March 14, 2012

Allergy-friendly Tag-alongs

I recently discovered Jules Gluten Free, a blog that is dedicated to gluten-free baking.  Jules E. Dowler Shepard has been baking and sharing her gluten-free, allergy-friendly creations for years.  Her lengthy experience with living gluten-free has led her to develop her own line of products including her special gluten-free flour and cookbooks.

Jules created a gluten-free Tagalong recipe with vegan option.  Looked promising!  I used my go-to homemade gluten-free flour blend for the cookie instead of Jules' signature flour. The original recipe included what I thought would be a very large quantity of peanut butter (in my case, sun butter) filling.  For my attempt at recreating her recipe I only made a half-batch of the filling.  By the end of making and sampling the finished product, I wished I had made just a bit more to balance out the cookie and chocolate.  So in my recipe below, I've adjusted the quantity so that it's 2/3 of Jules' recipe, which sounds about right to me.

From 1-inch dough balls, the resulting cookies turned out gigantic, like two cookies in one!  I imagine with extra filling for each, they will be even giganticker.  (Yes, I know that's not a real word.)

Gluten-Free Vegan Tag-alongs (makes about 3 dozen two-inch cookies)
Adapted from Jules Gluten Free's recipe for homemade Tag-alongs

Cookie base:
1 cup vegan Earth Balance (a soy-free is available but not the most common, so check the label)
1/2 cup organic sugar (you can use regular white sugar but it won't be animal-free)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups gluten-free flour blend
1/2 tsp xantham gum
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 to 2 Tbsp milk substitute

1 cup sunflower seed butter (I love the taste and price of Trader Joe's)
2/3 cup confectioner's (powdered) sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

16 oz. (about 1 1/2 bags) of dairy-free semisweet chocolate chips (Enjoy Life sells chips free of the top 8 allergens)
3 Tbsp vegetable shortening

For the cookie base:
The original recipe called for pressing in craters after
the cookies were fully baked.  I found this made holes
or cracks in the cookies.  My advice is to try making an
indentation before baking or just skip the craters .
  1. Cream together the vegan margarine and sugar in a large bowl.  Add vanilla to mixture.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together gluten-free flour blend, xantham gum, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Gradually add flour mixture to margarine mixture until well combined.  If the dough is too crumbly and thick, add 1 tablespoon of milk substitute.  If the dough is still dry, add another tablespoon of milk substitute and use your hands to combine and bind the dough.
  4. Refrigerate cookie dough for at least a couple of hours.
  5. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. When the cookie dough is ready, use your hands to roll 3/4-inch to 1-inch balls of dough.  Flatten each ball down to a quarter-inch circle.  Gently use your thumb and push down at the circle of each ball to create a crater in the cookie. 
  6. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until cookie starts to brown at the edges.
  7. Let the cookies cool on their pans for a few minutes then transfer to wire rack to finish cooling.
For the cream filling:
These could've used more sunbutter filling...
  1. While cookies are baking, make the filling.  First, line two cooled cookie sheets with wax or parchment paper.
  2. Combine sunflower seed butter, confectioner's sugar, and vanilla.  Mix well.  Taste for sweetness and saltiness.  Add additional confectioner's sugar or a dash of salt to your liking.
  3. Fill pastry bag or quart-size Ziploc-style bag with sunbutter filling.  Twist the bag shut.  If using a Ziploc-style bag, cut one small corner off the bag to create the "tip" of your makeshift pastry bag.
  4. Squeezing from the opposite end of the bag, pipe out sunbutter filling on to cookie. 
  5. Use a butter knife to spread an even layer all over the top of the cookie.  If it's not perfect, don't worry.  The chocolate coating magically hides sloppy, bumpy sunbutter work.
  6. Put each "filled" cookie on the parchment-lined cookie sheet.  Freeze or refrigerate the cookies for at least 30 minutes to set the sunbutter filling.
For the chocolate coating:
  1. While the cookies are chilling, heat the semisweet chocolate chips and shortening over a double boiler.  
  2. If you don't have a double boiler (I don't), find a lipped glass bowl that can hang on the edges of a small pot.  Put one whole bag of semisweet chips and 3 tablespoons of shortening into the bowl.  Warm over low heat with about an inch of water in the pot.  As the water heats up, the chips and shortening will melt.  
  3. Stir chips and shortening constantly.  When most of the chips have melted, turn off the heat and stir in remaining chips.  Stir until the chocolate is completely melted.  The chocolate coating should be fairly runny.  If it remains thick, return to low heat and add more shortening to thin out the mixture.
  4. Once the coating is melted and at a good, runny consistency, take out the cooled cookies.  Use a fork to dip one cookie at a time into the coating and a spoon to pour coating all over the cookie.  
  5. Allow excess coating to drip off the cookie (use a spoon to scrape any extra away on the bottom of cookie.  Then carefully place cookie on parchment paper.  Space out cookies on parchment.  
  6. When you have a full pan, refrigerate for 30 minutes or until coating has hardened.  (The thicker the consistency of coating, the longer it will take to set.)
  7. Serve right out of the refrigerate or warm to room temperature.  Store leftover cookies in an airtight container in a cool, dry place or in the refrigerator.  For long-term storage, these are fine for freezing.
Tasty cookie but I'll definitely make more sunbutter filling next time.

These cookies required a lot of work but this smile made the labor worth it!
Jules Gluten Free has listed many allergy-friendly Girl Scout Cookies recipes found on the web.  Jules Gluten Free sells products such as a specially formulated gluten-free flour mix.  I have never tried Jules' GF flour mix so I can't comment on it.  (Like I mentioned earlier, I usually use the GF flour mix recipe that many including allergy-friendly baker Cybele Pascal use.)  Jules Gluten-Free site has a Deal of the Day offers discounts on products and books.  From now until March 21st, there is a half-price special ($62) on Jules' Cupboard Pack, a purchase of $125 worth of foods, books, and other educational resources especially for new customers.

Check out Jules Gluten Free website for more sweet inspiration.  And if you haven't checked out GAW's Samoa bar recipe, come see what we cooked up for the last GSC season.

1 comment:

  1. How fun. I can't wait to try this recipe. What cute picture of your son.