Recipe: Melting Snowman Cookies featuring the Melting Snowmen Duo
My earlier entries for A Gluten Free Holiday 2011:
nothing says love like a gift from the kitchen
A week ago, I didn’t really know what I was going to make for this week’s event. I was thinking along the lines of homemade candy but then I saw a picture on Facebook of a “Melting Snowman Cookie” and I fell in love with the idea of putting together a Gluten Free version of the adorable little holiday cookies. I admit I’m a bit of a sucker for cute edible sweets, just check out my Must-Make Recipe Board on Pinterest and you’ll see.
My version of the Melting Snowman Cookies is gluten free but it is not guilt-free, at least for me it’s not. How about you? How do you feel when you’re about to consume something that you’re pretty sure is not that healthy for you?
Ever since I went Gluten Free, I’ve tried to stick to healthier choices when feeding my body but at times, it is a struggle, especially when I’m up against a very persuasive sweet tooth! This year, was the first time, I had a really strong desire to go against the norm and give out something other than candy treats for Halloween. In the end, I gave in and picked up a bag of mini candy bars to give out to the little Trick-or-Treaters at our door.
I guess I’m dealing with the same conflicting feelings around Christmas Treats. I’ve been going along with (and enjoying) the norm all of my life but suddenly, this year, my lifestyle veered away from the norm. So what should I do? Am I to turn my back completely on the things I always enjoyed, or switch them up a bit to make them fit my healthier new lifestyle? I do need to switch them up to make the cookies Gluten Free but my mind is churning with ideas making Melting Snowman cookies that are sugar-free, dye-free and vegan. I’ve included some links below for healthier recipe options. Please let me know about your results, if you decide to give them a try to don’t be surprised if these cute little guys or some variation of them, makes a “healthier” appearance in a future posting on this Fox Kitchen.
After seeing a picture of a Melting Snowman Cookie on Facebook, I went on a search for the recipe. In my quest, I found a bloggers lament, there’s a bit of a story about our little melting snowman. He made his first appearance as Mr Melty on The Decorated Cookie Blog in 2008 but then, as his creator Meaghan tells it in this December 2010 posting, her little snowman, created using fondant instead of marshmallow, had become very popular, “he struck a chord”. I guess in tech terms, you could say he went viral and as too often happens in the blogosphere, his origins became muddled. He started making appearances everywhere with many taking creative credit but then Meaghan with some supportive readers (yay! for devoted readers!!) decided to take a stand…
A few (loyal readers) apparently had some very unpleasant exchanges when they tried to offer the original source. And then I saw Mr. Melty himself, my very photo, entered in a contest…Part of the reason I submitted Mr. Melty to this book…Now he has my name attached to him in print.
Meaghan has since created a couple of new looks for her Mr Melty. You should pop on over to her blog to check them out. You may even prefer to follow her designs using fondant but if you decide to use my gluten free recipes, please link back here and be sure to give Meaghan Mountford of The Decorated Cookie credit for the original melting snowman concept. While we are on the subject of giving credit, I’m not sure who to credit for the idea of using melted marshmallows in place of the fondant, but Stacey of Truly Custom Cakery has a detailed tutorial on how to make them and lastly, I would like to mention Megan of Crazy Domestic. It was her posting about these adorable cookies is what led me to discover the origin of Mr Melty.
Making these cookies is a project. It’s much like baking and building a Gingerbread House but it is a fun project that I’m sure kids would love and it is easily broken down into various stages. I prepped the dough one night and then did the baking and some of the decorating the next day.
For younger kids, instead of using colored icing to decorate, they might find it easier to use candies or chopped pieces of dried fruit for the eyes and mouth, mini chocolate chips for buttons, cut up fruit leather for a scarf or mittens, a chocolate wafer and gum-drop for a hat, white sprinkles or coconut to add texture to the snow, etc. Let your imagination go wild, have fun!
I must say, the thing I enjoyed most about this project was how each of my little snowman was unique. Not one of my guys looked identical to another. The only thing they have in common, is they are all wearing toques but of course they are, after all, they’re Canadian Snowmen.
There are three main steps in the making of Melting Snowmen cookies:
make your gluten free sugar cookie dough and allow it to chill for a couple of hours or freeze for future use
roll out or form the cookies by hand, bake and allow to cool
make the icing, divide into bowls, add coloring, ice the cookies with puddles of melting snow white icing, add snowman’s marshmallow head, allow to set for a few minutes, decorate cookies with coloured icing.
What you will need:
Important ***Always refer to packaging labels for the most up to date allergy information.
