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This gluten free version of my grandmother’s Raisin Filled Cookie recipe is so similar to hers that I think I can accurately say that it was probably just as similar to her grandmother’s original recipe. That’s right: these gluten free raisin filled cookies are just like you remember: soft, sweet little hand-held pockets of raisiny-yumminess that bring back so many good memories, I ask myself every Christmas why I don’t make them all year long.
Each Christmas, my grandmother would bake so many cookies it was its own virtual holiday cookie extravaganza. I had the choice job (as the eldest grandchild) to be allowed to descend to the basement where I would open wide the freezer door and crack open tin after tin of cookies, lovingly baked and wrapped in wax paper, then stored away for the big day.
I would fill and re-fill her cookie tray with selections from each tin (and sample a few along the way): raisin-filled cookies, chocolate chip cookies, date pinwheels, buckeyes, snowball cookies, peanut butter cookies, sugar cut-outs …. To pick a favorite would have been impossible.
But what I needed to become possible was to replicate them — ALL of them — when I was diagnosed with celiac disease. I needed these cookies to be back on our table for Christmas and to know I could bring back my grandmother in some small way when I needed a sweet memory.
I still get choked up thinking about my grandmother and all she did for us throughout the years. Nowhere was it more obvious than in her cookies — a tangible reminder of love, tradition, memories and family.
If your family has food traditions, don’t give up on them just because you’re gluten free. Replicate them! Here are some tips for converting favorite recipes to gluten free. It starts with the right gluten free flour: I developed my award winning gfJules Flour so that I could have our family favorites again. It will help bring back yours as well!
(Dough) Using an electric mixer, cream shortening and sugar together until light and fluffy (around 3 minutes). Beat in eggs, cream and vanilla.
In a separate bowl, whisk together dry ingredients: gfJules Flour, baking soda, salt and cream of tartar. Gradually stir this dry mixture in with the wet ingredients and beat until totally integrated.
Cover and chill until dough is cold and no longer sticky, at least 2 hours. Set dough out for a few minutes before trying to roll it out
(Filling) Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in sugar, water and lemon juice. Once combined, add raisins and gfJules™ Flour, cooking until thickened to the consistency of thick pie filling. Set aside to cool.
(Cookie) Preheat oven to 400° F (static). Lightly dust a clean counter or pastry mat with gfJules™ All Purpose Flour. Roll ½ of the cold dough out very thinly, to a thickness of 1/8 inch.
Cut 3-inch round cookies with a cutter and lay half of the rounds on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Lightly brush the edges with water or milk, then lay a teaspoon-sized dollop of filling in the center of each round on the sheet.
The filling should be mounded in the middle and not extend to the edges to allow room to seal each cookie. Lay another round on top of each filled round and press to seal the edges.
Using a fork, press the tines around each edge as well. Brush the tops of the cookies with milk to help them brown slightly. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until lightly browned.