Thursday, December 18, 2014

Mexican Wedding Cookies

When Christmas comes around, I always ask the kids what treats they most want to make for Christmas.  Here's "the list" for 2014 and it's a good one!

English Toffee
Peanut Butter Blossoms
Orange Cookies
Caramel Brownies
Cinnamon Rolls
Gingerbread Men
Mexican Wedding Cookies (recipe below)

Although I have no less than 4 recipes for cinnamon rolls/sticky buns on this blog, I just realized that I am currently using a 5th recipe!  I'll have to share that with you soon.  The only cookie on the list that I haven't shared with you are these Mexican Wedding Cookies, or Butterballs.  They are a bite-sized morsels of buttery, nutty goodness... kind of like Butter Pecan ice cream in cookie form!

Mexican Wedding Cookies
Makes about 40 1-inch cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup confectioners sugar, divided, plus more for rolling
1 cup pecans (or almonds or walnuts)
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.  Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment or silicone liners.

Sift together the flour and salt and set aside.  Process the pecans and 1/3 cup confectioners sugar in a food processor until finely ground.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and remaining 1/3 cup sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the nut mixture and the vanilla and beat until well combined.  Add the flour and mix until just combined.

Using a small cookie scoop to portion and using your hands to roll, form the dough into smooth 1-inch balls and place on the cookie sheet.  Bake the cookies for 15 minutes or until beginning to lightly brown on the bottom.  Remove the cookies from the oven and immediately sift confectioners sugar on the cookies.  Allow the cookies to cool completely on the cookie sheet.  When the cookies are cool, roll them in a bowl of powdered sugar until well coated on all sides.  Store in an airtight container.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Pumpkin Pie with Oat Crust {gluten free}

We traveled to New Bern, NC this past Thanksgiving to visit my parents and to see my brothers and their families.   The family is expanding with marriages and a baby on the way and it's rare these days that we are all together, but everyone was there and that made it really special!

I made this pumpkin pie to serve alongside my brother's famous rhubarb custard pies so that the guests could have a gluten-free option.  I had no idea how it would taste until we cut into it and tried a piece.  It was so good that Mark dubbed it "best pumpkin pie ever", gluten-free or not!  Coming from a pie connoisseur, that's saying something!  The crust held together nicely and the pumpkin custard sliced up beautifully.  If you're looking for a gluten-free dessert to make for Christmas, try this recipe!  Happy Holiday Baking!

Pumpkin Pie
Adapted from
Makes one pie

2 cups pumpkin puree (I used homemade roasted pumpkin puree)
1 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 cup honey (I might try a little less next time)
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or add 1/2 tsp ginger, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp cloves)
Oatmeal pie crust (recipe below) or crust of your choice

Prepare the crust and chill.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, canned coconut milk, and 1/2 cup honey until smooth.  Whisk in the eggs, cinnamon, and pie spice.  Pour into the chilled pie crust just below the crimped edges.  Carefully transfer to the preheated oven and bake for about 50 minutes or until the filling is no longer jiggly in the middle.  If you have filling leftover, pour it into ramekins and bake until done (no jiggles).  Cool completely and chill before serving.

Oatmeal crust
Adapted from Good Without Gluten by Jules, Lepoutre, and Yanase
Makes a single pie crust

80g (2/3 cup) oat flour
45 g (1/3 cup) tapioca starch
40g (1/3 cup) almond flour
50g (1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon) confectioners sugar
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
80g cold butter (6 tablespoons), cut into pieces
1 egg

Place all dry ingredients into a food processor and pulse to combine.  Add the butter pieces and pulse until butter pieces are pea sized or smaller.  Add the egg and pulse until mixture holds together.  Press the dough into the pie plate using wet hands, or parchment to keep your hands from sticking (a little tricky but try different things and see what works for you).  Try not to make it too thick at the corners of the pie pan like I did (i.e. try to make it the same thickness all the way around.)  Crimp the edges and chill until firm, about one hour.  


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