Dairy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Orange Shortbread

Visiting my mother for the weekend is the perfect occasion to adapt and bake her Orange Shortbread…Dairy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Orange Shortbread.

dairy, egg and peanut/tree nut free orange shortbread

My mother’s Orange Shortbread is my childhood favourite holiday cookie.

I looked forward to the day she would bake it each year!

The combination of orange and light brown sugar slightly browned so as to give it that toasted caramelized flavour…divine! Makes my mouth water just thinking about it! 

My mother would bake her Orange Shortbread only at Christmas time. It was often baked and then wrapped up and gifted to friends…much to my chagrin!

In fact, to tease me, she has one sitting on the counter, all wrapped up and ready to be delivered to a family friend.

my mother's orange shortbread

A special one would be made for those occasions when friends stopped in for tea. I would savour each bite…slowly eating away at a slice, saving the best till last…the toasty edge!

Butter enthusiasts would cringe at the thought of replacing butter in a shortbread! Sacrilege…they would say!

Well, what if you have a dairy allergy? What is a shortbread lover to do?

Not to worry…one simply replaces the butter with an Earth Balance vegan spread.

Dairy and Soy allergy? It’s your lucky day…Earth Balance has a dairy and soy free vegan spread available too.

In fact, I was hoping to make this Orange Shortbread, dairy and soy free. I wanted to gift it to our family friend’s son who has a dairy and soy allergy. Unfortunately, there is not a store in my mom’s home town that sells it. Back home, my Foodland sells it. (Kicking myself for not purchasing it ahead of time) Upon calling the nearest Foodland in town, they were willing to look into getting it in for me.  Good to know, however, I needed it pronto.

Know that this recipe can be adapted to be both dairy and soy free. Ask your local grocery store…in my experience, I have found most grocery stores willing to bring in products that their customers request.

This recipe hails from an oldy but goody recipe book that my mother has been referring to for years…Hamlyn All Colour Cook Book. Flipping through it this weekend, brought back many childhood memories of recipes I would covet. Don’t be surprised to find me adapting more recipes from this treasure! 

Dairy (Soy) Free Orange Shortbread

a slice of dairy and peanut/tree nut free orange shortbread on a plate

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup rice flour
4 tbsp light brown sugar
1/2 cup Earth Balance (Soy Free for a soy free version)
grated zest of 1 orange
granulated sugar for sprinkling

In a large bowl, cream Earth Balance.
Add sugar and cream until light and fluffy.

creamed sugar and earth balance with orange rind on the side for dairy and peanut/tree nut free orange shortbreadStir in the orange rind.

orange rind stirred into creamed mixture for dairy and peanut/tree nut free orange shortbreadIn another bowl, combine the two flours.

Love my mother’s Pyrex bowls she received as a shower gift in 1963!

She still has the set of three…in perfect shape! They bring back so many childhood baking memories!

bowl of dried ingredients and bowl of creamed mixture for dairy and peanut/tree nut free orange shortbreadAdd the flour a tablespoon at a time to the creamed mixture.
Stir flour in until combined.

dried ingredients mixed into creamed mixture for dairy and peanut/tree nut free orange shortbreadRoll dough into a ball and place on a parchment lined or silicone pad lined cookie sheet.
Roll dough into a 8 inch circle, pinching the edges and prick the shortbread with a fork.
Cut through into 12 sections with the back of a knife and sprinkle with granulated sugar.

dairy and peanut/tree nut free orange shortbread dough ready for bakingLet chill in refrigerator for 15 minutes.
Bake at 335 F for 35 minutes or until golden brown.
Cool on baking tray for 10 minutes before cooling on cooling rack.

dairy and peanut/tree nut free orange shortbread cooling on rack

Enjoy with a spot of tea…or a slice of orange!

a slice of dairy and peanut/tree nut orange shortbread on a plate with a slice of orange and holly

Tip: Dairy Free Orange Shortbread can be frozen.

Tip 2: Lee Valley sells a Scottish Shortbread Mold and a Snowflake Mold that could be used for this dough. Frankly, I prefer the more homemade, rustic look and the memories that come with it. Besides, it’s something to look forward to using next year with another adapted shortbread recipe!

