Ingredient: Dairy free spread
Cookies

Pecan Cookies – gluten, dairy and egg free

Pecan cookies - A Free From Life

Few things are more comforting in life than the smell of freshly baked cookies (fresh baked bread and ground coffee are up there too). It’s home, it’s childhood memories and a great big hug all wrapped into one.

‘Free From’ cookies don’t have to be tasteless, dry or gritty and just because you have to avoid gluten and dairy, doesn’t mean you can’t experience that same home-baked, fresh cookie experience.

The ideal mix of crunchy on the outside and chewy in the middle, this cookie recipe is gluten, dairy and egg free, but is so tasty, I’d put money on no one telling the difference, or even caring for that matter.

Pecan cookies - A Free From Life

This recipe includes chopped pecans, but if you want to make it nut free, just change this part of the recipe for something else, such as raisins or chocolate chips. The combinations are endless, really. You can take out the cinnamon and add ginger, substitute the vanilla for almond essence or for a citrus flavour, add orange or lemon juice.

Pecan cookies - A Free From Life

These are so easy to make, my 10 year old made a batch all on her own. She used dark chocolate chips, instead of nuts or raisins and kept the cinnamon. It was a lovely combination.

Pecan cookies - A Free From Life
Pecan Cookies - Gluten, dairy and egg free
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
14 20 minutes
Cook Time
12 minutes
Servings Prep Time
14 20 minutes
Cook Time
12 minutes
Pecan cookies - A Free From Life
Pecan Cookies - Gluten, dairy and egg free
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
14 20 minutes
Cook Time
12 minutes
Servings Prep Time
14 20 minutes
Cook Time
12 minutes
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Weigh out the flours, baking powder, bicarb and cinnamon and mix together well. Set aside
  2. Cream the butter and sugar with a wooden spoon or electric whisk. Add the golden syrup and vanilla extract
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the creamed butter and sugar and continue to beat to until the mixture is incorporated into a soft dough
  4. Weigh out the pecans and chop, either by hand or in a coffee grinder. Add these to the dough and mix well
  5. Take desert spoonfuls of the dough and make into a round before putting onto a baking tray (lined with non-stick parchment paper) and flattening with the back of your hand
  6. Bake at 180C/Gas 4 for 12 minutes or until golden
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Side dishes

Make ahead Christmas recipes – Cranberry, orange and chestnut stuffing

Cranberry, orange and chestnut stuffing balls - A Free From Life

My second make ahead Christmas recipe this week is for cranberry, orange and chestnut stuffing balls. If you didn’t catch yesterday’s recipe for Duchess sweet potatoes, you can find it here.

Cranberry, orange and chestnut stuffing balls - A Free From Life

Made with gluten free sausage meat and the crumbed crusts from one of my gluten free loaves, this stuffing recipe is also suitable for those following a dairy free diet.

I decided to make these as stuffing balls, to serve as an alternative to the pigs in blankets I usually offer. You can, of course, use this recipe to stuff the cavity of the turkey, or bake it in an oven proof dish. The citrus burst of the orange zest, complements the sweetness of the cranberries and apples, with just a hint of the nutty chestnuts coming through. I think you could eat these on their own, they’re that good. Cooked as I did, they are the equivalent of meatballs and could quite easily go alongside some salad and other leftovers from your Christmas lunch.

Cranberry, orange and chestnut stuffing ball s - A Free From Life

The next recipe I’ll be sharing is for Christmas spiced name place cookies.

Cranberry, orange and chestnut stuffing balls - A Free From Life
Make ahead Christmas recipes - Cranberry, orange and chestnut stuffing
Print Recipe
Gluten and dairy free stuffing with full fruit flavours to give an ideal accompaniment to your Christmas meal
Servings
30
Cook Time
45 minutes
Servings
30
Cook Time
45 minutes
Cranberry, orange and chestnut stuffing balls - A Free From Life
Make ahead Christmas recipes - Cranberry, orange and chestnut stuffing
Print Recipe
Gluten and dairy free stuffing with full fruit flavours to give an ideal accompaniment to your Christmas meal
Servings
30
Cook Time
45 minutes
Servings
30
Cook Time
45 minutes
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Melt the butter and fry the chopped shallots and herbs until softened
  2. Add the cooked onions and herbs to a large mixing bowl along with the rest of the ingredients. Mix well (you may have to use your hands to do this)
  3. Form in to walnut sized balls and place on a lined baking sheet
  4. Bake in the oven at 180C for 45 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.
Recipe Notes

Cranberry, orange and chestnut stuffing balls - A Free From Life

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Side dishes

Make ahead Christmas recipes – Duchess sweet potatoes (gluten and dairy free)

It’s the countdown to Christmas and time to start prepping for the big day. One way to get organised and give yourself less to worry about, is to make ahead as much as possible. This week, I’m excited to be sharing with you some Christmas recipes you can make in advance, so on the day itself you can wow your guests with your creative handiwork. All the recipes are gluten, dairy and nightshade free.

First up today is a recipe I’m resurrecting from the 1980’s – Duchess potatoes.