~ One batch of Gluten Free Cut Out Sugar Cookie Dough
I used the Soft Sugar Cookies (Gluten Free) recipe as listed below but you can use your own favourite recipe for Cut Out Sugar Cookies, or if you prefer, here are some of other options
- A cookie dough mix. Amazon carries the 1 2 3 brand of Gluten Free Cut Out Sugar Cookie Mix
- Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free, Cut-Out Sugar Cookies (dairy-free but not egg-free) by Amy at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free.
- Stevia Sweetened Sugar Cookies (gluten-free and vegan) with Sugar-Free Icing by Nourishing Meals.
~ Royal Icing and Food Color
Along with some small writing tubes of Cake Mate Decorating Icing, I used Rogers Icing Sugar (Canada) in the Egg-Free Royal Icing recipe listed below but you can use any of your favourite recipes for Decorating Icing, or buy pre-packaged GF Cookie Icing, or for a healthier option, you can try this recipe
- Alea at My Real Food Life has a Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Soy-Free, Sugar-Free and Dye-Free Icing recipe. I’m not sure if Alea’s icing will dry enough to use on decorated cookies but I love the dye-free coloring options Alea has offered. If the icing stays too soft, you could use it to make Melting Snowmen Cupcakes (non-gluten-free recipe but adaptable) instead of cookies.
Note: I used a tube of Wilton’s black Ready-to-use Gel but I would not recommend it for two reasons. One, I could not verify that it is Gluten Free and two, the Gel is too runny and it does not dry. Even after 48 hours, it was still sticky, making it difficult to wrap or stack the decorated cookies. I ended up adding a small handful of melted chocolate chips to some of my Royal Icing and used it to for the eyes, mouth and twig arms. Although it was brown, not black, I found it worked better for me than the Wilton Ready-to-use Gel.
~ Large GF Marshmallows
I used Wal-Mart Great Value Marshmallows they are GF, DF, CF, Egg-Free but are NOT SF or Corn-Free. Here is a refined SF and Corn-Free recipe option
- The Nourishing Gourmet has a recipe for Fluffy Honey Sweetened Homemade Marshmallows (corn-free). These marshmallows are square but you could probably use a small glass to cut them into a roundish shape, or just call your cookies Melting SquarePants Snowmen
- Instead of piping the details, use candies, chopped dried fruit, mini chocolate chips, cut up fruit leather, chocolate wafer and gum-drop for hat, white sprinkles, coconut, etc.
Important *** Always refer to packaging labels for the most up to date allergy information.
Step one, make your gluten free sugar cookie dough and allow it to chill for a couple of hours or freeze for future use and Step two, roll out or form the cookies by hand, bake and allow to cool
Gluten-Free | Vegetarian
- Step 1!
- In a medium bowl, whisk together white rice flour, sweet rice flour, brown rice flour, tapioca starch, potato starch, baking powder, and a pinch salt.
- In a stand mixer, beat butter with sugar on high, until pale and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, waiting for each egg to fully incorporate before adding in the next. Beat an extra minute or two after last egg, and add vanilla.
- With the mixer on low, fold in flour mixture, and mix until fully incorporated. Remove from mixing bowl, and form into a large disk. Wrap with plastic wrap or place the dough inside a large zip-lock style bag, refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours (dough can now be frozen or stored in this state).
- When you’re ready to make the cookies, preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat baking mat.
- Laureen’s Notes: it is easiest to work with this dough when it is cold. I made my cookies in small batches, storing the dough in the fridge between each batch.
- Lay a large piece of parchment paper out on your counter, lightly sprinkle with sweet rice flour (or fine GF flour of choice). You can either form each cookie by hand as I did or you can roll the dough out and use a large round cookie cutter. Keep the dough to at least 1/4 inch but less than 1/2 inch thickness. You don’t want it too thin, or the cookies will crumble when you ice them. These cookies will puff up but will spread very little, so you can place them fairly close together.
- Option #1: Remove about a quarter of the dough, return the remaining dough to the fridge. Pinch off a small piece of dough, pat it lightly on the floured surface, and roll up into a ball. For a single Melting Snowman cookie, make a ball of dough slightly larger than a golf ball. For the Melting Snowmen Duo Cookie, make a ball of dough about the size of a medium lemon. Place on the floured surface, flatten with the palm of your hand, flour your hands if the dough is sticky. Use your fingers to further flatten and to shape your cookie. I made some of my cookies an oval shape and some a lopsided circle shape. Place on the prepared cookie sheet. Repeat until of the dough is used up.
