Snickerdoodles were my Father-in-Law’s all-time favorite cookie! Every Christmas I would make him a batch of Snickerdoodles and he would have them all eaten before we left at the end of the week.
He passed away a couple years ago. The first year without him, I couldn’t bring myself to make his cookies without him here to eat them. But now I think it is time to bring them out again and remember all the good times we had together.
I decided to take his favorite Snickerdoodle recipe and turn it into a gluten free / sugar free cookie. It took some trial and error, but in the end I came up with the perfect gluten-free / sugar-free / low carb Snickerdoodle!
First, I replaced the flour with a custom gluten free flour blend. Then I replaced the sugar with Xylitol. I mixed up all the ingredients and gave it a taste. The raw dough is the BEST part of making cookies, right? It was so good! I had to contain myself not to keep eating it. At least I tried. Slightly.
The first batch came out not so right. It was not baked all the way through and was too dark on the outside – like the Xylitol was burnt.
So what did I do?
I tried to adjust the oven temperature and baking time, knowing this was a long shot. The Snickerdoodle dough had too much xanthan gum and changing the temperature doesn’t make the xanthan gum magically disappear.
But, what did work was adding a splash of milk! The dough was dry for the first attempts. When I added the milk, it was sticky. This is a bit counter intuitive. If a cookie isn’t baked through enough, it seems like there is too much moisture, right? Well, xanthan gum needs moisture to work. Cookie dough is notoriously low on moisture (butter doesn’t count), which made the xanthan gum not quite hydrated. By adding a bit of milk and letting the dough sit for 10-15 minutes, the xanthan gum was able to hydrate.
Now, I had Snickerdoodles that were cooked through properly! Hooray!!
So were these an exact replica of the original Snickerdoodles? Not exactly. As I mentioned, the Xylitol seemed a bit dark. The problem I stumbled into is that Xylitol has a much lower melting point than sugar. Xyltiol melts at 197.6oF whereas sugar melts at 366.8oF. I ended up with a runny mess from the Xylitol melting on the outside of the cookie. For future attempts, I rolled the Snickerdoodles in Cinnamon only and not a Cinnamon/Xylitol mixture. The cookie was sweet enough without the extra Xylitol on the outside anyway. Also, my darling husband said he could taste the freshness that comes through in the Xylitol. Removing the Xylitol from the coating also made this go away.
Next, although I got a cookie baked through, it was very dense. This one is a bit more tricky to fix. There are a lot of factors that go into how dense a cookie is. I used a flour mix that works really well for my GF chocolate chip cookies. Well, this was where I went wrong. I like chewy, melt in your mouth chocolate chip cookies. But that’s not how I would describe Snickerdoodles. They should be lighter, fluffier. More like a soft crumb.
How do we fix that? We need more air generated. That’s a leavening problem, right? The recipe calls for 1 teaspoon baking soda. I replaced this with 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and 1 teaspoon baking powder. Much better! Now that’s what I call a light and fluffy Snickerdoodle!
Low Carb Snickerdoodles Recipe
- 1/2 cup Butter softened
- 1/2 cup Xylitol
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
- 2 Eggs room temperature
- 1/2 cup Milk
- 1/2 cup Agave Syrup Substitution: May substitute 1/2 cup honey instead
- 2 1/3 Cups Brown Rice Flour
- 7 teaspoons Tapioca Flour
- 1/4 Cup Cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon Xanthan Gum
- 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
- 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
- 1/4 teaspoon Salt
- 1/2 cup Walnuts finely chopped
- 1-2 tablespoons Ground Cinnamon
- Beat butter and xylitol until light and fluffy. Mix in the vanilla and egg whites (reserving the egg yolks). Add milk and agave syrup. Beat until well combined.
- In a separate bowl, combine the brown rice flour, tapioca flour, cornstarch, xanthan gum, baking soda, and baking powder.
- Add the dry ingredients and egg yolks to the mixing bowl with the butter mixture. Mix until just moistened. Add the chopped walnuts and mix again until just combined. Cover and chill the dough for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350F. Add the cinnamon to a separate dish for coating the cookies. Roll 1 tablespoon of dough into a ball. Roll in the cinnamon to lightly coat. Place on a cookie sheet. Slightly flatten each cookie.
- Bake for 9-11 minutes, until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Store in an airtight container.