Tip 3:  When baking at my mother’s, I leave a few ‘safe’ baking items behind just for such an occasion when I need to make an allergen free baked good.  The silicone mat and rolling pin are only used by me and kept aside from my mother’s kitchen utensils. (I keep a stash of my baking gear in the basement)

The bamboo spoons, bowls, utensils and the cooling racks can all be sanitized in the dishwasher for safe use. I highly recommend bamboo spoons. They are resilient to constant water exposure and will outlast any wooden spoon…worth the investment!

P.S. Do you have a holiday favourite cookie that brings back childhood memories?

P.P.S. To follow tradition…this Dairy Free Orange Shortbread is going to be gifted…I am giving it to a family that is trying to eliminate dairy from their diet. A nice treat for the holidays for them to share with family and friends.

dairy and peanut/tree nut free orange shortbread packaged up as a gift

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Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Thumbprint Cookies

Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Thumbprint Cookies are another adapted childhood favourite of mine!

dairy, egg and peanut/tree nut free thumbprint cookies on a plate

The second half of dough made from Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Chocolate Chip Snowball cookies can be used to make and bake Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Thumbprint Cookies.

Two types of cookies from one batch of dough…perfect!

My favourite jam for the centre was either apricot or raspberry…these have been filled with my boys favourite jam…homemade strawberry.

Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Thumbprint Cookies

dairy, egg and peanut/tree nut free thumbprint cookies on a plate

Prepare dough from Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Chocolate Chip Snowballs.

dairy, egg and peanut/tree nut free thumbprint cookie dough

Roll a tablespoon full of dough into a balls. Set aside in a bowl.
Melt 2 tbsp of Earth Balance or measure canola oil into a small bowl.
Pour corn flake crumbs into another bowl.
Roll balls in melted Earth Balance or canola oil, dredge in corn flake crumbs and place on a silicone pad or parchment lined cookie sheet.

dairy, egg and peanut/tree nut free thumbprint cookie dough rolled into balls, canola oil, and corn flake crumbs in a bowl

Using your thumb, gently press an indent in the middle of the cookie ball.

dairy, egg and peanut/tree nut free thumbprint cookie dough balls on a cookie sheet with a pressed indentBake at 350 F for 15 minutes.
Remove from the oven and re-indent the cookies.

reindenting dairy, egg and peanut/tree nut free thumbprint cookies after 15 minutesBake a further 3 minutes.
Let cool on cookie sheet for 10 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.

dairy, egg and peanut/tree nut free thumbprint cookies cooling on rackWhen cool, fill with your favourite jam.

dairy, egg and peanut/tree nut free thumbprint cookie filled with strawberry jam

Enjoy!

Tip 1: I put together a little thank you package for my neighbour/hairdresser for squeezing in my boys for a haircut this week. Thanks Char!

a package of dairy, egg and peanut/tree nut free thumbprint cookies with a candy cane and a small jar of strawberry jam

Tip 2: Cookies can be made ahead and frozen.

Tip 3: Cookie dough can be rolled out for cookie cut outs.

Tip 4: Cookies can also be filled with glazed cherries or some melted chocolate.

P.S. Do you have a childhood favourite cookie you have adapted for your specific food allergens?

Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Chocolate Chip Snowball Cookies

I have reinvented my favourite holiday cookie and created a new holiday favourite…

Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Chocolate Chip Snowballs.

dairy, egg and peanut/tree nut free chocolate chip snowball cookies in a dishMuch to Matthew’s delight!

I grew up loving anything ‘shortbreadish.’ Not too sweet and extremely versatile. Sugar Cookie cut outs were a favourite as were my mother’s Pecan Balls.

Last holiday season, I was describing my mother’s Pecan Balls to my son, Matthew. It’s a pecan studded shortbread cookie ball, rolled in icing sugar. “Mmmmm”, says Matthew. “I would love it with chocolate chips!”

The next thing I knew, we were whipping up an adapted version…eureka…we have a winner!

