting citrus and for finely grating Parmesan cheese. I use it all the time. It can be a bit of a pain to clean, but I still use it regularly.

Essential Cooking and Baking Equipment: Mix & Measure

Mix and Measure:

9-inch Balloon Whisk: This is the basic whisk that works for most of my needs, like when I’m whisking together dry ingredients for a recipe. But that link will also show you an 11-inch whisk, which I do use from time to time (for larger jobs, like mixing up a big batch of flour or something).

OXO Flat Whisk: This is the whisk that you didn’t even know you needed—until you got one. A flat whisk is what you’ll use to get into the corners of a saucepan, like when you’re making a roux for mac and cheese.

KitchenAid 9-Cup Food Processor: I had the same food processor for a million years, and it finally gave out. It was a Cuisinart, and honestly I was never thrilled with it but the darn thing wouldn’t die. When it finally did, I read up on processors and settled on a KitchenAid, as people loved this one. Now I love it, too (well, as much as I can love something that is inherently difficult to clean). It is efficient, the perfect capacity, and relatively easy to clean.

KitchenAid 5-Quart Stand Mixer: I actually have a larger (7-quart) stand mixer, but that’s only because of the volume of baking that I do. I had a 5-quart mixer for many, many years, and only upgraded recently for the photo shoot for Gluten Free Classic Snacks. If you’re in the market for a stand mixer for general everyday needs, I’d buy the 5-quart. After that, they get considerably more expensive and you honestly probably just don’t need more than that.

KitchenAid 5-Speed Hand Mixer (comes with dough hooks): If you don’t have a stand mixer, get a hand mixer—like this one that has dough hooks. You’ll be able to use it to make the bread from GFOAS Bakes Bread. This hand mixer is powerful enough to do what it’s designed to do, and not burn out. And it is great for things like whipping cream (I use it instead of the stand mixer for that task more often than not).

Food Network Silicone Spoonula (from Kohl’s): I love these spatulas! And honestly I have tried many others (including that new one called Gir or something that people love) and nothing else comes close. They have just the right amount of “scoop,” and they are really sturdy and durable.

OXO 5-pound Digital Food Scale: I had a very, very basic Escali scale for many years, and I finally broke it. I “upgraded” to an OXO scale that has a pull-out display like this one (I actually have the next model up since the platform comes off so you can clean it separately). But really any digital scale that is sensitive to 1 gram (which honestly they all are) will do. It shouldn’t cost you much more than this one (less than $30).

Anchor Hocking 3-piece glass mixing bowl set (1-quart, 1 1/2 quart, 2 1/2-quart): I love Anchor Hocking glass mixing bowls. This is a nice sampler set.

Anchor Hocking 4-quart mixing bowl: These are the basic mixing bowls that I use for most tasks. I have 4, but you probably would be all set with 2.

Anchor Hocking 6-ounce custard cups: I use these for so many things. They’re nice little bowls.

Rubbermaid Liquid Measuring Cups:I find that the 3 cup measure is most useful. They tend to be accurate (which can be a big problem with liquid measuring cups—see Bread FAQ #21).

iSi Flexible 2-cup Measuring Cup: I use this 2-cup measuring cup quite often. Since it’s flexible, you can create a pour spout by squeezing it gently as you pour.

Essential Cooking and Baking Equipment: Cook & Bake

Cook and Bake

Nordic Ware half sheet pan (or quarter sheet): I have a million of these half sheet pans (and 3 of the quarter sheet pans). A half sheet pan is 18-inches x 13-inches, and a quarter sheet pan is 9-inches x 13-inches. They are the pans I use for everything. I own zero cookie sheets.

Lodge Cast Iron 12-inch Skillet with Glass Lid: Everyone needs a cast iron skillet. You can cook pretty much anything in it, they hold heat very well, and without it you’ll never make the best cornbread. A pre-seasoned cast iron skillet is also super cheap, and having one with a lid is a bonus.

Williams Sonoma 8-inch Square Traditional Finish Cake Pan: These are the best square baking pans. They bake evenly, everything comes out of them easily and they are durable. I’m pretty sure they’re made by USA Pans for Williams-Sonoma, but they aren’t sold elsewhere.

Williams Sonoma 8-inch Round Traditional Finish Cake Pan: Everything I said about the square pans goes for the round ones. ‘Nuf said.

Williams Sonoma 1-pound Nonstick Goldtouch Loaf Pan: These are the loaf pans that I recommend in GFOAS Bakes Bread, and I stand by my recommendation. Every loaf of bread slides right out, and they bake so evenly.

Standard 12-cup Muffin Tin (USA Pans): I have tried what feels like every single brand of muffin tin out there. These are the only ones that are the proper shape (you want a slightly angled cup, not straight sides), proper depth (not too deep, not too shallow), and everything pops right out.

Miniature 24-cup Muffin Tin (USA Pans): Everything I said about the standard 12-cup muffin tin goes for the mini tin as well. Every other mini muffin tin I have tried is just not quite right in one way or another.

Sur la Table Oven-to-Table Stoneware Bakers (set of 2: 2 quart & 3 1/2 quart): These house-brand stoneware bakers are so useful. I use the 3 1/2 quart at least twice a week, if not more. Its dimensions are about 9-inches x 13-inches. They bake evenly and clean easily.

Kaiser 8-inch round nonstick springform pan: I truly loathe baking in a springform pan, but sometimes there’s just no way around it. They tend to be really difficult to clean, and they leak. This pan, made by Kaiser, is different. It’s not cheap, but it is the only springform pan I own and I don’t ever plan to buy another one.

