Twenty Nine Gluten Free & Dairy Free ~ Holiday Cookie & Candy Recipes

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The holidays just aren’t the same in our house without our yearly traditional recipes. Each Christmas season I always tell myself I’m going to add something new to the list, but there are just those favorites that I’m not willing to give up.

Below you’ll find pictures and links to all of my traditional holiday recipes, as well as other cookies and candies I’ve made along the way that can easily be incorporated into your list of favorites if you’re looking for something new.

Pecan Pie Bars

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Clementine Carrot Cookies

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Gingerbread Snowflakes

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Cranberry & Pepita Bark

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Grandma’s Divinity

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Double Chocolate Chunk Rum Balls

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The BEST Sugar Cookie Dough 

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Fig Pillows

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Clementine Shortbread

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Caramel Heavenlies

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Chokecherry & Raspberry Thumbprints

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Gingersnaps

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Triple Chocolate Cherry Brownie Bites

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Toasted Coconut & Pecan Haystacks

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Not Your Momma’s Sugar Cookie

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No Bake Peanut Butter Cookies

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Raspberry & Apricot Pie Dough Cookies

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Peanut Butter Balls

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Rum Fudge with Macadamia Nuts & Coconut

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Chocolate Chunk & Dried Cherry Oatmeal Cookies

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Pumpkin Macaroons

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Pumpkin Biscotti with Drizzled Belgian Chocolate

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Wild Blueberry & Orange Bars

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Pecan Sandies

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Dark Chocolate Cherry Surprise

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Peanut Butter, Pretzel, & Cherry, Chocolate Clusters

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Orange & Sea Salt Chocolates

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Fruit & Nut Tea Cookies

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Dried Apricot & Almond Butter Granola Bars

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Dark Chocolate Cherry Surprise

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This candy is incredibly easy and fast to make and has a big payoff. Cherries and chocolate are a match made in Heaven and with the addition of salted pretzels and a few soft marshmallows…very tasty!

I would say from start to finish, making this candy will take you about 25 minutes, if that. Perfect for a dinner party or for decadent little holiday gifts to give to your favorite neighbors.

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I was running out of daylight for pictures…so the chocolate is still warm here. They will set up once they cool. The coconut oil will keep them from getting too hard.

~ Dark Chocolate Cherry Surprise ~

1 1/2 Cups of 70% Dark Belgian Chocolate, chopped

1 1/2 Tablespoons of Organic Virgin Coconut Oil

1/2 Cup of Dried Cherries, chopped

1/2 Cup of Salted Gluten Free Pretzels, broken up into small pieces

1 Cup of Miniature Marshmallows

A Tiny Amount of Sea Salt

Melt the chocolate and coconut oil slowly in a double boiler or microwave. Add the cherries, pretzels, and marshmallows and stir. Spoon into miniature foil lined candy papers. Sprinkle the tiniest amount of sea salt on top of each one. Allow to set. If you want them to set quickly, allow them to rest in the refrigerator for a half an hour.

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Peanut Butter, Pretzel, & Cherry Chocolate Clusters

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Peanut Butter, Pretzel, & Cherry Chocolate Clusters

16 oz Dairy Free Semi-Sweet Chocolate

About 1 Cup Crushed Gluten Free Pretzels

1/2 Jar Organic Crunchy Peanut Butter

Dried Cherries (about 1/4 of a bag)

Paper Candy Cups

Line up the candy cups on a baking sheet. The baking sheet will be helpful when moving them outside or to your fridge to set.

Melt chocolate on medium low in a double boiler or fill a medium pan 1/3 with water and set a glass bowl on top. Once chocolate has melted completely, stir in peanut butter but not too much. You want it to be swirled throughout the chocolate. Gently fold in crushed pretzels, folding only until incorporated.

With a small spoon, fill candy cups just below the edge, about 3/4. Top with three cherries each.

Refrigerate chocolates for 20 minutes or until completely set up. Don’t leave them too long or the oils will separate and the chocolate will become cloudy.

