Gluten Free Iced Cherry Ring Cookies Recipe
Before the internet, people had to keep recipes and menu ideas somewhere – somewhere real, not virtual. For most it was a recipe box. For me it was, and is, a recipe scrapbook. The scrapbook was actually started by my mother and I love it. It is a treasure trove of magazine articles, newspaper clippings and index cards just waiting to be converted into gluten free recipes. But it is more than that, there are notes about dinner parties, recipes written on the scraps of paper and the back of envelopes, all in my Mom’s handwriting. It is also insight into my mother’s tastes and culinary aspirations. There are also some interesting attempts at complicated long division problems, presumably cutting down the serving sizes of certain recipes.
Over the years I added my own clippings, recipes and notes and it has become a journal of my life; the punch I made for my wedding is in there along with a favorite recipe for clam dip I got from my best friend in high school. Sometimes the notes include the date I made the dish, who I tried the recipe on and the results such as “so good!” or “needs more salt.”
There are arguments that I should scan all these into the computer and make a virtual scrapbook but I never will. I love holding the very piece of paper my mother wrote out her ideas for a Spanish dinner party on or the cookie recipe she clipped from the paper with full intentions of making someday.
I pulled out a clipping the other day that I never recall my mother making for “Iced Cherry Rings” – shortbread type cookie studded with candied cherries and drizzled with a sweet glaze. The date for the clipping was gone but it is obvious it was from a time when good women stayed home and baked cookies for their children to have after school. I can see why my mother, an English woman and fruitcake lover, would pull out this recipe to try. I however am not a fan of candied fruit so I used maraschino cherries, in fact I used a natural, dye and corn syrup free maraschino cherry. I cut out the center in a heart shape instead of a circle, just a little tribute to Mom. Obviously the original recipe was not gluten-free but it was easy enough to convert with the use of good quality gluten free flour and adjusting the baking time and temperature. I also added some vanilla and salt because, well, I just had to.
The dough for these cookies is really interesting; it is dry and crumbly almost like sand until you work it with your hands, then it comes together into workable dough. I love the fact that our hands literally transform ingredients into cookies.
These are charming cookies and I am happy to have finally fulfilled one of my mother’s culinary dreams.
Gluten Free Iced Cherry Ring Cookies Recipe
- ½ cup unsalted butter - plus more for greasing the pans
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
- 1½ cups gluten-free flour - (be sure to use one that includes either xanthan or guar gum, if not add 1 teaspoon)
- ¼ cup maraschino cherries - dried well and chopped
- ½ cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1½ tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice - (more or less)
- 2 -3 drops maraschino cherry liquid
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease 2 baking sheets with butter (or line with silicone baking mats).
- Cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg yolk, vanilla, and lemon zest, and mix well. Stir in the flour, add the cherries and mix with your hands until it forms a soft dough.
- Lightly flour a surface, roll out the dough to a ¼ inch thickness and cut into 3 inch rounds with a cookie cutter. Cut out the center of each cookie with a 1 inch cookie cutter. Place the rings on the prepared baking sheets. Re-roll any trimmings and cut more cookies. Bake the cookies in the preheated oven for 15 minutes or until they are firm and just beginning to color. Let cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
- Mix the confectioners’ sugar with lemon juice and maraschino cherry juice until it becomes a smooth paste. It may take a little less or more lemon juice, so start with less and add a little at a time. Drizzle over the cooled cookies and let stand until the icing sets, about 30 minutes.
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