Holiday baking. I think everyone has the love-hate relationship with it, right? I LOVE baking. I LOVE giving away the goodies that I bake. But I also love eating what I bake. Which is where the hate part of the relationship comes in. I HATE that every bite leads to a little jiggle and a new dimple – and I don’t mean the endearing kind in my smile. Alas, I bake anyways. It’s fun & it’s therapeutic and my kids love helping me when they can. So, I try to balance it out by making it healthy when I can or eating healthy while baking. Or by giving it all away to friends, family, and neighbors so that they all get fat and I don’t… I mean, whatever. I feel like this holiday season was by far the worst. And of course by that, I mean the best. I made so many new things. I tried new recipes or tweaked old ones. I think by week 4 my neighbors were considering listing their homes for sale so that they wouldn’t receive any more of my Holiday Baking Care Packages (aka my “here, eat this so that I don’t” boxes of treats).
Since I am super into sharing my tasty treats, I will share the recipes here. And believe me, you’re welcome in advance. Most of my recipes are Gluten Free, so I mean, that makes it healthy, right?? That’s what I tell everyone… Hey, whatever makes us sleep at night…
Gluten Free Devils Food & Andes Mints Cookies
1 box of Gluten Free Devils Food Cake Mix (I used the Safeway/Vons brand – but Betty Crocker makes one)
1/2 cup coconut oil (vegetable oil is fine, too)
2 medium eggs
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chip cookies
1 bag Andes mints pieces
1/4 cup white chocolate chips
In a large bowl mix the boxed cake mix with the oil and eggs. Gently but thoroughly fold in the cup of semi-sweet chocolate chip cookies and about 1/4 cup of the Andes mints pieces. I used my tablespoon ice-scream style scoop so that they were all uniform in size. Scoop them out onto parchment paper lined cookie sheets spacing them about 1″ apart (they will spread). Once the cookies are all on the cookie sheets, press about a teaspoon of Andes Mints pieces on top of each one and press them down slightly to flatten them down a bit. Bake for 8 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove from the oven and let them cool on the cookie sheet for about 5 minutes than remove and let cool completely on a wire rack. Once the cookies are completely cooled, melt the 1/4 cup white chocolate chips in the microwave in 15 second increments, stirring in-between each time until it is completely melted and smooth. Drizzle white chocolate over the cookies. Let them set so the chocolate dries. The cookies come out thin and slightly crispy around the edges but soft in the center.
Now, if chocolate & mint isn’t your scene, here’s a lighter more traditional recipe that might suit you…
Gluten Free Pecan & Coconut Snowball Cookies
1/2 cup unsweetened finely shredded coconut flakes + 2 tablespoons
1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans
2 cups Gluten Free all-purpose flour
1 cup butter softened at room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar + 3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
In a large skillet over medium heat toast the whole or halved pecans for a few minutes or until you see their color changing slightly (not burning) and you begin to smell their nutty scent. Let the pecans cool completely than chop either by hand or in a mini-chopper like I did. Don’t over-chop – a coarse chop is needed for texture and to maintain consistency in the cookie.
In your Kitchenaid stand mixer add the room temperature softened butter and beat for 30 seconds with the paddle attachment. I did level 6 – medium speed. Slowly add in 1/2 cup powdered sugar. Then add vanilla extract & salt. Slowly add in the flour in small batches until fully incorporated and a dough forms. With a spatula fold in the pecans and the coconut until well mixed in.
I used my tablespoon ice cream scoop to scoop out each ball of dough and then rolled it in my hands to create a well-rounded ball shape and placed it onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Space about 1/2″ apart – they don’t spread.
Bake for 20 minutes at 325 degrees. They should be a slight golden color when you remove them. Let them cool slightly for a few minutes then roll them in the remaining powdered sugar and place on a wire rack to cool. Add 2 tablespoons of coconut to the remaining powdered sugar in a bowl. Once the cookies are fully cooled, roll in the powder & coconut mixture 1-2 more times.
These cookies are very light & airy. They melt away when bitten into and will crumble easily so be sure to have a napkin under it when taking a bite!
That’s it for my favorite cookies from this season! Stay tuned for some more of my favorite Holiday recipes!