Spring has arrived…
…and Easter is fast approaching!
Another holiday is upon us…for those of us with food allergies…it can be rather stressful!
Family and friends getting together to celebrate usually means food will be involved.
In the beginning, my eldest son, Michael, could not consume wheat, dairy, egg or soy products. This made baking a nightmare!
Remember, this would have been 16 years ago…not much was known about celiac disease and gluten intolerance or food allergies in general.
Groceries stores did not stock alternate beverages to milk, Enjoy Life did not exist, nor did many of the great companies out there for those with food allergies and/or intolerances.
Basically, you were on your own when it came to conjuring up alternate ‘treats’ for your food allergic child. I have to admit…at that time, baking without gluten was not easy. Imagine a teething baby, chewing on a Molasses Rice Cookie…what was I thinking!
I was quite happy when Michael was able to tolerate wheat in his diet once again. Dairy, egg and peanut/tree nuts must still be avoided.
Why am I baking a gluten-free Easter Cookie?
I have a friend, whose 2-year-old son, reminds me of the troubles I faced when Michael was a baby. He has severe eczema and multiple food sensitivities/intolerances/allergies.
His mother and father are overwhelmed with all the information out there, confused as to how to feed their son and yearn to have him enjoy the ‘trappings of celebrating’ like every young child around him!
This Easter post, as well as the my Easter posts to follow, are dedicated to her son and to all those parents with children who are struggling to ‘put the pieces together’ as they navigate their way through a world of eczema and food allergies.
I personally wanted her son to experience that feeling of ‘excitement’ by enjoying a tasty allergen friendly treat at Easter. Too many times, my boys have felt ‘left out’ when it comes to ‘special treats’ at the holidays.
Every child deserves to feel ‘special’!
Gluten, Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Shortbread Easter Cookies
This recipe was adapted from the recipe on the back of Club House’s All Natural Gluten Free Rice Flour.
I thought a basic Shortbread Cookie in a fun Easter shape would appeal to a 2- year- old. I felt the ingredients were simple enough to find at your local grocery store. I was also curious to see how they would turn out using just rice flour.
In a small bowl, whisk together the rice flour and xanthan gum.
In a large bowl, cream together the Earth Balance and sugar.
Stir in the vanilla.
Gradually, stir in the rice flour mixture until all combined.
Using your hands, form the dough into a ball.
Roll out the ball of dough on a lightly rice floured surface until 1/4 inch thick.
Cut out using desired cookie cutters and place cookies on a silicone or parchment lined cookie sheet.
Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Bake at 350 F for 14-16 minutes. Mine took 13 minutes.
Cool on cookie sheet for 10 minutes before removing to cooling rack to finish cooling.
Tip 1: Icing sugar contains cornstarch, as my friend’s son needs to avoid corn, I sprinkled a little bit of sugar and/or cinnamon sugar on some of the cookies before baking as a simple decoration.
Tip 2: Cookies can also be dipped in melted Enjoy Life chocolate chips. Yummy!
Tip 3: I tried baking one batch with Coconut Oil. Very tasty…but extremely delicate! The egg-shaped cookies seemed to resist ‘cracking’ the best…go figure! Perhaps next time I will try rolling them a little thicker. Any tips?
P.S. My boys were not so sure of the texture of the rice flour and found the cookies a bit bland. Then again, they have had exposure to all-purpose flour treats and are a little biased! We all like the cookies that had the cinnamon sugar topping and the chocolate!
I hope he likes them!
Question: Will you be baking allergen friendly ‘treats’ this Easter? Do share!