Cookie Corner: Testing gluten-free holiday recipes

These days a typical office, or family, is full of people on restricted or specific diets. Low-sugar or salt-restricted, vegetarian or vegan, low-carb or gluten-free – it can make holiday potlucks or family dinners a challenge. While there are more pre-made treats available now at stores and bakeries, sometimes you just want to make something yourself that everyone can enjoy.

For the second week of the Cookie Corner I decided to test two gluten-free versions of a cookie already beloved by many people. Mexican wedding cakes, also known as Russian tea cakes, are little balls of flour and butter and nuts, baked until barely brown and then double-rolled in powdered sugar.

The first recipe, which I dubbed Recipe A for tasters, came from the Los Angeles Times’ annual cookie recipe contest. Recipe B was one I found in a new Betty Crocker cookbook, “Betty Crocker Christmas Cookies” (Houghton Mifflin, $16.99, 208 pages paperback, also available as an e-book).

These recipes are ideal for the baker who doesn’t already have a gluten-free kitchen: Both use shortcut mixes, so they don’t require purchasing several alternative flours to blend. (However, if you do want to make your own blend, the combination is included in the first recipe.)

Both cookies found fans among the newsroom testers, with Recipe A drawing slightly more favorable reviews than Recipe B.