I feel we've had an open communication line to the North Pole these past few weeks. We've had breakfast with Santa, written and received letters from the North Pole, and even had a phone conversation with the Big Man last week. He accidentally asked my son if he'd been a good little girl so he can get that dolly he really wants, but my son didn't seem to mind. Santa probably had about 200 phone calls to make that evening, so we'll cut him some slack.
Last night, we had the pleasure of watching personalized video messages from Santa, via the very clever Portable North Pole website. My children were mesmerized by Santa's accurate descriptions of them and their wish lists. They covered their eyes as the elves' machine determined their "Naughty" or "Nice" verdict. "Nice". Whew! Then it was my husband's turn. When Santa put him on the Naughty list for leaving dirty clothes on the floor, my children became quite distraught, gave my husband hugs and kisses, and offered to share their toys with him. I have to say, this Portable North Pole is going to become quite a powerful behavior modification tool the next few days!
Now that we are just a few days away from Santa's big visit, it's time to make some treats for him to enjoy. As Santa is wrapping those last minute gifts, he'll need a bite or two of something sweet. So, here is an assortment of gluten free and dairy free cookies that your holiday guests and Santa will surely enjoy. I don't know about you, but in our household, Santa is gluten free and dairy free. Ho Ho Ho!
Peanut Butter Balls - these are similar to my peanut butter bars but without the graham cookie mixed in
1 lb. C & H powdered sugar
1 cup Earth Balance vegan shortening (melted)
1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter (Jif brand is gluten free)
Semi-sweet chocolate (Ghirardelli semi-sweet baking chips are my gluten and dairy free favorite)
Mix powdered sugar, shortening, and peanut butter thoroughly. Chill at least 2 hours, then form into balls about 1-inch in diameter. Chill again. Dip into melted chocolate and place on waxed paper to harden.
Gingerbread Cookies - this batter can be used for a Gingerbread house
2 1/2 cups gluten free flour mix (1 cup millet, 1 cup brown rice flour, 1/2 cup sorghum flour)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup Earth Balance vegan shortening
1/2 cup molasses
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Beat shortening in a mixer until fluffy (30 seconds). Add sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and spices, beating until combined. Add the molasses, egg, and vinegar and beat again. In a separate bowl, combine gluten free flour mix and xanthan gum. Slowly add to wet mixture, beating until all is combined.
Drop by rounded tablespoon onto greased baking sheets. I like to add a little decoration by pressing a fork cross-wise to create an imprint on the cookie. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Oreo Cookie Balls
2 10 oz. packages KinniToos Gluten and Dairy Free Chocolate Sandwich Cookies
1 8 oz. package of Gluten and Dairy Free Plain Cream Cheese (Tofutti or Galaxy)
Powdered Sugar or Gluten and Dairy Free White Chocolate (This is hard to come by - I've seen one retailer online. Ghirardelli's White Chocolate Baking Bar is gluten free but contains dairy.)
Process sandwich cookies in a food processor until fine. Transfer to mixing bowl. Add cream cheese and mix until combined. Chill in refrigerator for 1 hour. Remove and roll dough into bite-sized balls. Chill again for 15 minutes. Roll balls into powdered sugar and place onto waxed paper. If you prefer a white chocolate coating, melt white chocolate and dip oreo balls in melted chocolate using a fork or candy dipping tool to remove excess chocolate. Set cookie balls onto waxed paper and let set.
Peppermint Candy Cane Cookies
2 cups gluten free flour (3/4 cup millet, 3/4 cup sorghum, 1/2 cup tapioca flour)
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp cream of tartar
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup Earth Balance vegan shortening - cut into small chunks
1 tbsp almond milk
1 tsp pure peppermint extract (McCormick's brand is gluten free)
Crushed candy canes (Bob's brand and Brach's Star Brites Peppermint Starlight Mints are gluten free)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Add shortening chunks and combine until dough is crumbly. Add egg, milk, and peppermint extract. Mix until dough forms. Cover and chill for 1 hour. Form dough into cookie-sized balls, then roll in crushed candy canes. Place onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until edges of cookie are golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
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