Do you have special plans coming up for the Easter holiday? My plan is … to keep my children occupied enough that they don’t look over my shoulder all day long but not so occupied that they can’t chill out and relax a bit during their school break. How might I do that? I’m open to any and all suggestions. Oh, and I also plan to make a lot of Easter themed treats, for you and for them. Like these gluten-free lemon sugar cutout cookies, dipped in chocolate The Easy Way (more on that in a bit).
P.S. I hate it when people look over my shoulder. I can’t decide if this is completely, or only partially, irrational on my part. But I hate it when I’m typing away or reading something or working on a new recipe and someone wanders over aimlessly and either say nothing or casually asks, “whatcha doin’?” This was a big problem when I lived and worked in New York City, and reading over someone’s shoulder on the subway is practically an official pastime.
Semi-Pro Low-Brow Tip: Let’s talk for a minute about dipping cookies (and really anything at all) in chocolate. By far, the easiest, no fuss way to successfully dip treats in perfectly tempered chocolate? Use chips. They’re not the best quality, of course, but they don’t need to be tempered and they set perfectly at room temperature. Don’t want to use chips, but don’t have a fancy contraption to keep your chocolate at the proper temperature? Try adding some vegetable shortening to your chocolate as you melt it. The mixture will mimic melted chips. When I feel like fussing, or the quality of the chocolate really matters, I’ll take the extra time to properly seed my good-quality chopped chocolate, and use my bread proofer or a heating pad to keep the chocolate tempered. But most of the time, I just want it to look pretty and I just don’t have the time to fuss. So I use chips, and the whole thing’s a breeze. I will love you just the same if you do it, too. *Hug?*
Oh, and if you’re looking for some sweet little Easter cookie cutters, Wilton usually sells a small set this time of year (my set is from a couple years ago, and I think I found it either on amazon or at my local kitchen supply store). Etsy is also a great place to find themed cookie cutters. And you get to support independent entrepreneurs, something that means more to me every single day!
One last tip? Try dipping only part of each cookie in melted chocolate (like just the ears and feet of a bunny, or half of any cookie). It looks really elegant, and you don’t need a dipping fork as you can hold onto half the cookie as you dip the other half. Cleaner & easier.
Next week, I’ll also make my recipe for gluten-free Hot Cross Buns. It’s just not Easter without ’em. How about you – what’s on the agenda?
Prep time:Cook time:Yield:About 3 dozen cookies, depending upon size
8 tablespoons (112 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 egg (60 g, out of shell) at room temperature, beaten
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Freshly squeezed juice of 1 medium lemon
6 ounces dark chocolate chips (or your favorite kind)
Preheat your oven to 325°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper and set it aside.
Make the cookie dough. In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, salt, sugar, optional True Lemon and lemon zest, and whisk to combine well. Add the butter, egg, vanilla and lemon juice, mixing to combine after each addition. The dough will begin to come together, but you will have to knead it with your hands to press it together into a disk. Press the dough into a disk, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and allow it to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes.
Prepare the cookies for baking. After the dough has rested, place it between two pieces of unbleached parchment paper, and roll it out about 1/4 inch thick. Cut out shapes with your choice of Easter-themed cookie cutters (or whichever cutters you like). Place the cutouts on the prepared baking sheet, about 1/2 inch apart from one another (they will not spread during baking).
Bake and cool the cookies. Place the baking sheet in the center of the preheated oven and bake, rotating once, until the bottoms of the cookies are lightly golden brown, about 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet until set (less than 5 minutes) before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Coat the cookies in chocolate. Place the chocolate chips in a small, heatproof bowl. To melt the chocolate in a double boiler, bring a small amount of water in a small saucepan to a simmer over medium-high heat, and nest the bowl of chocolate inside of it. Stir the chocolate until it is melted and smooth. Remove the chocolate from the heat and allow to cool for about 5 minutes, or until it just begins to thicken slightly. Dip the cooled cookies in the chocolate, dragging the bottom of each dipped cookie along the side of the bowl of chocolate to remove any excess chocolate. Place the chocolate-covered cookies on a sheet of parchment paper and allow to cool at room temperature until set.
Store any leftover cookies in a sealed airtight container at room temperature. The cookies freeze well, but freezing them may cause the chocolate to “bloom,” or turn white in spots. The bloom will not affect the taste, only the appearance.