In summertime, each of my kids will eat their weight in peaches. Unlike the zucchini plants that I have growing all around my house, sadly I have no peach trees. When we first moved into this house about 10 years ago, I used to dream of planting peach trees, since even the leaves are amazingly fragrant. I took books out of the library and tried to educate myself—until I finally gave up mostly because my husband was 100% not on board. I still think I could have made a go of it. For now I'll have to content myself with buying peaches from the farmer's market (when I'm lucky) and the grocery store (when I'm not). These thick and chewy gluten free peach pie cookies are just one more way to enjoy summer's most lovely fruit.
Baking with fruit can be tricky, since the fruit releases quite a lot of moisture during baking. Sometimes I roast the fruit first, like in this roasted strawberry cake. In these peach pie cookies, all I did was cook down the fruit on the stovetop with a bit of preserves, then strain out and reduce the liquid. Brushing the cookie dough with the reduced liquid right before baking really enhances the peach flavor and helps the cookies brown and crisp on the edges.
I love a warm, freshly baked pie like anyone else, but sometimes it's nice to take a shortcut to all the taste of peach pie in a neat little drop cookie. If I ever get to plant those peach trees, I'm gonna make the cookies and the pie with the very first harvest. :)
Gluten Free Peach Pie Cookies
2 to 3 large fresh peaches, peeled, pitted and cut into 1/4-inch dice (360 g)
1/3 cup (108 g) peach jam or preserves (apricot jam or preserves works well, too)
2 1/2 cups (350 g) all purpose gluten free flour (I used Better Batter)
1 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
8 tablespoons (112 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 eggs (100 g, weighed out of shell) at room temperature, beaten
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Cook the peaches. Preheat your oven to 375°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper and set it aside. In a medium, heavy-bottom saucepan, place the diced peaches and jam or preserves. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the peaches are just fork-tender (about 10 minutes). Strain the peaches from the liquid, measure out 2 1/2 cups (360 g) of the peaches and set them aside. Return the liquid to the saucepan and simmer it over medium heat until it begins to thicken (about 2 minutes). Set the liquid aside.
Make the cookie dough. In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, salt, cinnamon, baking soda and granulated sugar, and whisk to combine well. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the butter, eggs and vanilla, mixing to combine after each addition. Add the 2 1/2 cups (360 g) cooked peaches and mix until the peaches are evenly distributed throughout the dough.
Portion the cookie dough. Using a spring-loaded ice cream scoop or two spoons, drop the cookie dough in two-tablespoonful portions on the prepared baking sheet about 2 inches apart from one another. With wet fingers, press the dough into 1/4-inch thick disks. Using a pastry brush, brush the tops of each piece of dough generously with the reduced liquid from the cooked peaches.
Bake the cookies. Place the baking sheet in the center of the preheated oven and bake for 12 minutes or until lightly golden brown all over and darker brown around the edges. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.