Food allergies are so common nowadays I'm willing to bet most of you have a member of your immediate family or know of someone in your circle of friends affected by an intolerance or dietary preference that needs to be accommodated. My brother is one such person, though it's a bit complicated. He has gluten and dairy intolerances, among other concerns, such as not being able to eat almonds or beans. There's a running list I have trouble keeping track of. When my family got together in the mountains for a weekend, I took charge of Saturday night's dinner. I knew there would be stone fruit sorbet for dessert, but I wanted to make a shortbread cookie to go with it.
Then the experiment began. This was my first foray into baking with vegan and gluten free products and in the end, the flavors were wonderful. After tasting the cookie dough, I wasn't convinced the texture would hold up. It seemed a bit grainy, probably because of the rice flour, but they baked up wonderfully and imparted a kind of melt-in-your-mouth experience that was a nice addition to the sorbet.
DAIRY AND GLUTEN FREE SHORTBREAD COOKIES
I shopped for these ingredients at the last minute and was unable to find a generic gluten free flour. However, they are available if you have more time. I ended up using brown rice flour instead. You could also experiment with almond flour.
Makes about 24 cookies
Adapted from Joy of Baking
2 sticks Earth Balance butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups gluten free or rice flour
In a small bowl, whisk the flour with the salt. In a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until smooth and creamy, about two minutes. Add the vanilla. Gradually add the flour and continue beating until just incorporated. Turn out onto a large sheet of plastic wrap and flatten into a round disc. Chill for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough with a rolling pin and cut into rounds using your favorite cookie cutter. Place on a parchment-lined sheetpan and put in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to set. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until cookies are very lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.
PEACH + THYME SORBET
Makes 1 quart
6 ripe peaches
3 to 4 sprigs of thyme
3/4 cups sugar
Juice of half a lemon
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add peaches and cook for about 2 minutes. Immediately place in a bowl of ice water and let cool slightly. The skins should peel right off. Remove pit and add the flesh to a food processor. Puree until smooth and pour into a large bowl. Add the thyme sprigs and lemon juice. Then cover until chilled or up to overnight.
Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.