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Healthier Christmas Baking

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!
The snow has finally provided us with a “Winter Wonderland.” The blanket of snow and the carols playing on the radio has provided me with the mood for decorating and baking.

But as I look through my “FROM YOUR HOUSE TO OURS” cookbook, I realize I will have to make changes to many of our favorite recipes to meet the no-dairy, no-sugar, gluten free needs in our family.
A good number of our family members are omitting certain foods so I want to serve delicious recipes that we can all enjoy.

Yesterday I decided to make the Gingerbread Cookies. I managed to make them gluten free and almost sugar free. I still used half of the maple syrup called for as this helps to make them strong and not fall apart easily. But I exchanged the sugar for Xylitol. I cut that amount in half and powdered it in the coffee mill. Today I made another batch and cut the sweetener to 1/4 cup Monk Fruit sugar substitute. They are still plenty sweet.

Gingerbread Men – yields 36 (4 inch)
Sift together the following dry ingredients and set aside:
1 1/2 cups tapioca starch
1 cup almond flour
1 cup brown rice flour
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup Earth Balance (butter substitute)
1/2 cup powdered Xylitol (or 1/4 cup Monk Fruit -sugar substitute)
1 egg
1 tablespoon molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla
Beat the fats well, add & beat in the Xylitol, then egg, molasses and vanilla.
Add the flour mixture gradually until smooth.
Place the dough in fridge for a few hours. Roll out on your choice of gluten free flours sprinkled on the counter. Cut into shapes, place on cookie sheets allowing room to expand. Bake at 350 º F for 10 minutes. Remove cookies to a counter to cool.

Decorating With Less Icing
On one batch I mixed a very small amount of icing. With a decorator I put small dots for eyes and buttons on each cookie. I placed a small round sprinkle on each dot.
On the second batch I placed 3 chocolate chips on the front for buttons while they were hot out of the oven. They softened and when cold they stuck to the cookies.

Allow to cool well and place cookies into a canister with parchment or plastic between layers.

Another favorite cookie for our family is the sugar cookie. Maybe now I should call it a sugarless cookie!

SUGARLESS COOKIE – I cut out small snowflakes so it yielded 5 dozen

1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup Earth Balance (butter substitute)
1/2 cup Monk Fruit sugar substitute
2 eggs
1 cup almond flour
1 cup tapioca starch
3/4 cup brown rice flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
Sift the dry ingredients and set aside. Cream the fats well, add the remaining ingredients gradually and mix well until smooth.
Chill in fridge. Roll out on any gluten free flour sprinkled on a counter. Cut out into Christmas shapes.
Place on cookie sheets allowing room to expand. Bake at 350 º F for 8 minutes or until the bottoms are brown. Remove from cookie sheet and cool on a counter.

Decorating Cookies!
Dark Chocolate
Sprinkles
I unwrapped and melted 6 small dark chocolate pieces in the microwave, 20 seconds at a time until they were melted. With a knife place a circle of chocolate in the centre of each cookie. Add any sprinkles while it is still melted. I added some small decorated colored stars.

Allow to cool well and place into cookie canisters with parchment or plastic wrap between layers.

CELEBRATIONS
In November we Morris & Area Community PrimeTimers (seniors 55 and up) enjoyed a concert by the SANDERSONS from Portage la Prairie. They included some wonderful Christmas songs followed by our dinner of hamburger soup, rolls, chiffon cake and ice cream.
This coming week we will be enjoying a concert by our radio breakfast show host, Jaime Giesbrecht followed by our Christmas dinner of roast beef, mashed potatoes, vegetables, salads and dessert.

A number of us seniors prepare these meals and we all enjoy the time of worship, entertainment & fellowship with each other around the tables.
In the coming weeks many will be gathering together to worship and celebrate the greatest gift of all; Jesus Christ’s coming to this earth for each one of us. The Reason for the Season!

Enjoy this season with family & friends! Winnie