Holiday Cookie Guide

When the holidays come around, I want to give everyone I know something special, but can never think of something to get them. As a young lady, not so fresh out of college, trying to make it on my own, I find it is hard to stay on a budget and get all of my loved ones something they will enjoy. That is, until I realized that all I needed was some sugar!

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Holiday treats are the easiest thing to prepare! It is a fun way for me to get creative and festive, while also stretching my ever thinning dollar. For those of you that aren’t culinary savvy, there are boxed mixes by the hundreds all neatly arranged in a single isle at your local grocer. I find, most of the boxed mixes are even more affordable then making things from scratch.

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I truly love to bake though, so I decided do it the old fashioned way. By doing that I also ensure that the goods I’m making are more wholesome, organic, and don’t have any funny chemicals in them that we all can do without.

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I also love that you can cater to peoples dietary needs so easily these days. I find EVERY party I go to there is nothing for me to eat. It can be really draining because I always stick out like a sore thumb and have to explain why my plate has nothing on it but some dried out crudite thirty times. By bringing holiday treats that are low-key gluten free or vegan (or both!) you are not only helping yourself out, but are helping out those who are on special diets, but hate being the odd man out. I mean, when your dairy-free cookies are devoured, but the butter creme frosted yule log remains, you know your doing something right! You’re also helping others by bringing healthier choices. Talk about giving in the spirit of Christmas 😉

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Without further delay, my holiday favorites! These are truly great recipes. You can also make a lot of these interchangeably with or without gluten and dairy, as I have listed.

HOLIDAY TREAT GUIDE:

  1. Shortbread Cookies. HERE they are gluten free; HERE they are not.
  2. Truffles. A no brainer. Swap out dairy with coconut mylk.
  3. Gingerbread. HERE is gluten free cake; HERE is gluten filled.
  4. Brittle. This version is nut-free.
  5. Ina Gartens Brownies. They are a little more laborious, but amazing. Easily made Gluten Free (because there is so little flour).
  6. Brown Butter Cookies. Swap 1/2 cup of salted caramel into the batter for the white sugar, you won’t regret it.
  7. Dorie & Pierre’s Cookies. Dorie Greenspan is a cookie specialist. She once gave me her book, Baking Chez Moiafter giving her family a quick lesson on how to froth milk. She is a very down-to-earth Connecticutian and her peace cookies are the perfect family recipe.
  8. Madeleines. I have yet to met someone that doesn’t like them.
  9. Salted Caramel Tartlets. Make small ones so people won’t feel guilty diving in.
  10. For those Holiday Birthdays, ANY of Linda Lomelinos Cakes will be both instagram worthy, as well as taste worthy. Fair warning, they are intricate so be prepared to spend a lot of time on them.

 

 

Hope this helps!

Happy Holidays,

Jocelynn 🎄

Lemon Maple Shortbread

These cookies are a delicious, refreshing treat from the everyday. I have always adored shortbread; it was one of the first things I’ve learned how to bake. This is a fun and interesting take on the traditional recipe.

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Lemon Maple Shortbread: Makes 2 dozen

8 oz Cake Flour

8 oz AP Flour

1/2 t Salt

11 oz Butter

6 oz Brown Sugar

6 oz Maple Syrup

1 Lemon (just zest)

1 oz Lemon Juice

2 oz Egg Yolks

Cream butter, and zest. Add in the yolks, syrup and juice. Slowly add in the sifted dry ingredients. Chill the dough for an hour. Preheat the oven to 350℉. Form into circles of about 1/4 inch in thickness then bake for 20 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.

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Bittersweet Chocolate Almond Cookies

I wasn’t sure, at first, how this recipe was going to turn out. I was trying to create an uncomplicated cookie recipe that was low in carbohydrates, low in fat and sugar, but tasted really great. Most gluten free desserts are extremely high in fats and carbohydrates, and are usually very complicated. Gluten free recipies normally include several different types of flours as well, which can take too much time and effort for a busy college student like me!

This recipe is great because it has none of that complicated mumbo-jumbo and requires less effort then making basic chocolate chip cookies! I used some of the idea of my chocolate almond torte recipe when making this. Using almond meal greatly lowers the amount of carbohydrates and adds the benefits of calcium and iron. The cocoa and bittersweet chocolate as well add iron and lots of antioxidants which is great for your skin.

I used 85% dark from Godiva. It was a little strong in the cookies so if you are not a bittersweet lover like me, I suggest a 70% chocolate or lower. I recommend adding 2 T of agave to the recipe as well to increase the balance of sweetness.

I added Bob’s Red Mill gluten free ap flour to add a little depth to the cookies. If you prefer not to add ap flour, try bumping up the almond flour. If you wish to make these cookies vegan, omit the eggs and use a replacer. I recommend adding oil as well if you do so.

Bittersweet Chocolate Almond Cookies:

1 c. cocoa

1 1/2 c. almond flour/meal

1/4 c. bob’s red mill gluten free a/p flour

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

2 eggs

3 T of almond milk

1/2 c. cane sugar

1 oz of bittersweet chocolate

Heat oven on Convection Bake at 325. Chop up chocolate into chunks & reserve. Sift together cocoa, cinnamon, ap flour, baking powder and salt. Beat eggs with sugar and milk. Combine sifted mixture to the egg mixture. Fold in almond meal and chocolate chunks. The batter should be somewhat wet, but not runny. If it is runny add more flour.

Spoon drop batter onto an ungreased sheet pan. Bake the cookies for 8-11 minutes. Make sure to not over-bake them or they will turn out very dry!

Enjoy with a glass of almond milk. A perfect treat for a cold, wet day like today.

 

Quick & Healthy Cookies

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You may have noticed that I haven’t been posting many recipes as of late; I have been experimenting with a diet. Wow, that sounds lame. I always eat very healthy, but now and again life calls for cutbacks. No cookies, no treats, no heavy meals. Swimsuit season is right around the corner so now it is cuts season.

With that in mind I have been eliminating refined carbohydrates, the stuff that slips through the cracks and finds its way to your waist. As well, a lot of fat meaning peanut butter, oil, etc. etc. I know being healthy and cutting back isn’t glamorous, but it is effective! So far I do feel healthier with less fat and simple carbs. I do feel more energetic with the elimination of refined sugar, though I do crave it!

With cutbacks in mind and cravings in tow, I made peanut butter & jelly oatmeal cookies. I decided if I were to give in to one of my cravings it would be peanut butter. I use Natural which eliminates any extra oil. They are gluten free, dairy free, & low sugar. If you use egg replacer, easily vegan also!

These cookies are also full of fiber, protein, vitamins A & E, and Omegas (from the egg). So while they seem to be lackluster in all those un-healthy fats, simple carbs & sugars, they are full of nutrition and taste amazing. Its a win-win-win…with a bit of slam-dunk if I do say so myself.

Peanut Butter & Jelly Oatmeal Cookies:

1 C Peanut Butter, Natural

2/3 C Whole, Gluten free Oats

1/3 C Gluten Free Granola

2 T Sugar

1 tsp Baking Powder

1/2 tsp Kosher Salt

1 Egg

Low-Sugar Raspberry Jelly

Method-

Set oven to 325℉. Combine all ingredients except jelly. Use two spoons and ‘drop’ rounds onto a ungreased baking sheet. Use the bottom of a rounded teaspoon to make little imprints in the cookies. Put a small amount of jelly, about 1/2 a teaspoon, into each cookie and bake for 10-12 minutes or until they are golden brown. Cool and enjoy with a cup of coffee or almond milk!