Food Network 12-inch Covered Frying Pan/Skillet (not nonstick) (deep skillet, oven safe) (from Kohl’s): This isn’t pictured above (oops), but it’s a great stainless steel 12-inch covered skillet. It’s perfect for shallow frying, or making skillet lasagna. It’s really nice and deep, and works on the stovetop and in the oven. Great heat conduction, great quality, good price (and if you ever shop at Kohl’s without a coupon let me know and I’ll hit you upside the head). Don’t buy a nonstick skillet, okay? They get all gunky and you can’t cook with them over high heat.

Calphalon 8-Quart Stock Pot with glass lid: This is my pasta pot. Love it.

Cuisinart 3-Quart Stainless Steel Pour Saucepan with glass lid: I have another 3-quart saucepan by Cuisinart that I don’t think they sell any longer, but this one looks better than mine, even. I like that strainer in the lid. It’s solid, well-made and well-priced.

Cuisinart 1-quart covered saucepan: I use my tiny little 1-quart saucepan every single day, and I’m sorry to say that I have a Food Network one (from Kohl’s) that has a pour spout that this one is lacking—but I don’t think they sell my saucepan anymore. On the bright side, this saucepan has a lid, and mine doesn’t. Win some, lose some.

USA Pans 9-inch pie plate: Again, USA Pans takes the cake (or the pie) with this perfect pie plate. Metal, durable nonstick, and they bake very evenly. Look at this gorgeous apple pie and tell me you don’t need the pie pan that made that.

OXO Large Spring-loaded Ice Cream Scoop: Not pictured (sorry!), the large scoop is 3 tablespoon size. Perfect for portioning large cookies, drop biscuits and filling muffin tins.

OXO Small Spring-loaded Ice Cream Scoop: Again, not pictured, the small scoop is a 2 teaspoon size. Perfect for smaller cookies and filling mini muffin tins.

Cuisinart Miniature Deep Fryer (again not pictured—sorry!): Its capacity is about 1 liter of oil, and you can deep fry without  making a mess and it won’t stink up your kitchen. Yes, please.

Essential Cooking and Baking Equipment: Finish & Store

Finish and Store

32-Ounce Wide Mouth Ball Jars (pack of 12): These are the jars that I store my homemade tomato sauce in. I use them all the time. All.the.time. I love mason jars.

#742 1/2 L Mold Jar from Weckjars.com (19.6 fluid ounces volume): These are the very sought-after jars that I use for my D.I.Y. Friday “Instant” Noodle Cups. They’re the perfect size for so many things.

Large “Keep Fresh” Covers from WeckJars.com for 742 Jars: Keep those large jars covered with these plastic covers. The glass lids for Weck jars are a pain if you’re not actually using them for canning.

#762 1/5 Tulip Jelly Jar from WeckJars.com (7.4 fluid ounces volume): These are the small tulip jars that I use for pretty servings of pudding and stuff. I love them.

Small “Keep Fresh” Covers from Weckjars.com for 762 tulip jars: Cover the tiny tulip jars with these lids.

#900 1/5 L Mold Jar from WeckJars.com (9.8 fluid ounces volume): These are slightly bigger than the tulip jars, and I use them often for baking single serving desserts, and just for storing odds and ends in the refrigerator.

Medium “Keep Fresh” Covers from WeckJars.com for 900 mold jars: Cover those small mold jars with these lids.

Asian spider strainer: I consider this a “finishing” gadget since it’s what I use for frying crullers and such.

Cambro 6-quart round food storage containers: I buy gluten free flour in bulk and store it in large containers. These 6-quart Cambro containers work great.

Cambro 2-quart round food storage containers: These are the containers that I use for proofing bread dough. They are just big enough for a single recipe of dough to double, and they fit on the short shelves in my refrigerator.

Ateco 12-piece pastry tip set: If I were to buy just one set of pastry tips, this is the one I’d buy. I have tons and tons of tips, as you might imagine, but this is the one I reach for most. You might also want to buy a #2 tip, which is a very small open round tip for drizzling things like caramel on these shortbread cookies, and you can find that in any kitchen supply store (sold individually) or on amazon.com (just search #2 pastry tip).

Wilton disposable 16-inch pastry bags: I have plenty of reusable pastry bags, but more often than not I use disposable bags. (I always bring my own reusable bags to the grocery store when I shop, so I don’t feel too guilty about singlehandedly destroying our planet.) The most common size of disposable bag is the 12-inch and they work okay, but they’re pretty short and there generally isn’t enough unused bag at the top to twist it well enough to prevent whatever is in the bag from leaking out during piping. 16-inches is a great size.

Ateco Small Offset Spatula: For icing, you can’t beat this small offset spatula.

Wilton Large Straight Icing Spatula: For a larger icing spatula, I really prefer the straight one (instead of an offset). It just feels more stable and comfortable. The large offset spatulas just generally are too thin and tend to bend during icing. No thank you.

OXO Large Stainless Steel Turner: This isn’t pictured, either, but I like this large stainless steel spatula. Since I don’t bother with nonstick pans (except for an omelette pan, but I don’t have one to recommend since I have never, ever found one that I like), a steel spatula fits all of my turning and flipping needs.

Love,
Me

P.S. It goes without saying that the Gluten Free on a Shoestring Cookbooks are essential cooking and baking equipment, too, right? ;)

Recipe Available at: http://glutenfreeonashoestring.com/favorite-kitchen-cooking-baking-equipment-large-small/
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