Ti's the season to party around our house - we have gone to and had more Christmas parties this year than in the year's past. Thanks to some thoughtful friends and great caterers, I have dined like a queen this year (okay maybe that was pushing it a little, but I have been treated to some great gluten free food).
In previous years I have honestly made it through most Christmas parties by eating before I go and sipping wine all night.
This year I have really been treated to some delightful and thoughtful gluten free treats. For one party, the hostess stopped by Savory Moments in Redmond and treated me to a wonderful meal of steak, rice and a fabulous chocolate gluten free cake!! Can I tell you how nice it was to participate in the meal with the other guests? I was so stuffed - with the food and warm thoughts of appreciation.
At a party for our school, the entire catered meal was gluten free,
and it was fabulous,
and everyone loved it.
There was gluten free pasta, steak on this wonderful gluten free breaded tart, salmon, chicken skewers and more. They even had a delicious gluten free dessert. The caterer was Upper Crust and they did a wonderful job. I was honestly overwhelmed by the thoughtfulness.
So while I have absolutely nothing to complain about this season, there is one remaining party to negotiate.
A party whose theme is flour and butter.
I can already smell the fresh baked cookies.
You guessed it, a cookie exchange.
I have politely not gone for the past several years. Probably being a little over dramatic, but it was the one party I just could not convince myself to go to.
But this year I am going to the party -
first of all, I am so full that it will actually be okay to not be able to eat the cookies.
Plus I love my friends and do not want to miss out on this tradition.
And, while I may not be able to sample their treats, I am bringing some of my own to share.
But what to bring?
If you find yourself in similar circumstances this year, I do have a few recipes to share. I think most importantly, you should take treats to share that are naturally gluten free. You do not want to waste your expensive gluten free flour on cookies for people who just don't need to eat gluten free.
Plus there are tons of treats that are naturally gluten free. Some of our favorites include fudge which we even make it casein free. It is not Christmas without fudge at our house.
I have settled on Peanut Butter and Chocolate cookies. They are naturally gluten free, taste an awful like a Reese's Peanut Butter cup, very easy to make and melt in your mouth.
Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cookies
1 cup smooth peanut butter (the healthy, natural type of peanut butter will leave you with crumbly cookies. For this recipe, go with your mainstream peanut butter like Jiff. It has more oil and holds the cookie together better.)
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons finely chopped peanuts (optional)
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips (we used casein free chocolate chips)
Preheat the oven to 350°.
In a medium bowl, mix the peanut butter with the sugar, baking soda and egg.
Stir in the peanuts and chocolate chips. These are optional ingredients. We did not use the peanuts but the chocolate chips are mandatory for us.
Roll tablespoons of the dough into balls.
Set the balls on 2 baking sheets, and using a fork, lightly make a crosshatch pattern on each cookie.
Bake for 15 minutes, until the cookies are lightly browned and set.
Let cool on a wire rack.
We double the recipe - one batch is not nearly enough!
Thanks to Jennifer who is an ex-pat living in Holland for this recipe. Jennifer has a 9 year old daughter who was diagnosed with Celiac disease 3 months before they moved to Holland from the US.
Christmas Blessing going your way Jennifer!!
Almond Roca Toffee
This recipe is tasty and pretty easy to make. Just keep the kids away from the stove for this one as it gets incredibly hot and is, therefore, too dangerous for the younger crowd. It is pretty messy to eat as well, but worth the finger-licking.
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup whole almonds
1 cup butter (we used Earth Balance for casein free)
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips (we used Sunspire for casein free)
Line a cookie sheet with foil and spray well with non-stick cooking spray.
Place all of the almonds in a single layer on cookie sheet. You are going to be pouring the toffee and chocolate chips over the almonds, so space them out so you have a few bites of almond in each mouthful. They will not cover the entire cookie sheet.
Heat butter, sugar, water, vanilla and salt in a heavy saucepan over high heat, stirring constantly until a candy thermometer registers 310°F. (approximately 15 minutes) The mixture is extremely hot so exercise great care.
Remove from heat and immediately pour over almonds, evenly covering the almonds.
Immediately sprinkle with chocolate morsels and spread evenly stopping 1/2 inch from the sides. The heat of the toffee will melt the chocolate chips into a smooth top.
Let cool until firm. We put ours outside on the deck to quicken the cooling process.
Come on, don't be shy - how have you negotiated this holiday season??