According to the calendar, the official start of autumn is less than a week away. To be precise, the Northern hemisphere reaches the 2017 autumnal equinox at 4:02 pm on September 22nd. Right now, culinarily speaking, we should still be enjoying light, fresh summer dishes with ingredients such as watermelon and cucumber, or meals cooked outside on the grill. All the seasonal summer fruits and vegetables are delicious, and few meals bring me more delight than a burger, freshly ground from chuck steak, grilled and nicely charred. I’m SO over this season’s heat, though, and one way to bring psychological relief, if not physical relief, from the late summer heat is to rush ahead in the kitchen and use fall ingredients in my cooking and baking. I’ve already started making pot pies: chicken with gluten-free chestnut crust, and butternut squash/kale with a gluten-free sweet potato crust. Now I’m making my favorite autumnal sweets, such as gluten-free apple flour cookies to go with my autumnal savory dishes.
One of the flours I love to use every season is apple flour. In the summer and spring, I use a small amount of apple flour as a binder when I’m baking loaves of bread and muffins. The naturally occurring pectin in apple flour acts as an effective gluten-replacement, and it doesn’t cause the same digestive issues that gums and psyllium husk cause many people. Foods baked with apple flour retain their moisture longer, as well. I don’t use enough apple flour in these baked goods that the apple flavor is obvious. During the fall and winter, however, I use enough apple flour in many of the foods I prepare to achieve a pronounced, yet subtle, apple flavor. Apple flour, with a little cinnamon, added, for example, makes my delicious appley-spicey gluten-free cookies absolutely announce the waning of summer and the arrival of autumn.
Apple flour is simply dried ground apples. It’s such a simple ingredient that I looked into making apple flour myself, but after seeing the number of apples one must dry and the process to dry them to get a nice amount of apple flour, I decided that buying the flour is a more wise use of my time and resources. I’m definitely a gluten-free flour junkie so I love having some among the varieties of gluten-free flours in my flour stock from which to choose when I’m baking. Hearthy Foods apple flour is the brand I use. (Just a reminder: I am not an affiliate of Hearthy Foods and I receive no payment for endorsing this product. I’m offering the link to the apple flour just to help people who are interested in making the following cookie recipe find it).
This cookie recipe is so easy and so delicious, you’ll find yourself making them again and again.
- 1 cup butter
- ¾ cup organic sugar cane
- ¾ cup grated piloncillo (or brown sugar)
- 3 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 150 g apple flour
- 100 g superfine sorghum flour
- 50 g arrowroot flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1½teaspoons Ceylon cinnamon
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- ¼ + 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons milk
- Preheat oven to 375F. Using a food processor or a mixer, cream together the butter and the sugars. Add eggs to the creamed mixture, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla. Weigh out the flours, mix them together in a bowl; mix in the salt, cinnamon, and baking soda. All the flour mixture all at once to the creamed butter-egg mixture. Mix until well blended. Drop by tablespoons-full on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. These cookies spread while they cook, so leave about two inches between cookies on the pan. The cookies will puff up while they bake; they are done when they fall flat and turn golden brown (about 10 - 12 minutes). Remove cookies from the oven and let cool on the pan about five minutes. Using a spatula, remove the cookies to wire racks to continue cooling.
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