- Option #2: Remove about a quarter of the dough, return the remaining dough to the fridge. Roll the dough out on the floured surface, use a large round cookie cutter to cut into circles. For a single Melting Snowman cookie, make the unbaked circle of dough about 3 1/2 inches across. For the Melting Snowmen Duo Cookie, make the unbaked oval of dough about 4 inches by 6 inches rounded. Place on the prepared cookie sheet. Repeat until of the dough is used up.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes in 350°F oven. For even cooking results, spin the cookie sheet after about 6 minutes. Watch the cookies closely, bake only until just puffed and set, remove them as they begin to brown around the edges. This will give you a cookie that is soft and not crunchy.
- Let cool on the pan for 5 minutes and then use a thin lifter to gently transfer cookies to a wire cooling rack. The cookies are really fragile when warm but they do firm up nicely after they’ve cooled.
- Allow cookies to cool completely before icing!
Step three: make the icing, divide into bowls, add coloring, ice the cookies with puddles of melting snow white icing, add snowman’s marshmallow head, allow to set for a few minutes, decorate cookies with colored icing
Recipe based on the Eggless Royal Icing from My Diverse Kitchen
Gluten Free | Vegetarian
- 1 Cup GF icing sugar
- 3 tsp cornstarch
- 1 Tbsp GF white vanilla
- 4 tsp creamo or milk or water (I used creamo because it made the whitest icing to match the white marshmallows)
- a few drops food coloring (colour and amount as desired)
- Sift the sugar and cornstarch together and put it into a bowl. Add the vanilla and milk, 1 tsp at a time, until the mixture becomes a smooth, but thick paste for the colored decorating.
- Add more milk, 1 tsp at a time, until the mixture becomes slightly runny for the white melting puddles of snow.
- Divide a small amount of the icing into different bowls according to the colours you need. Add a few drops of required colour to each bowl and mix until you get the shades you want.
- To test for the right consistency: Using a knife, scoop a little of your runny icing and hold above the bowl. As it drips, count to 10. By the count of 10, the icing that dripped down should meld into the icing in the bowl so there is no sign of where your drips landed.
- You can adjust the consistency of this icing according to your needs. If you want to thin the icing add a bit of milk or water and mix until you get the desired consistency. If you need it thicker, add more icing sugar as required.
Final Step, Assembling Melting Snowman Cookies
The Melting Snowman concept originated with Mr Melty by Meaghan Mountford of The Decorated Cookie. Stacey of Truly Custom Cakery has a detailed tutorial on how to make Melted Snowmen Cookies and Megan of Crazy Domestic posted her own spin on making these adorable cookies.
- One batch of Gluten Free Cut Out Sugar Cookie Dough (recipe above)
- Large GF Marshmallows
- Royal Icing and Food Color
- Optional: Instead of piping details, use candies, chopped dried fruit, mini chocolate chips, cut up fruit leather, chocolate wafer and gumdrop for hat, white sprinkles, coconut, etc.
- Cover some trays and/or a small work area with parchment paper. I covered my cutting boards and used the kitchen table as my work area.
- Once the cookies have cooled, spoon some of the runny white icing on your cookie, use the back of the spoon or a knife to push the icing right to the edge, allowing it to run and puddle over in spots.
- Set aside on parchment paper to catch drips. Repeat until all cookies have a base of white “melting snow”.
- Grease a microwave safe plate or silicone mat with a small amount of coconut oil or cooking spray.
- Place about half a dozen marshmallows on the plate, spaced evenly apart.
- Set the microwave for 15-20 seconds, but watch the marshmallows closely. You don’t want them to double in size or to melt. Stop the microwave as soon as the marshmallows start to puff up.
- Grease your fingers with coconut oil, pick up one marshmallow at a time from the base. Place it on top of a frosted cookie and gently push down on the top to give it more of a melting look. Set aside, repeat with remaining cookies and then leave for a few minutes to set.
- You are now ready to decorate as you please. Use some piping bags if you have some or you can do like I did and use a sturdy zip-lock style of bag with a very small hole cut in the corner. If you’re using candy, fruit and chocolate chips to decorate.
- Note: if you’re using candy, fruit and chocolate to decorate your cookies, you will need a small amount of sticky (not too runny) icing to use as glue.
If you enjoyed Decorating these cookies, or would like to learn more about the craft, I recommend The Daring Bakers Decorated Sugar Cookies Challenge where you will find a detailed tutorial by Mandy, the hostess. She has some links for alternate Sugar Cookie recipes and for Royal Icing plus, there is a slide show featuring countless inspirational Decorated Sugar Cookies submissions from The Members of The Daring Kitchen.
Don’t forget to check back here on Thursday, December 1st, for Week 4 of A Gluten Free Holiday Event. We’ll be sharing Holiday Entrees & Sides Dishes for Christmas and Hanukkah. The host for Week 4 is Hallie at Daily Bites.
To see a text listing of Laureen’s gluten free recipes, click here
For dairy, egg, nut and gluten free flour substitutions, click here
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