Gluten Free Christmas Cookies

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Baking Christmas cookies has been an annual family tradition since I was big enough to help my Mom in the kitchen. Our recipes have been passed down from generation to generation and bring back memories of my grandmothers and other relatives.

Each year, we would bake between 6 – 15 different kinds of holiday cookies all stored in their own special tins. This equates to thousands of cookie trays for family and friends to enjoy everywhere from the US and France to Kuwait and Australia!

Once diagnosed with celiac disease as well as allergies to casein and food dyes, I tried to modify my family’s cookie recipes to be free from gluten, dairy and food dyes. Well, back 10 years ago, the ingredients were much different and every attempt that I made was a total failure with horrible tasting cookies. Bottom line – I finally stopped baking cookies from scratch at the holidays or any time during the year for that matter.

This year I decided to take back my family tradition. After troubleshooting why the cookies didn’t work before and determining additional recipe modifications, I tried once again. Surprise – HUGE SUCCESS!!

I had family and friends taste test my gluten and dairy free cookies – they loved them! What is interesting is that I also realized that friends who met me after my diagnosis didn’t even know that I used to bake cookies before.

Finally, I can relive my childhood memories, bake cookies again and feel empowered too! Thanks Mom!

Vivi’s World Famous Peanut Blossom Christmas Cookies:
Gluten and Dairy Free

I. Cream together:

  1. 1/3 peanut butter
  2. 1/4 cup Earth Balance original buttery spread
  3. 1/4 cup organic shortening or dairy free olive oil infused with butter flavor

II. Add sugar ingredients to cream mixture:

  1. 1/2 cup sugar
  2. 1/2 cup packed brown sugar

III. Add wet ingredients to cookie batter:

  1. 1 large egg
  2. 1 teaspoon of gluten free vanilla

IV. Sift dry ingredients, blend into batter slowly and mix thoroughly:

  1. 1 2/3 cups gluten free flour which includes xantham gum
  2. 1 teaspoon of gluten free baking soda
  3. 1/2 teaspoon of salt

V. Prepare cookies and bake:

  1. Shape dough into balls
  2. Roll balls in colored sugar and place on greased baking sheets
  3. Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 8 minutes, then take out of oven
  4. Top each cookie with dairy free chocolate candy and press firmly
  5. Return to oven and bake an additional 2-5 minutes
  6. Let cookies cool and savor your gluten & dairy free holiday treats

VI. Product suggestions and notes:

  1. For gluten free cookies, I bake with King Arthur gluten free all-purpose flour
  2. For dairy free cookies, I baked with Earth Balance original buttery spread (I personally do not recommend using the baking sticks for this recipe) and Enjoy Life mega chunks semi-sweet chocolate with great results
  3. For the decorative sugar item #2 in Section V, I found two alternatives which contain sugar, beet juice, carnauba wax and most importantly no red food dye #40. One option is raspberry red decorating sugar from India Tree and the 2nd option is red natural sanding sugar from Williams-Sonoma.
  4. If you can eat gluten, use 1 3/4 regular flour to replace item #1 in Section IV
  5. If you can eat dairy, use 1/2 cup butter or margarine which replaces items #2 & 3 in Section I and use Hershey’s chocolate kisses for item #5 in Section V
  6. If you are allergic to peanuts, I would recommend that you substitute SunButter the peanut free alternative for the peanut butter item #1 in Section I.
  7. Please contact me with any questions or suggestions

Share with us some of your favorite holiday cookie recipes!

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