Christmas Cookies

I don't know where the month has gone!  Christmas is almost upon us and I've hardy posted a single post.  This coming weekend is our annual Christmas party.  All weekend I was busy baking cookies.  Some turned out and some didn't.  

Gluten free baking can be challenging at times.  This year it was especially challenging.  
Last year, I had two baking days.  You can see the results here in the posts
Round 1 where I made Gooey Bars and Magic cookie Bars, and Round 2 when I made Pecan Tassies and Sugar Cookies.  

Last year, I used Pamela's baking mix as my flour with a little potato starch added.  This year, I'm allergic to potatoes.  This poses a problem.  You see, if you look at what ingredients are in most all boxed gluten mixes or flours, they add potato starch.  I can't use any of them.  And, I think potato starch really adds something to a flour mix.   

I have been using Carol Fenster's flour mix from her book, 1000 Gluten Free Recipes, but even she recommends potato starch, so I have to substitute something else.  I made my own mixture up.  It worked okay in some things, but in other things it didn't work very well.  

Example, last year I made Mexican wedding cakes and used Pamela's baking mix along with the extra potato starch.  They were just like I always remembered them.  They held their shape really well and stayed rounded while baking.  This year, with my new mix, they were Mexican pancakes.  Blah.   

The encouraging thing was that I made Pecan Tassies and they turned out even better than last year.  I also made Spritz cookies.  They have a really good flavor, but I felt they are a little too light and airy.  I thought they should be more dense.  My mom thought they were really good and tasted like they did with gluten.  I just might not remember what they used to taste like!   

Here is the blend of flours I used and a recipe for Spritz cookies.  I mixed a large batch of the flour  up in a mixing bowl then transfer to a zip lock bag to store.   

Melanie's gluten free flour blend (print recipe)

2 cups tapioca flour 

1/4 cup sweet rice flour 

3 cups sorgum flour

 2 cups arrowroot flour 

1 cup cornstarch 

2 cups almond flour

Swedish Spritz Cookies

1 pound butter 

1 cup sugar 

1 egg 

2 egg yolks 

1 teaspoon vanilla 

2 teaspoons grated orange zest

 2 tablespoons juice from orange 

1 teaspoon xantham gum 

5 cups gluten free flour blend 

Cream the butter.  Add the sugar gradually and cream until light and fluffy.  Beat in the egg and egg yolks, vanilla, zest and juice.  Blend in flour and xantham to make a soft dough.  
Force the dough through a cookie press onto a parchment lined cookie sheet forming into desired shapes.  Decorate with colored sugars and candies.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.  Makes 14 to 16 dozen.  

At our party, I will be serving pretty much the same things as last year.   I just haven't come up with any new idea yet!  I posted these recipes last year but thought they would be good to share again because they are quick, easy and always good.  If I come up with anything new and delicious, I will be sure to post.  I always make wassail.  I usually make two crock pots of this because it goes fast.   

Wassail (print recipe)

1 qt. apple juice 

1 qt. cranberry juice 

1/4 cup sugar 

2 cinnamon sticks 

1 small orange 

10-15 whole cloves 

Put the first four ingredients into the crock pot, and then add the orange which has the whole cloves stuck in it. Cook covered on high for 1 hour then on low for 4 hours. Remove the lid the last 1/2 hour so the aroma of the wassail fills the air. 

I also always make Artichoke dip.  Don't put it in a pie pan though.  I did this at a party I had this year and my sister-in-law thought it was quiche.  "Wow, that's the best quiche I've ever had!", she said.  We got the biggest laugh out of it. No, it doesn't look like quiche either.  It looks like dip.  It could be my sister-in-law is just silly (just teasing), but put it in something that doesn't look like pie, otherwise you might have people taking big old wedges of it!  If she comes to the party, I'll tell her to go get some quiche.  She'll know what I'm talking about and we will crack up laughing!  

Artichoke dip (print recipe)

1 can artichoke hearts (16oz.) drained and chopped 

1 cup mayonnaise 

1/4 lb. Parmesan cheese (I just use Kraft already shredded) 

Mix all together and pour into a 9 by 9 baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 min or till browned and bubbly. Serve with gluten free crackers or tortilla chips.  
So easy and let me tell you this goes quickly. I double and triple this recipe. There are never leftovers of this!

I am having my family over on Christmas day.  I'll have another post about that before Christmas along with our Christmas menu!  Hope you all are enjoy this wonderful time of year!



Filed under Cookies, Entertaining

6 responses to “Christmas Cookies

  1. badhuman

    Baking can be so hard! I lived in Colorado for a year and I have to say high altitude baking is a pain. None of my recipes worked as well as they do at sea level and the same tricks would work for one recipe but not another… When it all works though I think it makes up for the times it doesn’t.

  2. Yes, GF baking can definitely be challenging. I love using almond flour, it adds texture to GF flour mixes. I’m not sure that “texture” is the right word, but it definitely adds something special to the mix. Your wassail (where did that name come from?) recipe sounds awesome. I’m definitely trying that one.
    Hang in there and have a happy holiday!

  3. Gluten Free Steve

    Melanie – try substituting corn starch instead of potato starch (if you can eat corn). It should yield the same results. But don’t hold me to that one.
    Your artichoke dip is so easy and yummy – I have to remember this one!!

  4. Liz

    Those are great ideas for the holidays; I can’t wait to make these!

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