Duchess sweet potatoes - A Free From Life

These were a childhood favourite of mine and something we only ever had on Christmas day, so it was always something to look forward to. I remember mum making them in advance and freezing them, so all she needed to do was defrost and warm through on the day. Mum always made them with white potatoes to go alongside the roasties, but as I don’t eat white potatoes, I thought I’d try something different and make them with sweet potatoes instead.

It does take a little preparation to make these, but don’t be put off. My piping skills are non-existent, but I managed to produce something that looks as though I actually knew what I was doing. They are a show-stopping side dish that will add that something extra to your Christmas meal and the colour of these is just so vibrant and gorgeous, they are going to look amazing alongside the purple of the red cabbage and the bright green of the sprouts.

Duchess sweet potatoes - A Free From Life

Tomorrow I will be making stuffing balls, with cranberry, orange and chestnuts.

Duchess Sweet Potatoes
Print Recipe
A nightshade free alternative to the classic 80's side dish, Duchess Potatoes
Servings
10 20-24
Cook Time
20 mins
Servings
10 20-24
Cook Time
20 mins
Duchess Sweet Potatoes
Print Recipe
A nightshade free alternative to the classic 80's side dish, Duchess Potatoes
Servings
10 20-24
Cook Time
20 mins
Servings
10 20-24
Cook Time
20 mins
Ingredients
Servings: 20-24
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C
  2. Boil the sweet potatoes until they are tender (about 20-30 minutes)
  3. Drain and return to a low heat for a minute to allow the remainder of the water to evaporate
  4. Mash the sweet potatoes, using an ordinary potato masher, then use an electric mixer to whisk them until smooth and creamy
  5. Add the butter and egg yolk, along with salt and pepper to taste and continue to whisk for another minute or two until light and fluffy
  6. Lightly oil two baking trays
  7. Spoon the sweet potato mixture in to the piping bag and push down. Twist the open end and push the mixture until it comes through the nozzle. Test it before you start to make the real things.
  8. Work in circles, by piping the sweet potato in spirals until you have a rosette shape. Feel free to get creative at this point.
  9. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Leave to cool on the trays before removing to freeze.
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Uncategorised

Gluten and dairy free pecan cookies

Gluten and dairy free pecan cookies - A Free From Life

Try these gluten and dairy free pecan cookies for a tasty after school treat

Now the kids are back at school, I find myself thinking once more about packed lunches and afternoon snacks. Sunday is the day for preparation in our house and that usually involves turning my kitchen into a mini bakery. I make at least two or three different things, thinking that will see us through the week.

Of course by Tuesday or Wednesday there’s nothing left, something that’s inevitable when you offer up home baking to a family of five. My gluten and dairy free treats go down well with everyone, not just my intolerant son and these cookies are no exception.

pecan-cookies-4

When I made these pecan cookies for the first time last week, they went down such a storm, I ended up making two batches. They really were very easy to make though, taking just 10 minutes to prepare and 12 minutes to bake.

Gluten and dairy free pecan cookies - A Free From Life

I like to experiment with different gluten free flours and I highly encourage you to give it a try. The difference in taste you get compared to the shop-bought blends is staggering. Not that I’m criticising commercial gluten free flour blends, it’s just that they tend to use rice flour and I’m not a fan. I don’t like the grittiness you get and I personally believe there are much tastier gluten free flours out there.

Gluten and dairy free pecan cookies - A Free From Life

This recipe uses a combination of sorghum flour (my favourite gluten free flour) and chestnut flour, which I thought I would try out. I’ve used chestnut flour before in a gnocchi recipe and found it worked well. I thought the nuttiness of the chestnuts would complement the pecans in this recipe. I’ve also used tapioca flour, which is my starch of choice. Whenever you blend gluten free flours, the recipe works much better if you combine the flour with a starch. You’re aiming to recreate the gluten effect and starch can help with that. You can find out more about baking gluten free from a previous post I wrote.

If you’re worried about buying a new flour, using it once and wasting the rest, don’t be. If my experience is anything to go by, these cookies will become a family staple and before you know it, you’ll have used up the whole bag!

Gluten and dairy free pecan cookies - A Free From Life

Gluten and dairy free pecan cookies - A Free From Life
Gluten and dairy free pecan cookies
Print Recipe
Gluten and dairy free pecan cookies - A Free From Life
Gluten and dairy free pecan cookies
Print Recipe
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4/Fan 160C
  2. Beat the butter and sugar together until creamy, then add the syrup
  3. Measure the flours into a separate bowl and add the baking powder and bicarbonate of soda. Mix well
  4. Add the mixed flour to the butter/sugar/syrup mix and stir or beat together to form a sticky dough
  5. Put the pecans in a blender and pulse until roughly chopped
  6. Add the pecans to the dough and stir to incorporate
  7. Grease a baking sheet
  8. Place walnut-sized balls of the dough on to the baking sheet, with space in between. Makes approx. 15 (no need to flatten them)
  9. Bake for 12 minutes or until golden
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