My youngest son & me

My youngest son & me

About me

My name is Tanja (Sater) Miller and I'm excited about sharing my journey of converting my favorite recipes to gluten free! I am not a fancy cook - I prefer just a casual, fun meal. I am married with grown children (and have small grandchildren) & 3 dogs. I work full time as a registered nurse & I am a geek. Yes, I love Star Trek, Star Wars, Fringe, Firefly, Farscape and most of the other Scify shows. You will probably see a little of my geek side come out once in a while! Please join me on my journey of cooking, baking & converting every day recipes into yummy gluten free meals that everyone can enjoy (not just those with a gluten allergy!) Don't be shy about checking out my recipes....I have the gluten free version along with the regular recipe that I adapted from!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Gluten Free Butter Pecan Cookies

Butter Pecan Cookies with Chocolate Chips (optional)
Butter Pecan Cookies. With or without chocolate chips. SCRUMPTIOUS! The browned butter flavor + toasted pecans & brown sugar = SCRUMPTIOUS! It's an old fashioned recipe that I have re-vamped into gluten free. If you don't have a gluten allergy then you can just use regular flour in place of the gluten free flour. My husband likes it with the added dark chocolate chips...I like it best without chocolate although either way is delicious. Seriously, how can you go wrong with butter, pecans and brown sugar?! The rich flavor of browned butter combined with the melt in your mouth brown sugar + crunchy toasted pecans... I think I could just eat the combination with a spoon....if calories didn't count!

I had to play around with this particular recipe to make the gluten free version taste delicious. The original recipe called for granulated white sugar but I found it made the cookies too crumbly. Switched it to brown sugar and got the texture I wanted. I also HIGHLY RECOMMEND that you brown your butter. It really brings out the incredible flavor in these cookies and you don't want to miss that tantalizing flavor on your taste buds! Trust me! I have tried it both ways and there is no comparison. The flavor is so much more intense if you brown your butter. (Browning butter simply means to cook it in a saucepan on medium heat until it is completely melted and the butter becomes a golden caramel color and has some sediment. Don't strain off the sediment. Use all of the yummy melted butter that is in the pan....including the sediment). I have never made this particular recipe with margarine or a butter substitute so I don't know if it would turn out the same but I doubt it. The browned butter plays a key role in the flavor of this cookie. I am sure if you have a dairy allergy or nut allergy you could tweak this recipe and still end up with a great cookie....but it won't be the same intense flavors. I also highly recommend that you lightly toast your chopped pecans to bring out their rich flavor and crunch. I have also added toffee bits in the past but I thought it made the cookie a little too sweet....although some people just loved it. Personal preference!

Butter Pecan Cookie Recipe:
  • 1/2 cup real butter (Don't skimp here. Use real butter for the best flavor! There is a difference in this recipe!)
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum (use this only if you are using gluten free flour mix that doesn't already contain xanthan or guar gum. If you are using regular flour, omit this!)
  • 1 1/2 cups gluten free flour blend (I used Trader Joe's brand in today's recipe. If you don't have a gluten allergy then you can use regular flour). I personally avoid gluten free flour blends that contain sorghum in my sweet baked goods. I don't like the flavor. It's fine in savory breads.
  • 1/2 cup finely ground almonds or pecans (or you can just use additional 1/2 cup gluten free flour if you don't have this ingredient. I have tried it both ways and it works fine either way).
  • 1 cup chopped pecans, lightly toasted.
  • 1 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, optional (I usually take half the dough and leave out the chocolate chips and put about 3/4 cup of chocolate chips in the other half).
In a small saucepan, brown the butter. The butter will melt completely and turn a golden caramel color. It will have sediment in the bottom which is normal. I use all of it....sediment included for this cookie recipe. I pour it into my mixing bowl and let it cool slightly while I toast the pecans. (You don't want to mix really hot butter with the eggs!). I toast the pecans either in a skillet on medium heat stirring frequently so they don't burn just until lightly toasted. The other option is to put on a cookie sheet for 3-5 minutes or until lightly toasted. Watch the nuts closely! They can get burned really quickly! That is the one reason why I do the butter and the pecans separately. That way I can focus on one at a time and not ruin either of them. Butter and pecans are both expensive and I don't want to burn either of them! Add the brown sugar and cream until smooth. Add the eggs and beat for about 2 minutes. Add the salt, baking soda, baking powder and mix well. Add flour (and xanthan gum if you are using gf flour that doesn't already contain it or guar gum). Mix in toasted nuts. If you are using chocolate chips, add them too. Stir by hand. Batter will be slightly thick.  I refrigerate my batter for at least an hour. It is easier to handle and the cookies won't spread so much. They will come out slightly thick, soft and chewy. I found that if I didn't refrigerate the dough, the cookies spread a little more and came out a little crispier. Place spoonfuls onto parchment paper lined cookie sheets. Bake 350 degrees for about 9-11 minutes or until lightly golden. Cool before removing from cookie sheets. (I find that if I refrigerate my cookie dough for about an hour then the cookies will be a little thicker and don't spread as much. Both ways are delicious!)

Makes about 3 dozen nice sized cookies or 4 dozen small cookies

By the way, I took these cookies into work yesterday. They all claim they don't like nuts in baked goods. The cookies were all gone by 9am! (The traditional chocolate chip cookies were the last ones eaten!). I have to agree....I normally don't care for nuts in my cookies but these were so darn tasty. The butter and toasted pecans just explode flavor in your mouth. This recipe is a keeper! 

I used farm fresh eggs in this recipe today. My friend April gave me some assorted fresh eggs from her chickens. Different types of chickens lay different colored eggs. (They all cook up the same way but they look so cool looking). I almost hated using the eggs because they were so pretty! I have never had such a beautiful assortment of eggs. I wish I would have photographed the eggs before I used them. I had speckled, brown, white and light green eggs! I love using fresh eggs in my baked goods. Everything always turns out so much fluffier with fresh eggs! Thanks April! If I lived out of the city limits...I would definitely have chickens! I love fresh eggs!

With chocolate chips. See the yummy pecan pieces?

Ready for taste testing! (My favorite part)

These are the crispier version (no refrigerating before baking)

Up close view of the crispier ones

Butter Pecan (no chocolate chips). Crispier version (no refrigerating before baking)

Butter Pecan Cookies (Crispier version. No refrigerating before baking)

I hope you enjoyed my journey making these old fashioned cookies into a delicious gluten free version that everyone will enjoy! These would be a wonderful treat for your special Valentine!

Happy Baking!
Gluten Free Casually

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