I can’t believe it’s time for Christmas again…. I have to admit that this year I’ve fretted less about my health at this time around. I’ve attended office Christmas parties, house parties, lunches out and am planning the annual family Christmas dinner…. and it’s been awfully nice to not have a ‘delicate tummy’ to fret about. What am I fretting about? – I need some Christmas Cookies!!
I am a sucker for a treat. And Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without some sort of special treat on the table that was ok for me to eat – despite having an intolerance for dairy and eggs, and following a low (LOW) FODMAP diet – that means gluten free, preferably. And, I want it to be nice enough to serve to others.
One of the wonderful things about this time of year is the scent of rich spices. My mothers gingerbread cookie recipe was a staple in my house for many years (I still make them, even though I can’t eat them), so I wanted something that had that gingery/nutmeggy flavour.
I’ve come up with a chocolatly spicy cookie, and attempted the ‘yule log’ theme. Mash it all together and I’ve got:
(ok, the name needs a bit of work. I am terrible at naming things – any suggestions?)
For the Cookie
1 Box gluten free vanilla cake mix (I use Betty Crocker)
1/2 c margarine (I use Earth Balance dairy free)
1 extra large egg (I use egg replacer)
1/3 cup almond milk (I use the regular, not the unsweetened kind)
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
For the coating
dark baking chocolate (I use Camino semi sweet) for melting
icing sugar (to dredge)
Mix the cookie ingredients as usual. Roll by hand on waxed paper into thin ropes, cut roughly as long as your pinky finger. Bake on parchment at 350 for about 12 minutes.
Once cooled, dip one end into the melted chocolate, and then dip in bowl of icing sugar. Let dry on a rack (over some waxed paper to catch the drips). Can be frozen.
So, unless someone can come up with a better name, my Spicy Chlogs are a new part of my holiday baking. They are crunchy, chocolatey and spicy… rather good dipped! I hope everyone is able to find a Christmas Cookie that they enjoy this year….
It’s that time of the year again… Christmas!!! Over the years I’ve gone through Christmas with a varying degree of enthusiasm. There was the Christmas that I celebrated by making Martha Stewart look lazy. There was the Christmas that wasn’t so much celebrated as… endured. This year I fall right in the middle of the two extremes and I have to admit part of my hesitation is the challenge of FODMAP-free baking for Christmas. Can it be done? Yes!
The lights were up on our house at the beginning of December, the tree was up the following weekend. We sent out about 60 Christmas cards (complete with cheezy family photo), and have attended various parties. The one big thing that was missing from my Christmas preparations was the marathon Christmas baking that I used to do.
Now that I am dairy, egg and FODMAP intolerant, my tried and true Christmas baking recipes just make me a tad blue. I did attempt last year t0 modify shortbread using rice flour and goats butter, but the cookies were a crumbly mess. I vowed then not to attempt to bake Christmas cookies again.
But, another year later, I feel like something is missing from the Christmas festivities if I don’t do some baking. There’s’ nothing worse than having food around that I can’t eat, so I asked The Husband and The Son what kind of Christmas cookies were their favourite and I would bake only that. The Husband chose shortbread so I bought butter for the first time in years and made him up a batch of that (careful not to lick fingers!!). The Son surprised me and chose gingersnaps.
“But those aren’t Christmas Cookies” I said.
“That’s what I want” he said. So that’s what I made for him.
Of course, all this baking made me crave some treats that I could have too, so I did some experimenting. I used the basic white cookie recipe that I got out of the Living Without magazine, and attempted something… Christmassy.
I experimented and came up with three different cookies and I’m quite proud of them. Not only do they look great on the cookie tray, they are so tasty that someone who didn’t know they were dairy free, egg free and FODMAP free (including gluten free), would be surprised.
Here’s my recipe for the Citrus Pops. They are soft and sweet, with a crunchy citrusy zing. Very pretty on the plate too!
FODMAP Free Baking – Citrus Pops
1 box gluten free vanilla cake mix
1/2 c Earth Balance baking margarine
1 heaping tablespoon of egg replacer (of choice) and 3 Tbsp of water
1/3 cup almond milk
1/2 tsp. lemon extract
2 cups Icing Sugar (more if needed for consistency)
Sugar water (see candied peel recipe)
Candied orange and lemon peel
Mix cookie dough, it should be very soft. Use damp hands to roll into balls (dough will be sticky), and bake on parchment at 350 degrees for 12 minutes. Remove from parchment and cool.
Add 1-2 Tbsp sugar water to the icing sugar and beat. Add more icing sugar or sugar water depending on consistency. You want a thick, but not too dry icing. Dip tops of cookies into the icing (use spatula to smooth over the top of the cookie) and then dip immediately into candied peel (I kept the orange and lemon candied peel separate so I had two different types of cookies).
Let icing firm up and store.
Candied Orange Peel
4 cups water
2.5 cups sugar
1 cup sugar (for dredging)
Wash oranges thoroughly. Peel oranges, trying to keep pieces as large as possible (makes the next step easier). With a sharp knife, slice off as much of the white part (pith) as possible (it’s bitter). Dice the peel finely.
Combine water and first amount of sugar into medium pot over medium heat. Bring to boil and simmer for about 5 minutes. Add peel and simmer for about 2 hours (check frequently to make sure pot doesn’t run over or dry out). I’ve seen advice not to stir, but I run a spoon around the sides once or twice. Remove from heat and let sit to cool. Drain in colander (keep this sugar water to make the icing).
Dredge the peel in sugar (about 1 cup), and place on parchment covered pan in a 200 degree turned-off oven to dry out. Check to make sure the oven isn’t too hot – you don’t want to bake these! Let the peel dry out (you can leave them for an hour or overnight). Store in a dry location.
This works with lemon peel as well, but I found the colour didn’t stay as vibrant after boiling. To spruce up the colour, I put the 1 cup of sugar (for dredging) in a clean empty jar, added 1-2 drops of yellow food colouring and shook until the sugar was the desired colour. I then dredged the boiled peel in this before drying out in the oven.
The Citrus Pops have been a big hit around here, and also generates some interest when I take them to gatherings. Many people have food intolerances, and they welcome something safe to indulge in!