Gluten Free Candy Cane Christmas Cookies  

Posted by Heidi in

I did it! I successfully altered a favorite recipe and made it gluten free. Woo hoo! Candy cane cookies are a bit difficult and delicate even using wheat flour because the sugar is all confectioner's rather than regular table sugar. Using the lighter flours accentuated these challenges but it was worth it in the end. For those who don't need the gluten free recipe, here, to start off with, is the regular one (make these today, you won't be sorry!)
My Mom's Candy Cane Cookies
1/2 cup soft shortening
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sifted confectioner's sugar
1 egg
1.5 teas almond extract
1 teas vanilla
2.5 cups sifted flour
1 teas salt
1/2 teas red food coloring
(yes, I used green for the gluten free versions--I would like to say it was because I was thinking ahead and needed to tell them apart from the regular version but it was simply because none of the three boxes of food coloring rattling around in my cupboards had any red left)
1/2 table sugar for sprinkling mixed with 1/2 cup crushed candy cane
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Mix thoroughly the shortening, butter, confectioner's sugar, egg and flavorings. Sift together flour, salt and stir in. Divide dough in half.
Blend red food coloring into 1/2 of dough. Roll 1 teaspoon of each color dough into a long strip about 4" long. Place strips side by side then twist together to form rope. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and make into candy cane shapes. Bake about 9 minutes. Sprinkle with mixture of 1/2 cup crushed candy cane and 1/2 cup sugar.
As I said, make these pronto and enjoy sweet, flavorful, tender cookies. They get a bit frustrating because of the rolling between your hands and shaping and sometimes, no matter what you do, they break in your hands and often when you remove them from the cookie sheet after baking, but they are worth it.
Gluten Free Candy Cane Cookies
Use the recipe above but switch out the wheat flour for two cups Brown Rice Flour Mix (I'll explain in a bit), 1/2 cup sweet rice flour (see below for where to buy) and add 1 teaspoon xanthun gum.
Before forming the canes, chill the dough for three hours or overnight as the dough is very soft. Work with only small amounts of dough at a time. If it gets too soft, return to the fridge or freezer before continuing. When you have all the canes formed, put the entire sheet into the fridge for at least ten minutes to stiffen before baking as these are even softer and more delicate than the wheat variety. However, they are even more tender and melt-in-your-mouth, too. I actually ended up adding a bit more vanilla and almond flavoring, also, as the xanthun gum adds a bitter taste to the dough. They spread out a bit more than the wheat version but it's what they taste like that matters.
I learned about Brown Rice Flour Mix from Annalise G. Roberts as seen in her cook book "Gluten-Free Baking Classics". The mix is made of 2 parts brown rice flour, (extra finely ground), 2/3 part potato starch (not potato flour) and 1/3 part tapioca flour. The potato starch and tapioca flour are easy to find but the extra finely ground brown rice flour she recommends can be purchased only at Authentic Foods in Southern California. Fortunately they ship. The Sweet Rice Flour is also available at These finely ground flours are a bit expensive but they are the difference between dry, heavy baked goods that fall apart and light and tender ones that hold together better. Merry Christmas!!!

This entry was posted on Tuesday, December 21, 2010 at Tuesday, December 21, 2010 and is filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

14 wise, witty and wonderful comments

Awesome! I know a couple of people who would love this.

December 21, 2010 at 3:23 PM

I need this. I have fallen off the wagon so far in the last month in keeping with my allergies. I'm not celiac, but I am allergic to wheat. Good job, you! :) Enjoy as many as you can eat!

December 21, 2010 at 3:44 PM

Now you've gone and made my mouth to bake!

Merry Christmas to you, too, Heidi! :)

December 21, 2010 at 6:40 PM

I'm super impressed. I can't even imagine having to change all my recipes or throw them out to find new ones. They look delicious!

December 21, 2010 at 10:05 PM

Ooh. Those look yummers! Way to go, Heids! You're a great writer, an excellent designer, and now an inventive cook! Anything you CAN'T do?

December 21, 2010 at 10:19 PM

Some of my friends are gluten free, I will share this link with them!

December 21, 2010 at 10:36 PM

Oh yum! Thanks for this! We may just be making this on Christmas day. So glad you created something so delicious that YOU can enjoy!

December 22, 2010 at 12:27 AM

I have a friend with Celiac's who I am totally passing this on to. Well done!

December 22, 2010 at 10:44 AM

You rock, Heidi! And I love how you came upon your color choice... probably because that's how I would end up making the choice too. :-)

December 23, 2010 at 1:36 AM

Those look really good but I am not going try to make them. that would be a disaster.

December 23, 2010 at 6:53 PM

You? Are awesome! Way to switch things up! Happy New Year to you!

December 28, 2010 at 8:06 AM

Those sound delicious! I'm finding out that wheat and I don't do so well together. Love the recipe Heidi!

I hope you had a fantastic Christmas!

December 28, 2010 at 11:21 PM

They look great!! And I love the pictures of your house. I bet it was sad to put it all away. Everything looked so beautiful.

Also--I really like the new picture of you. Very cute.

January 4, 2011 at 2:12 PM

The scenery IS breathtaking! That is all I have to say about that, otherwise it sounds totally scary and not an ideal vaca at all.


January 7, 2011 at 12:57 PM

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