How to Make Buttery-Sweet Gluten-Free Corn Cookies

Gluten Free Tuesday

Delicious, no-compromise recipes for those who need to live a gluten-free lifestyle, but don't want it to taste like it.

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Delicious gluten-free corn cookies. [Photograph: Elizabeth Barbone]

The other day, my husband and I disagreed over an important subject: the flavor of a particular type of cookie I had just baked.

"They taste like a cookie-version of buttery corn on the cob, or maybe a corn muffin in cookie form," I mused.

"I'm getting more of a Cap'n Crunch thing, but, like, with butter poured over the cereal, instead of milk," he countered.

The source of this disagreement? My gluten-free version of Christina Tosi's corn cookies from her Milk Bar cookbook.

For months, I'd wanted to make the cookies. I just couldn't find the freeze-dried corn kernels needed for what Tosi calls "freeze-dried corn powder." Not to be confused with cornmeal, corn flour, or cornstarch, her corn powder is made by grinding freeze-dried corn kernels in a food processor or blender. Honestly, before I saw this recipe, I didn't even know freeze-dried corn kernels were a thing.

To make the recipe gluten-free, I swapped the wheat flour for white rice flour, since I didn't want the flavor of the flour to compete with the corn flavor in the cookies. Then I bumped up the amount of corn flour (finely ground cornmeal) just a little. I left everything else alone. For this recipe, I didn't use xanthan gum. Since these are drop cookies, I figured that they didn't need the shape-strengthening properties that xanthan gum brings to a gluten-free recipe.

The other important "ingredient" in this recipe is a kitchen timer. The butter-sugar-egg mixture is creamed for a full seven minutes, during which time it turns white and airy. Creaming butter for this long is a common step in butter cakes—it helps the butter hold onto air and helps the cake rise. For cookies, you usually only cream the butter-sugar-egg for about 30 to 45 seconds: over-creaming butter in a cookie recipe causes cookies to spread. And spread these did—into wonderfully thin, crisp cookies!

For my first tray, I followed the recipe and used 1/3 cup of dough for each cookie. I knew that much dough would make really big cookies, but when first converting a recipe to be gluten-free, I like to follow the creator's directions to remove any extra variables, at least at first. The cookies were so big, though, that they baked together into an ameba-shaped cookie-cake blob. So I reduced the size of the cookies from 1/3 cup of dough to 1 1/3 tablespoons. The baked cookies were about 3 1/2 inches across.

As for the flavor, I'll let you settle the debate my husband and I had. For now, let's just say they're somewhere between buttery corn on the cob and a buttery bowl of Cap'n Crunch—at least we both agree that the cookies are buttery! And, dare I say it, they're almost too buttery for me. So, if you don't love a really buttery cookie, you can reduce the amount this recipe calls for. When you cut the butter down, the cookies won't spread as much, but they'll still be unusually delicious.