The Sugar Cookie is a simple shortbread (most likely why I love it) which, with a little imagination, can be elevated into something so much more! (Stay tuned for Friday’s post for another twist on this easy to make and bake dough)

This recipe hails from Canadian Living’s 1977 special edition magazine they put out that year. The recipe was called ‘Quick and Easy Holiday Cookies’. I can still remember all the variations of cookies that could be made with this dough. I just loved gazing at all the cookies. My mother still owns her copy!                

How appropriate that my reinvented childhood recipe be paired in a picture with my childhood christmas tree ornaments.  Don’t you love the colours!

Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Chocolate Chip Snowballs

dairy, egg and peanut/tree nut free chocolate chip snowball cookies in a dish

1 cup Earth Balance vegan butttery sticks
1 1/4 cups icing sugar
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla
2 tbsp water
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
1/2 cup Enjoy Life chocolate chips (for half the batter)

In a large bowl, cream the Earth Balance and sugar until light and fluffy.
Stir in the vanilla and water.

creamed earth balance and sugar with vanilla and water

In another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt.
Gradually add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture until combined.

creamed mixture combined with flour mixture for dairy, egg and peanut/tree nut free chocolate chip snowball cookies

Divide dough in half. (only if you want to make two types of cookies with this dough)
Add chocolate chips to half the dough.

enjoy life chocolate chips added to half the dough for dairy,egg and peanut/tree nut free chocolate chip snowball cookies

Roll a tablespoon of dough into a ball and place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone pad.

dairy, egg and peanut/tree nut free chocolate chip snowball dough rolled into balls on silicone covered cookie sheetBake at 375 for 15 minutes.
Let cool for 5 minutes.

dairy, egg and peanut/tree nut free chocolate chip snowball cookies coolingRoll cookies in icing sugar while still warm and let finish cooling on rack.
Roll once again in icing sugar once fully cooled.

dairy, egg and peanut/tree nut free chocolate chip snowball cookies rolled in icing sugar for the second time

Makes approximately 24 cookies and one snowman!

dairy, egg and peanut/tree nut free chocolate chip snowball cookies on a plateEnjoy!

P.S. I had to add Michael’s comment on the cookies…”Mmmm…these are good…really good…I don’t remember them tasting this good!” Too funny!

P.P.S. Have you reinvented an allergy free version of a childhood favourite for your children?

Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Gingerbread Houses and Men

The Christmas Tree is up…the decorations have been strategically placed throughout the house…and the Christmas tunes are cranked.

dairy,egg and peanut/tree nut free gingerbread men on christmas tree I took over the kitchen this weekend for some holiday baking…Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Gingerbread to be exact!

I am so excited to be baking and building our first Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Gingerbread Houses with the boys.

dairy,egg and peanut/tree nut free gingerbread houses

I have been eyeing this Gingerbread House mold from Lee Valley for some years now.

Gingerbread mold from Lee Valley

I am unsure where my Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Gingerbread recipe originates. I went through a few recipes before Michael claimed this one the winner. The baking instructions for the Gingerbread House came with the Gingerbread House mold.

Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Gingerbread Dough

2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup Earth Balance
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp vinegar
2 tbsp water
1/2 cup fancy molasses

In a large bowl, cream Earth Balance and sugar until light and fluffy.

creamed Earth Balance and sugar for dairy,egg and peanut/tree nut gingerbreadMix in the water, vinegar, and molasses.

molasses, water and vinegar added to creamed mixture for dairy,egg and peanut/tree nut free gingerbreadIn another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and ginger.

dry ingredients for dairy,egg and peanut/tree nut free gingerbreadSlowly add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture until completely combined.

dairy,egg and peanut/tree nut free gingerbread doughDivide dough in half and roll into 2 balls.
Wrap each ball in wax paper and refrigerate for at least an hour.

