One of the traditions I have always loved about Christmas is making special treats that we don’t eat year-round. So when I discovered that my son and I are sensitive to gluten, dairy, soy and eggs, I wondered how I would create the same feeling of excitement and pleasure we have experienced in the past when making and sharing our favorite Christmas treats. To that end, I have been busy creating recipes, and I knew I was successful when my son’s eyes lit up with delight as he savored this treats. Here are a couple of my favorites.
Almonds add a lovely flavor to this recipe and a boost of protein. We also like to dip one end of these finger cookies in vegan chocolate for a special treat or for a teacher gift!
1 ¾ cups almond flour*
¾ cup brown rice flour
¼ cup arrowroot powder
¼ cup tapioca starch flour
½ teaspoon xanthan gum
5 T. coconut palm sugar
1 cup vegan shortening** (or butter)
Optional: Gluten and dairy-free chocolate chips
*I grind unroasted almonds in a coffee grinder for this recipe which is the less expensive alternative, but ground almond flour will work as well.
** I use Earth Balance vegan shortening
In a mixing bowl, whisk together dry ingredients until well combined. Work the softened butter into the flour mixture with the back of a wooden spoon until you have a soft dough. It will be slightly sticky.
Divide the dough into 2 balls. On an ungreased cookie sheet, and using wet fingers, shape each dough ball into a 7 X 6” rectangle (about 3/8” thick). Using a sharp knife, cut each rectangle into 12 or 16 ‘fingers’. Do not separate the fingers.
Bake in 325 degree oven for approx. 25 minutes until edges are just lightly brown. Remove from oven and re-cut fingers. Cool the cookies on the pan. They will be slightly crumbly when hot, but will become firmer when cool.
If you desire, you can melt chocolate chips and dip one end of the finger cookies in the chocolate, and place on a piece of parchment paper until chocolate is firm. If you freeze the cookies slightly before dipping, they are less likely to drop crumbs into the chocolate, and also the chocolate firms up and sticks to the shortbread more quickly and easily.
Chocolates are everywhere at Christmastime, and almost all of them contain ingredients we are sensitive to. These chocolates are so easy and tasty, and contain such healthy ingredients, that my son knows he can even sneak an occasional chocolate at breakfast-time with my blessing!
1/3 cup coconut oil
½ cup + 2 T maple syrup, agave syrup, or honey
2/3 cups raw cacao powder*
2 T. almond butter
1 tsp. vanilla powder
2-4 T. chopped almonds
In the top of a double boiler, gently melt the coconut oil. Add cacao butter and maple syrup and continue heating until cacao butter is melted. Add remaining ingredients and whisk together until well combined.
Pour into silicone molds or foil candy cups and freeze. Once frozen, pop them out of the silicone moulds and place in paper candy cups, or wrap in festive colored foils. Store in a plastic container in the refrigerator for up to a month.
*If you wish to make ‘raw’ chocolates, use all raw ingredients and heat gently in your dehydrator in a measuring cup at 105 degrees. I often make them on the stovetop, but over a very low heat and watching carefully until just barely melted, thus retaining as many of the health benefits of the raw cacao as possible.
Nutrition Tip: Raw cacao contains the highest concentration of antioxidants of any food in the world. It is also an excellent source of magnesium, which helps us to relax, builds strong bones and increases alkalinity. Did you know that if you crave chocolate regularly, it could be a sign that you are deficient in magnesium?
Lastly, chocolate is a rich source of iron and trace minerals chromium, manganese, copper and zinc. Zinc deficiency is common globally, and is often a cause of being a ‘picky eater’. A helpful piece of information if you have a picky eater!
The peppermint patties are the ones in the photo that are not in candy cups. I love the recipe from Elana’s Pantry website. It is gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, and easy—only 4 ingredients!
If you like peppermint patties, I highly recommend it. Check it out at this link:
I used the peppermint oil from Young Living Oils, and they turned out fabulous!
My fondest wishes to you and your families for a Merry Christmas, and a Happy and Healthy New Year.