Gluten-Free Plum Anise Bar Cookies

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Crispy on the outside, soft and delicate and crumbly on the inside, with chewy bits of dried plum and a light sweet anise perfume—these little morsels fit the bill for any holiday gifting. It’s almost like shortbread, crumbly and sweet, but the moist fruit is a delicious surprise inside.

Ingredients

  • 2 cup Hodgson Mill Gluten-Free Multipurpose Baking Mix, plus more for dusting
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 8 Tbsp butter, or margarine
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp anise seed, ground
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp anise extract, optional
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest, or orange zest, optional
  • 1 cup dried plums
  • 1/8 cup turbinado, or coarse sugar

Directions

In a medium bowl, combine Gluten-Free Multipurpose Baking Mix, baking powder, and salt. In a another medium mixing bowl, use a mixer to beat the butter and granulated sugar together until well blended but not fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.

Add the egg, extracts, and anise and blend until smooth. Add dry ingredients then mix and blend until completely combined, about 1-2 minutes. Use a spatula to scrape sides of bowl as needed.

Divide dough in half and spoon onto two large pieces of plastic wrap or parchment paper (preferred method.) Flatten each into a rectangle, wrap tightly, and refrigerate at least 1 hour, but preferably 2 hours. (Overnight won’t hurt.)

Sprinkle one large piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap (parchment paper preferred), with a little extra Gluten-Free Multipurpose Baking Mix. Place one rectangle of dough in middle of paper, dust with more Gluten-Free Multipurpose Baking Mix, and lay another sheet of parchment paper on top to sandwich. Gently roll out until it’s roughly 14 deep by 18 inches wide. It should be between 1/8 – ¼ inches thick.

Peel top paper off of dough. If dough sticks, return it to refrigerator for 10-15 minutes until you can peel it off cleanly. Once top paper is off, then evenly spread ½ cup of dried fruit and half of zest on one half of the dough. (See picture above for detail, otherwise, imagine the rectangle is an open book and you are only putting the filling on one page, so you can close it.)

In one motion, grab the bottom paper on the side not sprinkled with fruit, and “close the book”—fold the empty half of the sheet of dough to cover the filling. Then, sprinkle entire top lightly with coarse sugar and pat lightly to press it in and make sure it sticks.

Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter coated with a little nonstick spray, cut rectangle into 4 strips the long way, then cut each strip into 4  columns to make 16-20 square-ish pieces, which each measure one to two inches per side.  Transfer squares to parchment-paper-lined baking sheet. If squares do not transfer cleanly, refrigerate for another 10-15 minutes and try again.

Bake 12-15 minutes, or until edges are lightly brown but tops are still pale. Repeat process with second rectangle of dough.

Notes: Keeps up to one week if kept tightly sealed in a cool place. Cool completely before storing. Can also opt to skip rolling out and just make a drop cookie – fold in fruit and zest (if using) after completely blending in dry ingredients. Refrigerate for one hour, then drop by teaspoonful on a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet and bake as directed above.



Makes 24-36 1 ½ – 2 inch square cookies. Print this Recipe

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