Orange & Sea Salt Chocolates

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Orange & Sea Salt Chocolates

16 oz. Dairy Free Semi-Sweet Chocolate (I use Baker’s, you can also use a high quality dark chocolate 70% or so)

2 teaspoons Pure Orange Extract

Sea Salt

Chocolate Molds

Lay out the chocolate molds and sprinkle 2-3 pieces of sea salt in each one.

Melt chocolate on medium low in a double boiler or heat water in 1/3 of a medium pan and place a glass bowl on top of the pan. Once chocolate is melted, leave on the heat and quickly stir in the extract, 1 teaspoon at a time stirring constantly. It will look like it is starting to seize a bit on the sides, continue to stir constantly and quickly and it will come back together.

Spoon chocolate (it will be hot!) into a piping bag fitted with a thin tip and pipe chocolate into molds, do not overfill. Tap each mold sheet lightly on the counter once it is filled to settle the chocolate.

Allow to set up completely before removing. (I set mine outside on our deck for 20 minutes.)

The salt will leave little divots in the chocolate, but don’t worry about it, it adds character and as soon as people taste them they won’t be thinking about what they look like.

I used the leftover chocolate to make decorative hearts for my Clementine Buttercream Cupcakes by piping chocolate hearts onto waxed paper.

An Attempt At My Grandma’s Divinity

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I cannot tell you how thankful I am that my grandma never owned or knew how to operate a computer.

Why?

Because I have some of her handwritten recipes and handwritten notes here and there in some of her cookbooks. Handwritten in a font that is only hers, not pounded out on a typewriter or recorded on Microsoft Word. I recognize her writing, which ties it to her, which wraps it around precious memories that I have of her. This is our second Christmas without her and believe me, although time might heal all wounds, Christmas will never be the same without her.

Thankfully, my memories of her are still crisp and clear. And although I miss her deeply and wish she were still here, I can close my eyes and go through all the files in my mind that are filled with memorable events, lazy summer days, and many, many, holidays spent watching her in the kitchen. I was able to spend a lot of time with her throughout my life and I just can’t even imagine what growing up would have been like without her. I can’t believe that I spent 41 Christmas’s with her and they sped by so quickly.

Please make sure that if you are able to spend Christmas with your favorite grandma this year, that you take the time to really soak it in. Remember her perfume, the softness of her wrinkled hand, the pretty sparkly pins she always places on her coat or scarf, the beautiful costume jewelry she wears, all of your favorite memories you have from over the years, and most of all remember that she isn’t just “grandma”. She was once a young girl, then a teen, then a young woman in love, a woman who faced triumphs and tragedies over the years, and loved her children as much and as deeply as you love your own.  A whole person, with a whole life prior to being “grandma”.

Dedicated to Mary Virginia Faris 1917- 2009

This is for you grandma, I finally was able to make your divinity! Not quite the same without you here to celebrate, but it brings back wonderful memories. Miss you deeply and love you always. ~ April “Ree”

Grandma’s Divinity (In her words)

3 Cups White Sugar

3/4 Cup Karo White

3/4 Cup Water

3 Jumbo Egg Whites Beaten Foamy (the recipe she wrote for my mom said medium, I beat mine to stiff, next time I would do medium)

1 Cup Nuts – Chopped (I did a scant cup of pecans, I don’t like mine too nutty)

Vanilla (Grandma never used a recipe or measurements so I just glugged a dollop of vanilla in)

Bring sugar, water, and syrup to boil. Boil until small bits dropped in water form threads or hard ball – this part is important otherwise, you’ll have to beat it for ages. (She also didn’t own a candy thermometer, I used one because I wanted to make sure I had it at hard ball. This was the fun part for me when I was little because she always used to let me eat the solidified sugar out of the cold water.)

Drip syrup into mixed egg whites and beat until loses its gloss and will stand by itself. Add vanilla and nuts and beat. Drop by teaspoon on wax paper.

This makes a nice large batch.

This gave my Kitchen Aid a major workout. My grandma only owned a hand mixer…shocking that it didn’t blow up! I guess “back then” they actually made kitchen appliances to last. My mom told me last night that my great-grandmother beat her divinity by hand with a whisk on a flat, bone china, platter. Can you imagine?