My great great grandmother, Dodee, would sit out on the porch and drink a beer with my grandfather. She taught my grandmother how to cook meat and kept a sharp wooden three-pronged fork for turning pork chops, which she’d serve with homemade applesauce and sauerkraut. Around her memory hover little unsubstantiated tales involving occasional cigars and outright profanity. She was the best of all idealized grandmothers and even if the facts are a little stretched, her character remains a family legend of love.
I think we would’ve gotten along swimmingly.
Dodee’s cookies are a Christmas tradition for my family. The holiday isn’t right until these emerge golden from the oven, topped with their shining maraschino jewels. I don’t know how long her recipe took to perfect. It probably suffered pinches and prods in her kitchen for years until she honed it into flawlessness. My gluten-free version took ten Decembers.
When a cookie is mostly butter, the slightest tweak to gluten-free flours and starches shakes the recipe to its core. These cookies have been responsible for more oven cleanups than any other recipe I’ve ever created or converted. Now I can’t stop smiling as I write this, having eaten four perfect Dodee cookies that each hold the flavor I remember from way back in my gluten-filled childhood.
I like to think I know a part of Dodee through her cookies. It’s been a long decade of baking chats with her as I change starches, add or subtract ingredients, and strive towards her cookie’s simple genius. This is a flavor meant for sharing.
Makes 2 dozen
1 stick real butter or vegan butter (1/2 cup)
85g brown sugar
50g sweet rice flour
45g amaranth flour
55g tapioca starch
raw pecans or maraschino or amarena cherries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Cream together butter and brown sugar in a medium bowl. Stir in flours until dough forms and everything is well-mixed. Scoop out about 1 tsp of dough at a time and roll it into balls. Arrange on cookie sheet about 1-2 inches apart. Press a fork into each ball just once, then top with either a pecan piece or half a cherry.Bake about 10-12 minutes, until cookies are golden and just beginning to brown on the edges. Cool at least 5 minutes before removing from sheet. Cookies will be soft when just baked, but will become crunchy as they cool. Cookies with cherries will turn soft again the next day. Store in an airtight container up to 1 week.
Note: Using vegan butter in these cookies works, though their edges will be feathery instead of smooth.
|Grammie and me, during a past holiday season|