By: Marlena N. Smith
Baking cookies is a time-honored tradition for many families during the holidays. When I was younger, my mom and I would bake cookies every Christmas Eve. Before going to bed, we would leave a plate of cookies and a tall glass of milk on the table for Santa. We would also leave a dish of cookies and a saucer of milk by the foot of the table for Rudolph.
For many families of children with autism, participating in such holiday traditions can be difficult, especially if the child follows a strict gluten-free casein-free (GFCF) diet. While baking without wheat and milk products can pose a challenge, there are many great GFCF recipes. The following recipe for spritz cookies is available at www.gfcfrecipes.com, which provides free GFCF recipes for dishes ranging from breakfast to dessert.
1 cup margarine
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 cups rice flour blend (a mixture of rice flour, potato starch, and tapioca flour)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
Directions: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Beat the margarine and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Next, add the vanilla and egg, and blend well. In a different bowl, mix the rice flour blend, salt, and xanthan. Combine with the sugar mixture and beat at a low speed until the dough is well blended. Next, flatten the dough using a cookie press and use cookie cutters to create the desired holiday shapes (e.g., Christmas trees, candy canes, menorahs, dreidels, etc.). Place cookies 1 inch apart on an ungreased baking sheet and bake the cookies for 6 to 8 minutes or until edges are slightly browned.
Holiday traditions are such a great part of growing up. If your family participates in a fun holiday tradition, please share. Feel free to post any holiday traditions, recipes, activities, crafts, ext.