Welcome to Home for the Holidays…Gluten-Free Style, a gluten-free event organized by Shirley Braden of Gluten Free Easily. Every day from November 28th right up to December 23rd, twenty-five bloggers (a different blogger each day) share their recipes that mean home and holidays to them.
In addition, there are also fabulous giveaways on each of those days that you can enter! Each time you enter on any of the bloggers’ websites participating, you become eligible for the grand prizes! The grand prizes are:
Click “more” for today’s giveaways and recipe for cranberry white chocolate chunk cookies, inspired by Starbucks’ annual seasonal favourite: Cranberry Bliss Bar.
As soon as I see Starbucks selling their Cranberry Bliss Bars, I know the holidays have started. I don’t really remember the first time I tried a Bliss Bar – although I remember what I was doing when I tried soy nog, another seasonal favourite, for the first time: watching Mickey’s Christmas Carol – but it’s become something of a permanent fixture in my Starbucks holiday treats, along with my favourite salted caramel hot chocolate. (I won’t be covering myself in it anytime soon, though, like Nigella over there. I actually think it would be a bad idea.)
I can still eat a Cranberry Bliss Bar, if I want to, since I’m not gluten intolerant or have celiac disease. (I started to cook and bake gluten-free, among other allergens, when my family changed our diets as part of helping my brother recover from autism, which you can read more about here and also on the FAQ page. The only time I completely skipped eating the seasonal treat was when we were all SCD and I was hardcore.) Though that hasn’t stopped me from playing with the idea of doing my own take on them for some time. I’ve had this idea since I started writing this blog, in fact.
Initially, I was just going to try to recreate the bar but somewhere along the way, the idea struck me to reinterpret it into a cookie. If I were to dress up these cookies in any way, I would do a cream cheese glaze (a nod to the bar’s cream cheese icing); making it a little messy and free form: not too far removed from Jackson Pollock, like Kim Boyce’s iced oatmeal cookies.
The cream cheese glaze should be like what you’d find on a coffee cake or a bundt cake: not too thin to completely slide off and not too thick to make it feel like a frosting. Just in the middle. (I’d use my suggestion for a cream cheese glaze from this recipe as a template.)
If you still want to make a gluten-free version of the Cranberry Bliss Bar and not cookies, check out this recipe and this one. I personally have not made either, but both look promising and the first one looks like a close contender to the real thing in appearance.
Cranberry White Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Inspired by Starbucks’ Cranberry Bliss Bars
The first time I made these cookies, I just used baking powder that resulted in slightly cakey cookies. If you want cookies that spread out a little more, use the baking soda. Baking powder causes things to rise, while baking soda spreads. Although there is only the slightest difference in the crumb, I generally prefer the cakier version.
While I used a combo of cornstarch and tapioca, you can use all cornstarch or all tapioca flour/starch (both names are used interchangeably) if you’re sensitive to corn; it doesn’t make a difference in taste or texture.
Makes 21 cookies
128 grams millet flour
60 grams brown rice flour
60 grams cornstarch
60 grams tapioca starch or tapioca flour (the same thing)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
72 grams (1/3 cup) unsalted butter, softened (it should be room temperature)
1/2 cup honey
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 large or medium eggs
1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries
1/2 cup (80 grams/3 ounces) white chocolate chips, roughly chopped into chunks
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Sift the flours, salt, baking powder, and baking soda together in a medium bowl.
Cream the butter with the honey with a rubber spatula and gently mix in 2 eggs. It won’t fully congeal and there will be lumps of butter, but that’s okay. Add the vanilla extract.
Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, a little at a time and mixed well after each addition, until it is all used. It will be a thick dough. Add the last 2 eggs, mixing well. The batter should be have a sheen to it.
Gently stir the cranberries and white chocolate chunks into the batter, setting some aside to stud the cookies with if desired. Use a cookie scoop or a tablespoon to portion the batter on to the prepared pan. Use about 1 1/2 tablespoons of batter per cookie, spacing about 1 inch apart. Stud the tops of the cookies with extra white chocolate chunks or cranberries, or both. Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes (check after the 15-minute mark) or until the edges are golden brown.
Remove cookies from oven and cool completely on the pan. Once they have cooled, only then transfer them to a plate.
Today’s giveaways are:
1 subscription to Delight magazine
1 copy of Simply…Gluten-Free Desserts by Carol Kicinski plus Carol’s Amazing All-Purpose Flour Mix
1 copy of Gluten-Free Cupcakes by Elana Amsterdam (read my review here)
For one entry, leave a comment on this post telling me what “home for the holidays” means to you and also which giveaway item you would like to win.
For a second entry, subscribe to Z’s Cup of Tea via email. It’s easy and free, and you’ll receive new posts directly in your inbox as soon as they are published.
This giveaway closes on December 23rd, 2011 at 11:59 PM PST and is open internationally.
THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. Thank you to everyone who entered!
Remember, any post in this series you comment on you are also automatically entered to win one of the three grand prizes! Good luck!