Vegan and Gluten Free but still Yummy

This weekend between all the shopping and trying to to get too caught up in the commercialism around Christmas we had a lovely party to go to. Lots of our friends have become vegan recently and I’m always trying to cut down on gluten so these cookies seemed a good idea to try.

First, the coconut oil is whisked up until it starts to be fluffy then the sugar is creamed in and the milk (oat in this case but whichever milk you choose would work – obviously non-dairy milk if you’re making vegan cookies) mixed in. The gluten-free flour and baking powder are mixed in a separate bowl.

The dry ingredients are mixed into the wet until it resembles large breadcrumbs. Then the mixture is brought into a ball by hand an kneaded gently, it’s quite crumbly and hard work to bring together.

Once the dough sticks together it’s reasonably easy to roll and cut shapes from. They are baked on greaseproof paper lined baking trays and take about 10 minutes.

They mostly held together well once baked only a few crumbled while I was icing them.

The icing was just powdered sugar and water mixed to the right consistency and sprinkles over the top. Simple, pretty and most importantly declared yummy by the taste team and the guests at the party we took them to.

 

 

 

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Making Mince Pies

I’m not a huge fan of mince pies and I find shop bought pastry too dry and thick usually. My significant other, however, thinks maybe mince pies should be available all year so I buy them for him and I try to make him at least a couple of trays a year. These are so good I can eat a couple myself.

The recipe I cut out of a magazine many years ago. It’s from a time when my granny who since passed away gave me a magazine subscription as a gift. So it has lovely sentimental value too.

Ingredients:

200g Plain Flour
52g Ground Almonds
100g Butter
50g icing sugar
1 large egg yolk
3 tbsp milk
225g mincemeat
beaten egg (or egg white) to glaze

First, the flour and almonds are weighed and mixed together then the butter (cut into cubes to make it easier to work with) is added and rubbed in (which can be done with fingertips or one of these handy tools) until it resembles breadcrumbs. Then the icing sugar is stirred in.

The egg yolk and milk are beaten together in a separate small bowl and then added to the dry ingredients and mixed with a round-bladed knife until it starts to come together in a ball, it might be necessary to bring the last bits together by hand, turn out onto a floured surface and knead gently. Wrap the dough ball in clingfilm and pop it in the oven for at least 30 minutes (if you leave it longer than an hour you might need to allow it to sit out for a short while before rolling it out).

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The cold pastry doesn’t need much if any extra flour to stop it sticking as you roll. Make sure you have a greased cake tray and your oven pre-heated to gas mark 5 / 190c. Cut approx 7cm rounds for the bases and 6cm rounds for the tops, keep rerolling until all the dough is used. The large rounds line the tins and are pricked with a fork.

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Spoon a little mincemeat into each pie and top with a smaller pastry round, use the beaten egg white to seal and then to brush over the top of each pie (this helps them brown nicely) cut a small hole in the top of each pie with a small knife or pair of scissors.

Bake 15-20 minutes (remove from oven when a nice overall brown colour). Sprinkle with icing sugar if you like and enjoy warm with cream or ice cream.

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Healthy(ish) Christmas Gingerbread

Gingerbread might be my favourite Christmas treat but it’s so full of sugar and butter I always feel guilty about how much I can eat. This is a healthier alternative but mine aren’t quite as healthy as the recipe because I’ve chosen to use brown sugar instead of stevia in the gingerbread and regular icing sugar for the icing.

The flour, cornflour, baking powder and spices (ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg in mine today) are mixed together in one bowl. In the other bowl melted and cooled butter, egg and vanilla whisked together and then molasses and a little brown sugar mixed in.

 

Then the wet ingredients mixed into the dry, it needed hands to bring it together into a sticky dough. The dough is placed between two sheets of cling film and then goes in the fridge to firm up and become easier to handle.

 

The dough can then be rolled out still between the cling film which is a really handy trick for helping it not to stick to anything and making it really easy to place on the lined baking tray. 10 minutes in the oven and 5 minutes left on the tray before moving to the cooling rack seemed about perfect.

The icing was just icing sugar and water mixed to the right consistency. The plan was for a mix of red and green sprinkles but the kitchen assistant had a green sprinkle related disaster so it was mostly just red sprinkles.

 

Even without the icing the gingerbread was pretty good and didn’t really taste too ‘healthy’ it is less healthy with the icing but still significantly lower fat and sugar than the really decadent gingerbread recipe coming up later this month!

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