Pressed Butter Cookies, Gluten-Free (edited 12/14/10 to add egg instructions)

Art of Gluten-Free Baking
-adapted from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book, by Beatrice Ojakangas
-makes about 12 dozen cookies (yes, 12 dozen)

Special Equipment Needed
-a stand mixer is quite helpful, but a hand mixer will do in a pinch
-cookie press

Note:this recipe uses my gf flour mix, Jeanne’s Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Mix (mix together and store in a cool, dark place):
1 1/4 C (170g) brown rice flour
1 1/4 C (205g) white rice flour
1 C (120g) tapioca flour
1 C (165g) sweet rice flour (also known as Mochiko or glutinous rice flour)
2 scant tsp. xanthan gum
(you can also use the gluten-free flour mixture (not baking mix) of your choice–just be sure it contains xanthan gum. Or, you can add 1/4 tsp. xanthan gum per cup of gluten-free flour. If you use bean flour, it will add a bean taste to the cookies)

1 1/2 C butter (3 sticks; 12 oz; 340g) unsalted butter (or butter substitute), softened
3/4 C (150g) granulated sugar
3 large or extra large egg yolks (save your whites and make Meringue Cookies)
3 C (420g) Jeanne’s Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Mix
1 tsp vanilla extract
1C (6oz; 170g) semi sweet chocolate chips (optional–you will use these to make sandwich cookies)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter until fluffy. Add the sugar and beat more until fluffy. Add egg yolks one at a time, beating after each addition.  Add vanilla extract and beat until combined. Add flour and beat until combined.

Now comes the fun part.  Prepare your cookie press.  Lift the dough press part until it’s all the way at the top.  The fill the tube with the dough (your press should come with directions on how to do that).  Fit the disk of your choice into the bottom part and screw on tightly.  Now press the gun part (it will click each time you press the handle) until you see dough just pressing against the disk at the bottom. 

Now you’re ready to press out dough.  Place the end of the press firmly and evenly against the ungreased cookie sheet and press once on the gun. 

Lift your cookie press.  If the dough was adequately pressed against the disk, you should have a nice cookie shape on the sheet.  If no dough stuck or if the shape is wonky, just pick it up with your hand and throw it back into the bowl of dough (I told you–easy).  Press out enough cookies to cover a cookie sheet, leaving about 2″ in between each cookie to allow for spread.

Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes, or until they are just barely brown.  Remove from oven and let cool before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.  They are extremely delicate–be careful!  If the dough starts seeming too squishy to make defined shapes, stick it in the refrigerator for a few mintues to firm up a tiny bit.

Once the cookies are completely cool you can play with them.  I like to brush melted chocolate on the bottoms of some and put melted chocolate in between some to make sandwich cookies.  If you want to do this, melt the semi-sweet chocolate chips over extremely low heat until just barely melted.  Remove from heat and use a whisk to mix and make smooth. 

Line a cookie sheet with wax paper.  With a butter knife, spread a bit of melted chocolate on the bottoms of some of your cookies and press, chocolate side down, onto the wax paper.  Also, spread a bit of melted chocolate on the bottom of one shape and then press the bottom of another cookie of the same shape onto the chocolate for sandwich cookies.  Or drizzle chocolate on top of shapes.  Be creative!

Store in an airtight container.