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!
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.
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.
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 😉
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:
- Shortbread Cookies. HERE they are gluten free; HERE they are not.
- Truffles. A no brainer. Swap out dairy with coconut mylk.
- Gingerbread. HERE is gluten free cake; HERE is gluten filled.
- Brittle. This version is nut-free.
- Ina Gartens Brownies. They are a little more laborious, but amazing. Easily made Gluten Free (because there is so little flour).
- Brown Butter Cookies. Swap 1/2 cup of salted caramel into the batter for the white sugar, you won’t regret it.
- Dorie & Pierre’s Cookies. Dorie Greenspan is a cookie specialist. She once gave me her book, Baking Chez Moi, after 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.
- Madeleines. I have yet to met someone that doesn’t like them.
- Salted Caramel Tartlets. Make small ones so people won’t feel guilty diving in.
- 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!
I am definitely having end-of-summer blues! It has been an amazing summer here in Connecticut and it is tough to believe it has just about ended. Lucky for me, pie season is right around the corner. With the days getting (slightly) cooler and a freezer full of blueberries, I decided to buckle down and create an incredible pie dough that was worth its weight in the gluten-free community.
For those of you who know what a challenge that is, worry no longer! Make this recipe and you will impress even the gluten-loving in your life! I advise two tricks to this delicate dough; first get the right flour. While moseying down the organics aisles, I discovered that Bobs Red Mill has a new 1 for 1 flour. Let me be the first to tell you, it is OUT OF THIS WORLD. Use it! Second, and this is a given for most bakers, do not over work the dough. The more crumbly, the better.
Gluten Free Pie Dough:
2 1/4 c Bobs Red Mill Flour
1 T Sugar
1 c Organic, All Natural Shortening
1 T Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Pinch Salt
Dash of Nutmeg
Almond Milk (for “egg wash”)
Sugar for Top
For the Inside:
4 c Blueberries
1.5 c Sugar
1 T Lemon Zest
2 T Lemon Juice
2 T Cornstarch
For the crust, combine all dry ingredients. Add the shortening then flake and rub until the dough is crumbly. Add three tablespoons of the ice water mixed with the vinegar a little at a time, until barely combined. Form into a disk and chill for an hour. Halve and roll out the dough between two pieces of parchment. If the dough becomes sticky, pop it in the freezer for a minute to chill. Once rolled out, put the top in the freezer, lying flat. “Butter” and sugar the pie dish, put the bottom piece in, and place in freezer. Now, start the filling. Thaw blueberries a little, and combine all ingredients. Put in middle of pie and put the top on. Crimp together the top and bottom. Wash the top with the almond milk, and sugar the top. Make cut outs if desired, or just make a few slits.
Preheat the oven to 350 F and put the pie in the freezer until the oven is ready. Place a piece of foil down to catch any blueberry juices bubbling over. Put the pie in and bake until top is golden and juices are bubbling; about 1.5 hours. Cool for at least four hours and enjoy! This delicate pie tastes amazing with a coconut milk ice cream.