Not a lot of cookies get baked in this house. What with the chubbiness issue and the gluten factor, desserts, at this point, when they're even offered, tend to run more towards that chia pudding
, a refreshing scoop of sorbet
, some gussied-up tofu
or simply a piece of seasonal fruit. Occasionally, however, the imminent arrival of company or some other deserving event does give rise to a batch. A good gluten-free cookie is almost as elusive as a good man. For a time, our cookie jones was sated by Whole Foods' house brand, which included a chewy ginger-molasses, a rich and crumbly peanut butter and the highly coveted nutmeal-raisin, but for some reason these disappeared from their shelves never to return. The (faux-helpful) staff tried to gaslight me when I asked about them, acting as though these divine confections had never existed. I vowed to G that I would try my hand at my own version of the nutmeal cookie, but so far I have not been true to my word.
Instead, our recent Italianate dinner party (osso bucco with saffron risotto, red lettuce with Meyer lemon and toasted almonds, rhubarb sorbet) seemed to cry out for that classic last moment of biscotti dunked in vin santo
. It's such a lovely tradition, a sweet and languorous finish to a meal, the perfect companion to conversation and candlelight. By the way, biscotti literally means twice cooked, which is how they get that wonderfully hard crunch.These cookies don't come out quite as hard as gluten-rich biscotti, but they do the trick. They are easy to customize, swapping out the nuts, adding whatever spices you like. And, in an airtight container—a tin, a tupperware, a ziploc—they keep for a good long while. Provided you don't eat them all that first night.
Gluten-Free Walnut Biscotti
makes about 2 dozen
— 1 1/2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour
— 1/4 cup sweet rice flour
— 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
— 1/2 teaspoon each baking powder & baking soda
— 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
— 4 ounces unsalted butter, softened
— 1 cup organic cane sugar
— 2 farm-fresh eggs
— 2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
— 1 teaspoon orange flower water
— 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
— 1 1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts
— turbinado sugar
Mix together flours, xanthan gum, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
In a stand mixer, cream the butter until pale. Add the sugar and beat until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Blend in the eggs, one at a time. Add the orange zest, orange flower water and cardamom, then stir in the nuts. Slowly incorporate the dry ingredients to form a soft dough. It will be sticky, so refrigerate for a couple of hours or overnight.
When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375º. Lightly grease a cookie sheet and line with parchment paper.
Divide the dough into 3 equal pieces. (Use a little extra rice flour if needed.) Roll each piece into a log about 2" thick and pat down to flatten the top a bit so it's not too round. Place logs on cookie sheet, leaving several inches between them as the dough spreads while baking. Bake for 25 minutes.
Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and cool for 5-10 minutes. Slice the logs on a slight diagonal about 1" thick. Place the slices, cut side down, on the cookie sheet.
Lower the oven temperature to 350º and bake the slices for another 30 minutes. Turn the oven off and leave the cookies in to continue hardening. Remove to a cooling rack, then store in an airtight container.