2 balls of dairy,egg and peanut/tree nut free gingerbread dough wrapped in wax paperSpray mold with canola spray.
I rolled out the dough to the thickness of the mold and then cut pieces to press into the mold.

rolled out dairy, egg and peanut/tree nut free gingerbread dough for gingerbread mold from Lee Valley

Press Gingerbread dough into mold.

dairy, egg and peanut/tree nut gingerbread dough pressed into gingerbread house mold from Lee Valley

Bake at 350 F for 25 minutes.
Let gingerbread cool in mold for 10 minutes.

baked dairy,egg and peanut/tree nut free gingerbread in gingerbread house mold from Lee Valley

Carefully remove the pieces to a cooling rack.

dairy, egg and peanut/tree nut free gingerbread house cooling on rackRepeat. Two batches are necessary for a complete house.

Tip 1: One ball of dough made one side of the mold. I made 2 batches of my Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Gingerbread Dough for two houses. I used the leftover dough to make mini and large Gingerbread Men. I poked holes at the top with a straw (before baking) to thread ribbon or string through for decorating the tree.

dairy,egg and peanut/tree nut free gingerbread men to decorate treeThe third house was made using the Gingerbread Dough recipe that came with the mold. It was actually dairy and egg free already! It was very crumbly so I just pressed the dough in the mold. Not as impressed with their recipe…not as tasty and couldn’t roll out the leftover dough to make Gingerbread Men.

Tip 2: I used Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Molasses in both the recipes. Michael noticed right away that the dough was different. “The dough is darker…what did you do differently?” he questioned me. Then he tried them…”I know you did something to these cookies?”  “I’ll eat them, but I like the other ones you make better.”

I didn’t think changing the molasses would make such a difference…apparantly, I was wrong. I know how much he loves and looks forward to me making these cookies each year…I should have known better than to mess with them.

For Michael’s favourite Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Gingerbread Cookies one must use Crosby’s Fancy Molasses.

Building the Dairy,Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Gingerbread House

Constructing the Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Gingerbread Houses is a story in and of itself…let’s just say…one needs a lot of patience!  

The Royal Icing recipe recommended in the instruction booklet to ‘glue’ the house together, required egg whites. For our egg free version, I mixed together 2 cups icing sugar with 7 tsp of water.

A ziplock sandwich bag with a corner snipped off was filled with the icing sugar mixture. The boys and I squeezed out the icing to ‘glue’ our houses together.

constructing dairy,egg and peanut/tree nut free gingerbread houses

Eventually, the bag broke and icing was everywhere! Matthew and I  then tried using a plastic icing bag with a metal tip. This ended up to be futile…we resorted to using our fingers to spread the icing while trying to hold the houses together.

We left them to dry before attempting to add anything else for fear of them collapsing…once again! A little more finicky than I had anticipated.

constructed dairy,egg and peanut/tree nut free gingerbread houses

The boys found the whole enterprise quite amusing!

Note to self: Next time, make the gingerbread pieces thinner, especially the roof!

Of course everyone knows that decorating the Gingerbread Houses is the best part!

Decorations included: Gimbal’s Gourmet Jelly Beans, Surf Sweets Jelly Beans, Gummy Bears and Worms, mini marshmallows, Mentos mints, Enjoy Life chocolate chips and chocolate chunks.

allergen free candies to decorate dairy,egg and peanut/tree nut free gingerbread houses

I called the boys in from playing road hockey to decorate their houses.  A neighbourhood friend joined in on the fun.

decorating dairy,egg and peanut/tree nut free gingerbread houses with allergen free candies

All in all, we were all very pleased with the end results.

decorated dairy,egg and peanut/tree nut free gingerbread housesMatthew’s Masterpiece:.. ‘architectural perfection!’

matthew's decorated dairy,egg and peanut/tree nut free gingerbread house

My Masterpiece… ‘a jelly bean and gummy delight!”

my decorated dairy,egg and peanut/tree nut free gingerbread house

Michael’s Masterpiece…‘a disguised security device…middle, top chocolate chip has a hidden camera!” lol

Michael's decorated dairy,egg and peanut/tree nut free gingerbread house

“I can’t wait to eat it…we can eat them, right?”, exclaims Matthew upon finishing applying his last candy.

Enjoy!

Have you a favourite allergen friendly Gingerbread recipe for Gingerbread Men? Does your family construct and decorate an allergen friendly Gingerbread House each year? What are your holiday baking traditions?