Friday, December 19, 2008

Nut-Free Holiday Cookie Recipes

As promised, here are 2 nut-free (and one recipe is also egg- and gluten-free) holiday cookies that are simple to make and bring to a holiday gathering. This is kind of a long post, so I'll save the holiday tips for the next one.

The picture you see is a family favorite, "Snowballs." I came up with this recipe to replace the "Pecan balls" that my grandmother used to make at Christmas time. This recipe is based on a Greek butter cookie called "Kourambiethes." It's very unusual for a Greek cookie to be nut-free so these are a find! I skip the spirits usually called for in the recipe to make these more palatable to children, but if you like, add a tablespoon and a half of brandy or ouzo to the dough.

1 lb. (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar + 2 tbsp, plus lots more for sprinkling on cookies
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 - 1 tsp pure orange extract (optional)
1 scant tsp salt

5-6 cups of all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using a standing mixer, beat softened butter until very light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar, egg yolk, vanilla and orange extract if using, beating thoroughly after each addition. Add flour a little at a time until soft dough is formed that can be handled easily. Taking about a teaspoonful at a time, (I use a tiny ice-cream scoop) roll into a small ball. Place on a non-stick cookie sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes. Sprinkle liberally with powdered sugar while still hot.

Makes about 6 dozen.

The next recipe is from Living Without Magazine and it is egg-free, nut-free and gluten free. It is not dairy-free, but the magazine said you may substitute non-dairy ingredients for this cookie. Bring out your favorite holiday cookie cutters for this one.
Holiday Cut-Out Cookies
Makes 16 Cookies
¼ cup butter, canola oil spread or oleo, at room temperature
2 tablespoons honey
½ cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
¾ cup brown rice flour
½ cup white rice flour
3 tablespoons potato starch
2 tablespoons tapioca flour/starch
½ teaspoon xanthan gum
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons water or more
In a food processor, combine the butter, honey, sugar, vanilla and lemon peel and process for one minute.
Add the flours, potato starch, tapioca flour/starch, xanthan gum, salt, baking powder and baking soda, blending until mixture forms large clumps. Scrape down sides of the bowl with a spatula and blend until the mixture forms into a ball. (If needed, add more water, a tablespoon at a time.) Remove dough and shape it into a ball. Cover and refrigerate for one hour.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with baking spray or line it with parchment paper or non-stick baking liners.
Using half the dough at a time, roll dough out to ¼-inch thickness between sheets of floured waxed paper or plastic wrap. Keep remaining dough chilled until ready to use.
Cut rolled dough into desired shapes and place cookies on prepared baking sheet, about 1 inch apart.
Bake cookies in preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are set. Switch pan position half-way through baking for even heat distribution. Remove cookies from oven and wait two minutes before transferring to rack to cool.
When cool, decorate cookies with your favorite gluten-free icing and colored sprinkles.


Elaine at Matters of the Heart) said...

I am so excited, I love snowballs. They always have nuts. I am making these, this weekend. Thank you so much for the recipes...

Jenny said...

I really hope you like them! I sent them to my daughter's class party along with some rolled cut-out sugar cookies and the kids (and parents) devoured them.

They taste especially good with a cup of coffee!

Anonymous said...

Got some of my favorite Christmas recipes through your post.... thanks for sharing them.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the article. I use only healthy pasta for my family.
The last few times I ordered it online at Whole And They have a large selection at very reasonable prices and ship fast.

Healthy Holidays to all,