With so much interest these days in gluten-free products, it’s still surprisingly difficult to find baked treats that actually taste good. Many are too sweet or don’t have the feel in the mouth and texture that most of us expect from our favorite baked foods. Fortunately Heather Hardcastle’s Flour Craft Bakery in downtown San Anselmo gets it right.
The landscape-designer-turned-pastry-chef opened Flour Craft with her husband more than four years ago. She has since developed a robust online business, provides her bread and granola to cafes and independent retailers and has even developed a special line for Williams Sonoma.
Along with savory items, scones, cookies and granola, Flour Craft offers up a full holiday menu that includes a Buche de Noel, vegan donuts, orange polenta cake, a vegan cranberry and orange galette and panettone.
Take note, gluten-free lovers: Hardcastle will be opening a second location of Flour Craft Bakery at the Mill Valley Lumber Yard site next spring. In the meantime, here is a recipe for a cookie that wheat-fearers and wheat-lovers alike will find scrumptious.
Flour Craft Bakery, 702 San Anselmo Ave., San Anselmo; 415/453-3100; flourcraftbakery.com.
Gluten-Free Pecan Snowball Cookies
Yields around 40 cookies
1 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup white rice flour
1/2 cup tapioca starch
2 cups pecans
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar, for dusting
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment.
-In a food processor, grind the flours, pecans, sugar, salt and xanthan gum together until the mixture resembles a coarse meal and no pecan chunks remain.
-Add soft butter a bit at a time and pulse until mixture comes together and a dough forms. The dough will be quite soft.
-Using your hands, form the dough into a wide, flat disk, picking up any loose pieces along the way to reincorporate them.
-Wrap disk tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until completely chilled, at least two hours, or overnight.
-Remove dough from the fridge and allow to come to room temperature. Roll the dough into balls between your palms, about the size of 1 tablespoon. Place on lined baking sheet, spaced 1 inch apart.
-Bake cookies 10-12 minutes until center is just set and edges are very light golden brown. The cookies will firm up as they cool.
-Allow cookies to cool completely before covering in powdered sugar.