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Allergy-friendly sugar cookies

The supergranny effect is in full swing! The house is more organised, the kids are occupied, my shopping list once again reads gin, tonic and cheese. The favourite pastime seems to be gardening and we now have tomatoes, lettuce and basil on the go.

I only hope they survive my lack of gardening skills and Julian the ginger cat. He likes to sit in the plant pots and pee in them I suspect. Salad anyone?

Meanwhile, the girls have mastered the art of feigning neglect. In the middle of digging holes for her seedlings, Belle looked up at granny with big watery eyes and said (in the tone of a lost orphan): “We would never get to do this without you!” Are you kidding me? I don't garden with the girls because everything dies, but I do crafts and baking and stories galore. I jump through hoops (literally), dance in the kitchen, sing songs at bedtime and even, when my defences are low, play “spa”. I have painted every nail a different colour on two sets of hands and two sets of feet. I have taken it all off again and redone it because of a change of heart. I have buffed, polished and washed every single perfect toe. But by all means, complain about the gardening! Do I sound bitter? I promise I'm not. Exasperated, exhausted…..sure.

Basically, every other mummy is too. But I also know I'm lucky.

Lucky because I have the chance to get to know these little souls and be part of their history as they grow. And there is nothing like the hugs and love you get from your kids to make it all worthwhile.

Even when it comes hand in hand with snot, tears and nits (oh yes, we had that this week too)!

Of all the things I do with the kids, it's the baking that I love the most. Odd though, as that comes with the most mess, especially as they do more and more of it themselves.

There's been a lot of airborne flour lately. But this week we were completely triumphant, despite the madness as we perfected a gluten-free, dairy-free sugar cookie. Often the kids want to make something in a specific shape, but it's hard to get allergy-friendly recipes to stay put as they cook.

They may go in the oven looking like Christmas trees, but they come out looking like generic blobs.

This week, we used the Doves Farm Free From Gluten self-raising flour blend (Supermart) and it worked like a charm combined with the Earth Balance vegan “butter” (Supermart too). There's no doubt that these are full of sugar, but if you stick to small shapes and use naturally coloured decorations, then I'd say it's OK in small doses. If your child is susceptible to a sugar rush, bake or serve these after a meal that's heavier in protein and lighter in carbs eg homemade chicken nuggets with carrots and broccoli.

We used plain frosting, Enjoy Life chocolate chips (Down to Earth) and real carrot noses for decorations but other dye-free options include chocolate Smarties (not dairy-free) and the Waitrose cake decorations (Supermart). Have fun!

Ingredients:

1 cup organic sugar

1 cup Earth Balance vegan spread (organic option if possible)

2 egg yolks

1.5 tsp vanilla extract

2¼ - 2½ c Doves Farm self-raising gluten-free flour blend

Method:

1. Combine sugar and butter in bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy.

2. Add egg yolks and vanilla. Continue beating, scraping bowl often, until well mixed.

3. Add flour blend and beat until well mixed.

4. Cover; refrigerate for one hour or until firm (use your freezer to express if your kids are impatient)!

5. Heat oven to 350°F and prep a large baking sheet, greasing very lightly with a high heat oil eg grapeseed oil.

6. Roll out dough on surface sprinkled lightly with gluten-free flour, one-half at a time (keeping remaining dough refrigerated), to 1/4-inch thickness.

7. Cut with small cookie cutters. Place 1” apart onto cookie sheets.

8. Bake eight to ten minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Let stand two minutes on cookie sheet; remove to cooling rack. Cool completely and decorate as you wish.

Store in the fridge!

• The advice given in this article is not intended to replace medical advice, but to complement it. Always consult your GP if you have any health concerns. Catherine Burns BA Hons, Dip ION is the managing director of Natural Ltd and a fully qualified nutritional therapist trained by the Institute for Optimum Nutrition in the UK. Please note that she is not a registered dietitian. For details, please go to www.natural.bm or call 236-7511. Join Catherine on Facebook: www.facebook.com/nutrifitandnatural nutritionbermuda

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Published December 18, 2015 at 8:00 am (Updated December 18, 2015 at 12:55 am)

Allergy-friendly sugar cookies

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