December 8, 2009

Gluten-Free Holiday Cookies

photo credit Ellery Ross

We spent the better part of Sunday afternoon celebrating the Scandinavian holiday of Advent.  What I know of this holiday from our Swedish au pair Ellinor, is that the four Sundays leading up to Christmas are days of celebration.  In her family they light a candle each Sunday, make a holiday treat and spend time with family and friends.  I love this tradition because it lends substance to the holiday "season" by giving the children something tangible to do during this crazy month of waiting and anticipation.  As we participate in the ritual of lighting a new candle each week it is an opportunity to reflect on the cycle of the darkness of the winter solstice, and the gradual return of the light.

This recipe for gluten-free sugar cookies is moderately healthy, rolls out nicely and stays together well after baking.  This is also the simplest g-f holiday sugar cookie recipe I have tried to date!  We are big appreciators of butter in my family, but this recipe could also be made dairy-free by substituting a trans-fat-free margarine or coconut oil for the butter in both the cookies and frosting.  My philosophy about treats during the holidays is everything in moderation!  Don't deny yourself a treat if it will bring you good cheer, use quality ingredients and enjoy it.  The best part of baking this time of year is sharing with friends anyway, so if you don't trust yourself with treats in the house, wrap them up and bring them to the neighbors!

Holiday Sugar Cookies (Gluten-Free)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup
organic sugar (regular old white sugar will do if you don't have access to organic)
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon almond extract, vanilla extract or grated orange or lemon zest
1 cup softened butter (not melted) or
trans-fat-free margarine

Sift flour, baking soda & cream of tartar - cut in margarine or butter. Beat eggs, add sugar & almond - mix well. Pour egg mixture into flour mixture and mix well by hand.
Chill at least 15 min (several days is also ok). Roll out to desired thickness on floured surface (potato starch is great for this) and cut into shapes.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper and bake at 350F for 9 minutes.  After baked & cooled decorate with home-made frosting below.
Bake at 350F for 9 minutes.

Truth is, I usually wing it when it comes to frosting.  I start by using an electric mixer to whip up a stick of butter and add organic powdered sugar and a little vanilla extract until I like the consistency.  I add somewhere between 1-2 cups of powdered sugar (which is about 1 cup less than conventional recipes).  Then divide the frosting among several smaller bowls and add a different food coloring to each.  

1 comment:

Elaine said...

Being a diabetic, I usually have to avoid a lot of the holiday treats this time a year. After doing some Internet research I found a nutritionist by the name of Rose Cole who has great SUGAR-FREE Recipes that are soooooo delicious. Now I can prep my own goodies and bring them along to dinner parties and know that I can dig in with everyone else! Her site is