Happy Friday morning! I had so many ideas for blog posts rolling around, from why allergies express themselves so differently in members of the same family to what different types of allergy testings really tell us. But (with a little nudge), I decided to go with something a little more lighthearted and a lot tastier---a cookie recipe! :-)
At every Italian wedding cookie table where I grew up in Ohio, there was a version of the snowball, walnut ball, "Russian tea ball," or pecan crescent cookie. Messy, sugary, and yummy, but all of them basically containing the same ingredients. Elise at Simply Recipes posted a really great example of the traditional butter and nut recipe, which has been around for generations.
These are really simple cookies, with no egg to replace at all. Our version, obviously, removes all nuts or tree nuts but otherwise is very little changed from the original. We've replaced sticks of butter or hydrogenated oil/margarine with somewhat healthier versions of liquid oil, but that's about it. Unlike shortbread recipes, the butter texture and flavor are not crucial to the success of these cookies.
Here's our food allergy--friendly recipe:
3/4 cup canola oil (or your monounsaturated oil of choice)
3/4 cup powdered (confectioner's) sugar + extra for dusting
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Have 2 cookie sheets on hand.
In a medium bowl, lightly whisk the oil, 3/4 cup powdered sugar, and vanilla.
Slowly whisk in 1 cup of flour.
Switch to a wooden spoon and stir in the last cup of flour.
Form teaspoon-sized balls with the cookie dough, and roll each ball into a log shape.
Place the logs on ungreased cookie sheets and pinch the middle of each log to form a crescent shape.
Bake for 15 to 18 minutes (cookies will remain light) and cool for at least 5 minutes on a wire rack.
To coat the cookies once, wait until they are completely cool and toss them in a small bowl with approximately 1 cup of powdered sugar.
To coat the cookies twice (the more traditional but messier approach), carefully turn the cookies in the bowl of powdered sugar while they are still warm, and repeat the coating after they are completely cool. This will glaze the cookies first and make more powdered sugar stick to the glaze afterward.
And some baking tips from our experimenting:
We tried one batch of cookies on an ungreased nonstick cookie sheet and another batch on parchment paper. Both cooked well and evenly in 18 minutes, with lightly brown bottoms on both batches.
We tried one batch with salt and another without. Both tasted delicious, so we made our recipe as heart healthy as sugar cookies can get by leaving out the salt.
We tried covering these cookies in a container to store, which somewhat softened them. We also tried keeping the cookies in the fridge (awfully humid here this week), but that just made the powdered sugar even stickier on our fingers! Our best storage suggestion is to pile the powdered cookies in a large bowl and leave them uncovered or loosely covered for up to 1 week.
And some mix-in ideas:
These cookies are so light and crunchy that we almost hated to mess with the recipe. But it's hard to resist add ins!
We have tried the recipe in a ball instead of a crescent shape with crushed-up Rice Krispies (just 1/2 cup) in place of nuts, which changes the texture slightly and makes our kids happy. :-)
In place of the traditional recipe's 1-1/2 cups crushed walnuts or pecans, I'd like to try about 1 cup of shredded coconut or maybe some dehydrated, finely diced fruit peels. What would you add into these cookies for some extra crunch?
2017 update: I'm adding these airy cookies to this weekend's #freefromFridays as is, and I'm tackling the flour replacement during the summer break. I'd love ideas for changing over to rice flour or other non-wheat/GF options!
Hi, I'm Nicole.
ABOUT THE BLOG
An apothecary is a person or a place. Either one implies healing and relates to pharmacy in its truest sense, as a source of treatment and advice.
This blog is my way of uniting my pharmacy training with my efforts to provide a healthy and safe lifestyle for my family. In true apothecary form, I research and prescribe alternative ingredients that work just right in each specific recipe, and I would like to share the results with anyone who needs help making their own family’s kitchen allergy safe and heart healthy.
Nicole Van Hoey's books on Goodreads
Bakery Bites: Breads and Treats Without Dairy, Eggs, Nuts, Seeds, or Soy
ratings: 1 (avg rating 5.00)
Kitchen Adventures With Multiple Food Allergies: A Recipe Collection for Celebrations Without Dairy, Eggs, Peanuts, Tree Nuts, Seeds, or Soy