In total the Exchange tested 15 different recipes and these were our favorites. There is also 1 caramel recipe that is used in 3 different cookies which is awesome because you can make one batch a caramel and use it for 3 different types of cookies.
At the very bottom of this post is a super awesome way of decorating sugar cookies-plus the BEST recipe for icing that I have used.
Gluten Free Salted Caramel Pretzel Cookies Recipe
Gluten Free 1.5 cups broken thin pretzels
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1.75 cups Robin Hood Nutri Flour Blend-Gluten Free
1. Place the pretzels in a ziploc bag and crush with rolling pin or meat mallet until coarse crumbles. If this doesn`t get them ground up enough, double bag the pretzels and step on them-sounds silly but it was the best way to crumble them.
2. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar with a mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks, honey, vanilla, and salt until incorporated. Then add to butter mixture and mix until combined. Turn mixer to low and add pretzel and flour until just combined.
4. Using a cookie scoop drop teaspoon of dough into your hand, roll into a ball. Make sure your pan is lined with parchment paper. Each cookie sheet should have approximately 12 cookies.
5. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
7. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until lightly golden.
8. Let cool for 3 minutes on baking sheets and then transfer to a baking rack to cool completely.
9. Drizzle each cookie with caramel (from recipe below) and sprinkle with kosher salt.
(You will have extra caramel after this recipe- which is perfect for using in the Apple Pie Cookies and the Turtle Skor Bites)
1 stick of unsalted butter 1 cup + 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, loosely packed 1 cup heavy whipping cream 1/2 cups of light corn syrup 1 teaspoon vanilla
1. In a heavy large saucepan, melt butter over low heat.
2. Add brown sugar, whipping cream, and corn syrup and mix well.
3. Cook over medium-high heat, until boiling. Reduce to medium heat. Clip candy thermometer to side of pan and continue cooking and stirring until 248 degrees. Pull away from heat when caramel reaches 248 degrees. (Around 45 – 60 minutes.)
4. Immediately, take tablespoon-sized amounts of caramel and place into indentation on pretzel cookies. Immediately sprinkle with kosher salt.
Toffee Pecan Clusters
2 1/2 C pecans
2 tb butter
2 tb brown sugar
1 package milk chocolate chips
1/2 t shortening
Ingredients for Caramel recipe in Gluten Free Salted Caramel Pretzels (above)
In a large skillet, 2 tb of butter and 2 tb of brown sugar together.Toss 2 1/2 cups of pecans in. Toast them over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until they have darkened. Should only take a few minutes.
Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper and spray it with cooking spray. Arrange your pecans into clusters, three to a group works well.
Make your toffee. Follow the recipe in the Gluten Free Salted Caramel Pretzel Cookies. Keep your caramel on the stove until you get a roaring boil-about 1 hour. Test your toffee by putting a spoon into the mixture and pulling it out. If it starts to harden in 30 seconds then it is good to go. If not, continue to boil.
Carefully drizzle about 1 1/2 teaspoons of toffee over each nut cluster. You’ll want to work quickly, as the caramel will begin to set up. Be sure there is caramel touching all of the nuts in your cluster. The caramel works like glue, sticking the nuts together.
In a microwave safe bowl pour 12 ounces of milk chocolate chips. Heat in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirring after each cooking interval.
Add 1/2 teaspoon of shortening to the melted chocolate. Allow it to sit for a minute or two (so it can melt and make the chocolate chips more spreadable). Stir it all together.
Spoon about 1 1/2 teaspoons of melted chocolate over the top of the caramel and nuts. Swirl it around along the top making a pretty swoop with your spoon.
Allow the chocolate to set up. Once it has hardened and cooled you can serve them immediately, or transfer them to an air tight container.
Christmas Tree Meringue
4 egg whites at room temp
1 Cup granulated sugar
pinch cream of tartar
⅛ tsp vanilla extract
green food coloring
multi color sprinkles
Heat oven to 200 degrees. Place egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar in a bowl of your stand mixer. Place bowl over boiling water on the stove. Whisk vigorously until sugar dissolved and there are no more sugar granules visible. Remove from heat and whisk in extract.
Using the whisk attachment on stand mixer, mix on medium high until egg whites become bright white but still runny. Add in food coloring to the color you want and continue to beat to form stiff peaks.
Place mixture into piping bag with large star tip. Pipe cookies onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silicone mat. Make cookies about 1 inch in width, 2 inches high and place 1 inch apart on baking sheet. Sprinkle with the multi color sprinkles.
Cook for 2 hours. After 2 hours, turn off oven, open door slightly and let sit in oven an additional 2 hours.
Peppermint White Chocolate Cookies
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. baking soda
2 1/4 cups flour
1 small package (3.9 oz.) vanilla pudding mix
1 cup sugar
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup crushed peppermints or candy canes
Cream together butter and sugar
Beat in dry instant pudding mix
Add eggs and vanilla and mix well
Add baking soda and flour and mix well
Stir in peppermints and white chocolate chips
Roll into 1" balls and place on a baking sheet lined with a Silpat (or a greased baking sheet)
Bake for 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees.
Apple Pie Cookies
1 package Refrigerated Pie Crust (2 crusts)
5 oz Caramel (see the caramel recipe in the gluten free salted carmel pretzel cookies)
10 oz Apple Pie Filling
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Nutmeg
1/4 cup Sugar
Preheat the oven to 350.
Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Allow crusts to warm slightly to make them easier to work with.
Dust work area with flour and slightly roll out crusts.
Spread a thin layer of caramel on one of the crusts.
Place the apple pie filling in a blender to make smaller apple chunks.
Cut other crust into quarter inch strips.
Use strips to create a lattice top over pie covered crust.
Cut out circles and transfer to prepared baking sheet.
Beat egg in bowl until well blended.
Mix together sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Brush lattice tops with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar mixture.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
For the leftover apple pie cookie dough-I rolled mine into a apple pie twist.
Sugar Cookie Decorating Tips and Recipe
So the best recipe I have found for icing is also the easiest. This icing dries hard and shiny-perfect for sugar cookies.
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tb corn syrup
2 tb milk
1. Add ingredients intp a bowl. Mix well. If your icing is too thick, simple add more milk.
Now to make the funky designs above you will need:
At least 2 different icing colours in piping bags
Completely colour your cookies with a background colour.
Using a different colour, add a large drop in the center and 6 dots around this middle dot.
Take a toothpick, and starting in the middle drag the toothpick through the middle dot and out through one of the outside dots you placed. Continue this with each of the other 5 dots.
That's it! You can get more creative by adding more colours and more dots to your cookie.