It’s still Girl Scout Cookie Season, and we’re still on the fringe, being gluten free and all. Here’s the thing, though. The fringe is NICE. There are homemade copycat recipes for gluten free girl scout cookies here on the fringe. After Thin Mints, Samoas, Tagalongs and Do-Si-Dos (yup – we’ve made them all) come Lemonades.
These light wafer sandwich cookies have pretty intense lemon flavor, thanks to True Lemon crystallized lemon. It adds lots of lemon flavor without changing the moisture content of the cookies, which we would have to balance out with more flour or perhaps more confectioners’ sugar. They also have a fair amount of lemon zest, since you can’t beat those essential oils in that lemon rind, and a bit of lemon juice in the filling. But the true star … is the True Lemon (I buy it at my regular large grocery store).
I also pressed an indentation into half of the cookies before baking, just so they look a bit more authentic. I stopped short of creating the lemon sections. But I thought about it. A lot.
I used a certain piping tip in an effort to make a single, relatively flat layer of filling, but clearly that is not … essential.
What is essential, though, is standing up for what’s right. And although the Girl Scouts have other things on their minds (like tying a proper knot and perhaps getting a merit badge by helping an old lady like me across the street), I have one thing on my mind: making sure Team Gluten Free has Girl Scout Cookies. Here’s how:
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Prep time:Cook time:Yield:24 sandwich cookies
For the Cookies 1 1/2 cups gluten-free cake flour (or you can use an equal amount by weight of another high-quality all-purpose gluten-free flour)
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)
Preheat your oven to 325°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, confectioners’ sugar, salt and True Lemon crystals, and whisk to combine well. Add the lemon zest, and whisk again to combine, breaking up any clumps in the lemon zest, which tends to stick to itself. Add the butter and then the egg, and mixing to combine after each addition. The dough will come together and should be smooth and relatively thick. Place the dough between two sheets of unbleached parchment paper and roll into a rectangle a bit more than 1/8 inch thick. Place the dough on a flat surface and place in the freezer until firm (5 to 7 minutes).
Make the Filling. While the dough is chilling, make the filling. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, place the butter and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the salt, True Lemon crystals and confectioners’ sugar, and mix on low speed until the sugar is absorbed. Turn the mixer to medium speed and mix until the filling comes together (3 to 4 minutes). It will be very thick. Add the lemon juice, and 2 teaspoons milk, and mix on medium speed until the filling becomes smoother and creamier, but still thick. Add more milk if necessary to reach the desired consistency. Transfer the filling to a pastry bag fitted with a medium-sized piping tip (I used a #104 tip in an effort to make a flat layer of filling), and set it aside.
Bake the Cookies. Once the cookie dough is chilled, cut out rounds using a 2 1/4 inch round cookie cutter. Place the cutouts on the prepared baking sheets less than an inch apart from one another (they will not spread during baking). On half of the cookie cutouts, press another round cookie cutter that is slightly smaller than 2 inches about 1/4 inch in from the edge of each cookie and press firmly but gently to create an indentation in the dough. Be careful not to press all the way through the dough. These will be the tops of your sandwich cookies. Place the baking sheets, one at a time, in the center of the preheated oven and bake, rotating once, until just beginning to brown around the edges (about 10 minutes). Remove from the oven and allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Assemble the Cookies. Turn over the half of the cookies without the indentation, and pipe a generous amount of filling in a single layer on each overturned cookie. Top with the remaining cookies (those with the indentation, facing up) to create sandwiches, pressing down gently to force the filling to the very edge of the cookies. Allow to sit at room temperature (or in the refrigerator) until the filling is set. Serve chilled or at room temperature.